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  #21  
Old October 6th, 2005, 10:31 AM
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We are getting a little off track with this thread, which was about the benefits or problems with biodiesel. Apparently it is a fine fuel for normal use, but whether or it is better for our energy supplies or the environment is debatable. Converting plants to such fuel takes energy, and money and causes pollution. When figuring out the actual costs of a bio-fuel make sure to count the fuel used and the pollution emitted to plant the crops, fertilize the crops, harvest the crops, transport the crops, then the fuel that is used to process the crops into a bio fuel. I have not seen the numbers for biodiesel yet, but for ethanol most studies show that it takes MORE energy to produce the stuff than what we get out of it, thus making us MORE dependent on foreign oil not less and adding to global pollution.

Biodiesel may be much more efficient than ethanol as far as the ratio of energy-cost to develop versus benefit goes, but folks ought to research the numbers before jumping on any bandwagons. That said, my gut at the moment thinks that biodiesel would be okay, but I don't have any hard numbers yet to back up that opinion.

I agree with several folks here that for traveling or hauling diesel is more reasonable than hybrids in their present form . I have read that the battery pack on a Prius costs over $5,000 to replace - - and it is hazardous waste. The Honda packs are even more expensive. How long these packs last before needing replacement is unknown. The fuel mileage on the highway with a hybrid is worse than the same sized car as a diesel; in town the hybrid is a bit better. I have not seen the numbers for a hybrid in town during cold weather when heaters, headlights, and wipers are all demanding additional load.

For present biodiesel appears to be a good option and no one should fear using it. We should be careful about singing its praises, however, until we know more about its actual costs.
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  #22  
Old October 6th, 2005, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevewhitaker
We are getting a little off track with this thread, which was about the benefits or problems with biodiesel. Apparently it is a fine fuel for normal use, but whether or it is better for our energy supplies or the environment is debatable. Converting plants to such fuel takes energy, and money and causes pollution. When figuring out the actual costs of a bio-fuel make sure to count the fuel used and the pollution emitted to plant the crops, fertilize the crops, harvest the crops, transport the crops, then the fuel that is used to process the crops into a bio fuel. I have not seen the numbers for biodiesel yet, but for ethanol most studies show that it takes MORE energy to produce the stuff than what we get out of it, thus making us MORE dependent on foreign oil not less and adding to global pollution.

Biodiesel may be much more efficient than ethanol as far as the ratio of energy-cost to develop versus benefit goes, but folks ought to research the numbers before jumping on any bandwagons. That said, my gut at the moment thinks that biodiesel would be okay, but I don't have any hard numbers yet to back up that opinion.

I agree with several folks here that for traveling or hauling diesel is more reasonable than hybrids in their present form . I have read that the battery pack on a Prius costs over $5,000 to replace - - and it is hazardous waste. The Honda packs are even more expensive. How long these packs last before needing replacement is unknown. The fuel mileage on the highway with a hybrid is worse than the same sized car as a diesel; in town the hybrid is a bit better. I have not seen the numbers for a hybrid in town during cold weather when heaters, headlights, and wipers are all demanding additional load.

For present biodiesel appears to be a good option and no one should fear using it. We should be careful about singing its praises, however, until we know more about its actual costs.
Well said!
That's why we need to believe that nuclear power is okay for electricity instead of fossil fuel and if we're going to drill ANWR or anything else we let the highest bidder do it, and do it right.
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  #23  
Old October 6th, 2005, 12:16 PM
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But I would rather have a TDI Defender
^^My nomination for the best sentence in the thread!!

Quote:
We are getting a little off track with this thread, which was about the benefits or problems with biodiesel. Apparently it is a fine fuel for normal use, but whether or it is better for our energy supplies or the environment is debatable. Converting plants to such fuel takes energy, and money and causes pollution. When figuring out the actual costs of a bio-fuel make sure to count the fuel used and the pollution emitted to plant the crops, fertilize the crops, harvest the crops, transport the crops, then the fuel that is used to process the crops into a bio fuel. I have not seen the numbers for biodiesel yet, but for ethanol most studies show that it takes MORE energy to produce the stuff than what we get out of it, thus making us MORE dependent on foreign oil not less and adding to global pollution.

Biodiesel may be much more efficient than ethanol as far as the ratio of energy-cost to develop versus benefit goes, but folks ought to research the numbers before jumping on any bandwagons. That said, my gut at the moment thinks that biodiesel would be okay, but I don't have any hard numbers yet to back up that opinion.

I agree with several folks here that for traveling or hauling diesel is more reasonable than hybrids in their present form . I have read that the battery pack on a Prius costs over $5,000 to replace - - and it is hazardous waste. The Honda packs are even more expensive. How long these packs last before needing replacement is unknown. The fuel mileage on the highway with a hybrid is worse than the same sized car as a diesel; in town the hybrid is a bit better. I have not seen the numbers for a hybrid in town during cold weather when heaters, headlights, and wipers are all demanding additional load.

For present biodiesel appears to be a good option and no one should fear using it. We should be careful about singing its praises, however, until we know more about its actual costs.
Very good points and thanks for trying to bring the thread back. I'm going to have to research out some numbers for the production of biodiesel. I know that Methanol is involved in the process which is not a very nice chemical, but I think after they are done using the methanol, they neutralize it which makes it environmentally friendly. I'll check on that for sure though. I will have to look into it more though. I know for a fact that you don't NEED to use petroleum to make it though, so that would definately cut out foreign reliance on petroleum.

This brings us back to why Rudolph Diesel invented the technology in the first place... so that farmers could GROW THEIR OWN FUEL. The guy was a genius!
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  #24  
Old October 6th, 2005, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbass
This brings us back to why Rudolph Diesel invented the technology in the first place... so that farmers could GROW THEIR OWN FUEL. The guy was a genius!
And that is they key phrase... grow your own fuel!
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  #25  
Old October 6th, 2005, 08:18 PM
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Thought this was interesting, along with info on methanol, biodiesel, etc.. It's got some useful info on Butanol and fuel from grass clippings and old newspapers.... May be worth a look.

I'm not in any way endorsing any of this, heck I don't even own a diesel... Close but no cigar for a while. I just enjoy reading your posts.

http://running_on_alcohol.tripod.com/id24.html


Thanks,

N
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  #26  
Old October 7th, 2005, 10:09 AM
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Either way, why not!

In the next year or two (wife willing), I am going to make the swap. The main goal is to go to SVO or WVO. It is not because I am a tree-hugger (I have after-all been driving Defender's since '97, and the family car growing up was a '70 FJ40), it is not because I will sleep better at night by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, it is not for the increased lubricity and reduced emissions.

It is because I can get WVO for free and put a sticker that says "Greasel" on the back of my rig, and that just seems really cool. I know I'll drop some cash on the conversion and I'll never recoup the cost - but having a two tank greasel rig with a 900+ mile range that smells like a french fry will rock . . .

Even if I lose all the "pep" from my V8, it wasn't all that "peppy" to begin with.

Matt
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  #27  
Old January 26th, 2006, 02:21 PM
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Switching to Biodisel: Things to Know

Having read a fair bit about biodiesel (someone else reddened and bolded the word so I figured I would give it a try <G>), I'd like to share a few things that may have been glossed over a bit in this thread, specifically information pertaining to those interested in switching to biodiesel.


Rubber
As someone mentioned earlier, you want to make sure that all rubber that comes in contact with the biodiesel is of a newer type that is resistent to the biodiesel. Alcohol (or something close to alcohol) is used in the making of biodiesel and will cause older types of rubber to disintegrate. The key word here is Viton. If you go with Viton rubber, you'll be fine. This includes fuel lines and, depending how it's constructed, could include your injector pump.


Petro-Garbage
Unfortunately, our legal administrators in this country have seen fit to allow very lax filtering regulations for our diesel fuel. This means that, when you purchase diesel fuel, you get a lot of 'junk' along with your fuel. This junk naturally falls to the bottom of your fuel tank to collect. Some of it might make its way to your fuel filter but, for the most part it just sits in your fuel tank.

Biodiesel acts as a cleaning agent (much like synthetic oil) in your fuel system. It picks up the junk and carries it through your fuel system. Many people who previously ran petro-diesel in their vehicles find that their fuel filters end up clogged by the massive amounts of junk that the biodiesel picks up from your fuel tank. Note that blending your own means you're still adding 'junk' to your fuel system.

Be prepared to replace your fuel filter several times after switching to biodiesel.


Fuel Quality
Make sure you use quality biodiesel. One of the final steps in the production of biodiesel is the 'wash' process where, quite literally, you use water to clean the fuel. Water is very, very bad for diesel engines. You can make your own biodiesel very inexpensively. Recent figures I've heard are around $0.70/gallon (seventy cents). If you (or your buddy who makes the stuff) doesn't do it right, you end up adding water (bad stuff) to your fuel system.

ASTM certification of biodiesel ensures a certain quality level with the fuel and eliminates the concern of adding water to your fuel system.


Lower Gel Point
Diesel has a higher gel point than gasoline. Biodiesel has an even higher gel point -- somewhere around freezing. Fuel that gels doesn't move through your fuel system so you want to take preventive measures to ensure that your fuel remains liquid. Where you live will dictate the corrective measure. For me (I live in the Seattle area), running five to ten percent petro-diesel (dropping from B99 down to B90) does the trick. Those people living in colder climates will need to take more drastic measures. In extreme cases, fuel heating systems are available.


Smell
Severel people have commented how the biodiesel smells like fryer oil. Perhaps it's my sense of smell (or lack thereof) but I don't catch this fryer oil smell. I do, however, catch the bad smell of petro-diesel so I'd have to say that biodiesel has little to no smell. Biodiesel also burns cleaner -- as in the little bit of smoke I see is whiter and clearer than that I see from petro-diesel.


Cost and such
Biodiesel prices tend to be a lot more stable than petro-diesel. Since switching early last fall (I only got my truck running last July) the price I pay has fluctuated by a nickel. This was great when petro-diesel was more expensive but now I'm paying a slight surcharge to burn a cleaner, renewable fuel. It's the price I pay.

I haven't done any lengthy trips with my 2.5l, yet, so I don't know what I'll do about locating biodiesel on the road. There are great sources of information online (best I have found is biodieselnow.com) but it takes a fair amount of up-front research to do a lengthy biodiesel-only trip. An auxialary tank and fuel cans would definitely help.


I'm sure I missed something important.
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  #28  
Old January 26th, 2006, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smenzel
Lower Gel Point
Diesel has a higher gel point than gasoline. Biodiesel has an even higher gel point -- somewhere around freezing. Fuel that gels doesn't move through your fuel system so you want to take preventive measures to ensure that your fuel remains liquid. Where you live will dictate the corrective measure. For me (I live in the Seattle area), running five to ten percent petro-diesel (dropping from B99 down to B90) does the trick. Those people living in colder climates will need to take more drastic measures. In extreme cases, fuel heating systems are available.

Cetane boost works wonders here. No need unless you experience extreme temps to have to endeavor into heaters (although they are nice).
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  #29  
Old January 26th, 2006, 05:47 PM
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Great post Smenzel. Thanks for that :D
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  #30  
Old January 26th, 2006, 07:51 PM
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Is there a way to edit messages? I accidentally typed lower gel point when I meant to type higher. Biodiesel gels at a higher temperature than regular diesel.
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  #31  
Old January 26th, 2006, 11:24 PM
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So, except for the price stability, I see no reason to switch to this stuff. Come on, how long can the allure of making your own brew - even for free - last? Too much of a risk and inconvenience for me.
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  #32  
Old January 27th, 2006, 01:37 AM
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There are FOUR reasons it knocks the socks off petro-diesel for me:

1) It's renewable
2) The money that I use to buy it goes to an AMERICAN farmer.
3) The money that I use to buy it doesn't go to buy dinosaur fossils from the Arabs.
4) It's how Rudolph Diesel himself designed the engine to run (it was the oil companies in the 20's and 30's that switched it to petro-diesel)

Oh yeah, I guess there are 5 reasons... it doesn't put out as much CO2 either (greenhouse gas). Although when it's not made to spec, the NOx levels can be higher.


OK, OK, I know Rudolph designed it to run on peanut oil, but it's actually very similar to the soy-based biodiesel here in the US.
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  #33  
Old January 27th, 2006, 09:49 AM
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If I may retort:

1. How long can a piece of land support the regrowth of any crop? I don't know how much land we will need to support this industry but if it means renewing nutrients of this land by chemicals how good can that be?

2. Well, the American farmer now is predominately corporate. By the time this industry is established I am sure it will be 100% so. So, you feel better supporting ADM instead of Exxon? Hardly, they trash farmland.

3. Hey, "love thy neighbor", remember? If your Arab neighbor has what you need then pay him for it. You'd have no complaints if gas was $1.50/gallon.

4. I am hesitant to support anyone named Rudolph. Come on, "Rudolph" and "peanut" in the same conversation as Land Rovers? I don't think so...

5. My President doesn't believe in global warning so neither do I. Heck, it's freezing here right now so a little bit of warming is welcomed.

Finally, I recently caught a PBS show (I think) on Iceland. They are moving forward aggressively to convert their entire automotive industry to Hydrogen-based. This is now a national policy, expected to be in full implementation in 5 years!

Now, they are uniquely positioned to do this since they generate all their energy freely and naturally. The cost per unit will be twice what gasoline/diesel currently is but the mileage of Hydrogen vehicles will be doubled - so the cost will be initially the same.

I think biodiesel will be passed over in this "rush" to something better. Despite your "pluses" above, unless any fuel gives us the power and convenience of gasoline it won't fly. Convenience includes lack of smell.

The future is Hydrogen. How we get there is the issue. It's odd that Iceland will be the gauge for this but so be it.
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  #34  
Old January 27th, 2006, 10:39 AM
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Thanks for passing this article along. Here in the DC/VA area Hybrids get a huge undeserved bonus. They are actually allowed to travel in the HOV lanes during peak traffic times with only one person traveling.

I started taking the damn bus to work around the time gas hit $3. The $2K/year I'm saving in gas and parking I've spent on a new Winch and a sweet Rock Ware Bumper.
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  #35  
Old January 27th, 2006, 11:40 AM
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My understanding is that hybrid's either this year or next are going to loose the ability to drive in HOV with only 1 person since it violates some federal law.
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  #36  
Old January 27th, 2006, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artm
If I may retort:

1. How long can a piece of land support the regrowth of any crop? I don't know how much land we will need to support this industry but if it means renewing nutrients of this land by chemicals how good can that be?

2. Well, the American farmer now is predominately corporate. By the time this industry is established I am sure it will be 100% so. So, you feel better supporting ADM instead of Exxon? Hardly, they trash farmland.

3. Hey, "love thy neighbor", remember? If your Arab neighbor has what you need then pay him for it. You'd have no complaints if gas was $1.50/gallon.

4. I am hesitant to support anyone named Rudolph. Come on, "Rudolph" and "peanut" in the same conversation as Land Rovers? I don't think so...

5. My President doesn't believe in global warning so neither do I. Heck, it's freezing here right now so a little bit of warming is welcomed.

Finally, I recently caught a PBS show (I think) on Iceland. They are moving forward aggressively to convert their entire automotive industry to Hydrogen-based. This is now a national policy, expected to be in full implementation in 5 years!

Now, they are uniquely positioned to do this since they generate all their energy freely and naturally. The cost per unit will be twice what gasoline/diesel currently is but the mileage of Hydrogen vehicles will be doubled - so the cost will be initially the same.

I think biodiesel will be passed over in this "rush" to something better. Despite your "pluses" above, unless any fuel gives us the power and convenience of gasoline it won't fly. Convenience includes lack of smell.

The future is Hydrogen. How we get there is the issue. It's odd that Iceland will be the gauge for this but so be it.
Yes, you can retort, that's what this forum is for, right?

But I can a little bit too.

1. Soy is very good to the land compared to other crops. If I was promoting ethanol (comes from corn mostly) then that would be a different story because corn is so harsh on the land. And has anybody seen how much farmland there is in the US? Plus all the additional plants would help stabilize the CO2/O2 balance again which we need whether or not you believe in global warming (and I personally think global warming is blown way out of proportion also) I know that my body runs better when I breathe O2-rich air instead of CO2-rich air.

2. It's not so much that it goes to the farmer, but that it all goes back into the US economy, 100% of it.

3. I actually was complaining about the $1.50/gal a few years ago because I don't particularly care for gasoline and internal combustion engines.


I fully agree that the future is in Hydrogen, although there are some huge hurdles that we need to overcome before that becomes a possibility. Some of which are the distribution infrastructure and figuring out how to get the hydrogen in an efficient manner (right now the production of hydrogen uses more coal and oil than do the cars that the hydrogen fuel would replace). All that switching to hydrogen does right now is move the polluters and dinosaur fossil users to a power plant instead of the cars exhaust pipe but it won't make anything better....yet. BUT, I am all for trying to figure out a better way to produce, store, and dispense hydrogen and I'm glad companies are finally putting money towards that.

Meanwhile, over the next 10-20 years while they are ironing out all the hurdles with hydrogen, all the infrastructure to dispense and store biodiesel is already in place (it can use the same tanks and pumps that all the gas stations already have in place, hydrogen cannot) all we need to do is fill the tanks with the stuff. In the mid-west, there are bio-diesel pumps at virtually every truck stop and it's getting that way in other places too. Here's a list of current biodiesel distributors: http://www.biodiesel.org/buyingbiodiesel/distributors/

A few states run government vehicles on biodiesel blends and many car manufacturers are now honoring warranties with biodiesel already (not all though). All of that is not even mentioning the huge benefits of compression-ignition technology over internal combustion technology. Those benefits are already there whether you run vegetable oil, biodiesel, dead cats, hydrogen, or petro-diesel in the compression-ignition engine.

Oh, and thinking that diesel can't give the "power and convenience of gasoline" is ludacris...anybody paying attention to Le Mans racing this year? http://www.audi.com/audi/com/en1/exp...sport/r10.html
I can't wait to see (and hear) that car in person when it comes to Utah in July. Let's hope Audi can keep the streak alive.
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  #37  
Old January 27th, 2006, 01:59 PM
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1. I have heard of a cleaner coal process, so if we are to rely on that for hydrogen production it may not be so bad. We have the supply. Iceland uses geothermal so they are uniquely positioned, hence the 5 year anticipated timeframe.

2, Canada is now poised to become the world's largest oil source with their "oil sand" deposits. This will be good news for all but I don't expect prices to drop. Thanks to the Chinese, Indians and the war on terror those good old days are gone. Frankly, I don't mind the higher prices if it forces our government to pursue alternative sources AS A NATIONAL POLICY

3, Power and convenience:. I don't have to worry about gel points, smell, cold starts, rubber compatibility. noise and availability with gas. While I understand that modern diesels are improving, when it comes down to it even my Corolla gas is better than its diesel version in all respects except mileage. I'm afraid waiting for F1 diesel technology to benefit me is not going to happen.

Diesel may catch on here if prices keep rising and it's used as a stopgap fuel until hydrogen. Heck, I jumped on board when it was $1.49 while gas was $1.99. Now it's as much as 20% more than gas so its allure is diminishing.

I think it's time to enjoy life once again: give me cheap V8 performance, an automatic tranny, a 90/110 and 20mpg and that's all I need. I've even been settling for 15mpg. Looks like a Chevy is in my future.
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  #38  
Old January 27th, 2006, 02:35 PM
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This banter is quite enjoyable. It's nice to see that we each have our opinions.

dmarchand writes:
Cetane boost works wonders here. No need unless you experience extreme temps to have to endeavor into heaters (although they are nice).

I'm not familiar with cetane boost (or any other gel point fixers). I read several posts on biodieselnow.com saying that the standard petro-diesel gel point fixers don't work on straight biodiesel. Living in an area that doesn't get _that_ cold (and being ok with adding a gallon or two of petro-diesel), I haven't bothered to investigate this any further.


Lubricity
One thing I forgot to mention is the lubricity factor of biodiesel. Current petro-diesel contains sulfur for some kind of lubrication in the combustion process (not sure exactly) but federal regulations will cut down (eliminate?) the sulfur from petroleum diesel.

Removing lubrication doesn't strike me as a particularly good idea. Adding just half a percent biodiesel to your fuel (running B00.5) is enough to overcome this lubrication issue.
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  #39  
Old January 27th, 2006, 03:11 PM
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I would like to know if the higher cost of the diesel engine and, at least for now, the higher fuel price of diesel is offset by the longevity of the diesel engine. 300,000 miles plus. I may be way wrong but I bet diesel will come down in price when our military gets back home.

It seems to me that diesel does more work per dollar. torque/horsepower

I guess it's too early to know how hydrogen would compare in the same catagories?
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  #40  
Old January 27th, 2006, 07:16 PM
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Is hydrogen really a part of this discussion?
I mean 300,000 miles on a diesel engine would take several engines before a hydrogen driven truck would even be a possibility for most people. Even if the govt took action to make this their top priority, which they won't, we are nowhere near being able to use hydrogen on a large scale.
That means waiting for the gas prices to fall would probably be smarter than trying to make due until there is a reasonable alternative. Honestly, is anyone willing to have a nuclear power plant in their back yard inorder to create enough hydrogen to run all of americas vehicles? I really dont think hydrogen cars are a realistic future.
Hybrids seem to be more trouble than they are worth, and all other alternatives to gas are falling on their asses. I say get the diesel, they have been working well for years and are only going to improve.
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