Monday, May 15, 2006

Is Biodiesel the answer?

Biodiesel is one answer, but how about alternate methods of fuel propulsion? How about 150 miles to the gallon? The current record for traveling continuously at 55mph is 157 mpg.

We can not, as a nation of vehicle commuters, get more efficient mileage as long as people keep driving like NASCAR professionals. This is something all motorcycle drivers recognize. My daily commute from 225 over the Fred Hartman bridge is never less than 70mph and this is in the right lane…the traditional slow lane. If I keep up with traffic, I frequently hit 80mph and many times I am passed by a vehicle hitting 90+.

It’s almost a matter of survival to keep the speed between 70 and 80!

The Chinese have 1 ton trucks with 900cc diesel motors (less than 1.0 liter) that get 50 mpg. We can’t use them because they can’t get from 0-60 to 10 seconds meaning they would slow us down and cause wrecks. We rush, rush, rush, so we can get home and sit on the couch.

Biodiesel promises folks they can keep living like they’re living and the only thing that will change is the cost of a gallon. WE have to change is my point. We have to change.

When I hired on at ARCO in Channelview 30 years ago, the interviewers all asked me the same question: “Is living in Baytown 12 miles from the Plant going to be a problem”? Almost everyone there lived within 5 miles of the Plant and me living 12 miles away was considered risky.

These days’ folks routinely live 50 miles away. The roads and cars are better and allow us to make this commute; however we should all take a hard look at what this freedom of choice is costing us. It’s a mindset that has to change in my opinion. I now live 16 miles from my job, but my car gets 35 mpg. I make the trip and back on one gallon which is still not acceptable.

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