Archive for August, 2006

Convert your Car to Run on Vegetable Oil

Friday, August 18th, 2006

A quick summary on how to convert your current vehicle to run on vegetable oil.

In order to use vegetable oil as a fuel, you need to make some minor changes to a vehicles fuel delivery system. It’s a do-it-yourself project if you like to tinker, or you can have a mechanic do it. You need to:

  • Add an extra tank (in your trunk or truck bed) to hold the vegetable oil and to heat it (via the radiator) to lower the viscosity.

  • Run a separate, heated fuel line to the engine.
  • Install a solenoid switch so you can switch between fuel sources.
  • Add a separate fuel gauge and toggle switch in the dashboard. The switch is necessary so you can run your engine on petrol-diesel during startup and in the last few minutes of driving to purge the fuel system of vegetable oil.

Here’s a more thorough vegetable oil conversion tutorial.

Alternative Fuel Terminology

Friday, August 18th, 2006

Some common terminology

WVO: abbreviation for Waste Vegetable Oil. Comes from fast food restaurants and other deep-fry places. It must be filtered to screen out chunks of old French fries.

SVO: abbreviation for straight vegetable oil. Comes from the grocery store, bulk food stores like Sam’s and Costco, and oil distributors.

Successfully Converted Vehicles

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

Do you have a successful vegetable oil conversion you’d like to add to this list?

Here’s a list of some the vehicles I’ve found that have been successfully converted to run on vegetable oil. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge and have a vehicle on this list, you can breathe a little easier:

1985 Mercedes-Benz 300D
2003 Volkswagen Jetta
1986 Ford F250
1997 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
2006 Volkswagen Jetta
2001 Volkswagen Jetta
1977 Mercedes-Benz 300D
2002 Volkswagen Jetta
1982 Volkswagen Vanagon
2002 Volkswagen Jetta
2005 Dodge Ram
1998 Volkswagen Beetle
1989 Volkswagen Jetta
2002 Ford F350
2002 Volkswagen Jetta
2005 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
1984 Volvo 240
1985 Mercedes-Benz 300D
1996 Dodge Ram
1999 Chevrolet Suburban
2001 Ford F250
2002 Ford Excursion
1998 Dodge Ram
1972 Mercedes-Benz 240D
2001 Volkswagen Golf
1994 Ford F250
1997 Chevrolet 3500
2003 Volkswagen Golf
1979 Mercedes-Benz 300D
1998 Volkswagen Jetta
1996 Volkswagen Passat
1983 Mercedes-Benz 300D
1982 Volkswagen Vanagon

Change Your Driving Habits – Drive Less

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

This post is part of a series of articles intended to address some of the popular methods DieselEarth readers have suggested to address the rising costs of driving on petroleum-based fuels.

Gas prices are sky high (over $3 in Texas for regular). So how is this affecting peoples’ driving habits? Some of the DieselEarth readers have written in with their plans to combat high gas prices, and I’d like to address some of the more popular answers:

Change Your Driving Habits – Drive Less

This is actually one of my favorite suggestions. Although the reader who wrote in meant it as a suggestion for going out less and taking fewer driving vacations, I think it should be taken further than that. In this day and age of technological communication, why are we still driving to work?

A few months before I quit my job to become a web publisher I had conversation with my boss and asked him why I came to the office everyday. I didn’t interact with customers, 95% of my work effort was done at a computer terminal, and the infrastructure for at least partial telecommunication was already in place. He didn’t really have a good answer for me.

I believe that as our capacity for communication increases with technology, we’ll start to see more individuals producing out of their homes and avoiding the high overhead costs (in both time and money) of commuting to work. This in its own right will become (at least in my mind) an alternative solution to the energy problems we’re facing.

More from this series on Changing Your Driving Habits.

Change Your Driving Habits – Carpooling

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

This post is part of a series of articles intended to address some of the popular methods DieselEarth readers have suggested to address the rising costs of driving on petroleum-based fuels.

Gas prices are sky high (over $3 in Texas for regular). So how is this affecting peoples’ driving habits? Some of the DieselEarth readers have written in with their plans to combat high gas prices, and I’d like to address some of the more popular answers:

Change Your Driving Habits – Carpooling

Carpooling is another popular alternative, but I contend that America isn’t built on public transportation, and Americans are too individualistic (meaning we don’t work well as a group). We’ve been alone in our cars driving our four to eight seat autos for decades with just ourselves behind the wheel. I do it and the majority of the readers of this article probably do it.

Although car pooling is a viable option for some (and I salute them for doing it) I see it as a last resort, and ultimately I believe that we as a nation will push to develop an alternative fuel solution long before we have to share our morning ride to work. Carpooling may be a solution for those living in metropolitan areas, but just won’t work for rural Americans.

More from this series on Changing Your Driving Habits.

Change Your Driving Habits – Buy Smaller Vehicles

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

This post is part of a series of articles intended to address some of the popular methods DieselEarth readers have suggested to address the rising costs of driving on petroleum-based fuels.

Gas prices are sky high (over $3 in Texas for regular). So how is this affecting peoples’ driving habits? Some of the DieselEarth readers have written in with their plans to combat high gas prices, and I’d like to address some of the more popular answers:

Change Your Driving Habits – Buy Smaller Vehicles

This is a good answer as well, but I see it as a short-term solution. True, buying smaller vehicles will alleviate prices temporarily as individuals need less gas to operate their vehicles, but they’ll still be driving as much and the country will continue to grow and necessitate more vehicles on the road. Buying smaller cars is an excellent stop-gap solution while we work toward a permanent solution to the nation’s energy problems, but it’s not the solution in and of itself.

More from this series on Changing Your Driving Habits.

Change Your Driving Habits – Hybrid vehicles

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

This post is part of a series of articles intended to address some of the popular methods DieselEarth readers have suggested to address the rising costs of driving on petroleum-based fuels.

Gas prices are sky high (over $3 in Texas for regular). So how is this affecting peoples’ driving habits? Some of the DieselEarth readers have written in with their plans to combat high gas prices, and I’d like to address some of the more popular answers:

Change Your Driving Habits – Hybrid vehicles

Some readers have written in to let me know that they intend to buy a hybrid vehicle, something powered by a combination of electricity and petroleum, to alleviate the effect of high gas prices on their budgets. The problem with this idea is that hybrid vehicles are at best a push when it comes to saving money on transportation. The average cost of a hybrid vehicle is higher by $2500-$3000 with regard to initial purchase price, they’re subject possible costly repairs, and they don’t offer the fuel economy that most drivers expect when making the switch*.

The reason for this is simply that the technology is too new. As in most new model cars, Detroit is often quick to rush them to market to meet consumer demands. First year models have quirks that will be worked out only as the vehicle is road tested by millions of drivers and the problems are addressed one by one in preceding model years. It’s likely that hybrid cars will someday break through the barrier and become a true alternative means of transport, but today is not the day.

*Edumunds.com The Real Cost of Owning a Hybrid

More from this series on Changing Your Driving Habits.

Talking About Whirrled Peas

Tuesday, August 1st, 2006

From guest author Jamie H., owner of ScrapLove.com

I had two friends in this weekend from out of state, and as we were driving down the highway one of them noticed an oil derrick on the side of the road. She had never seen one before, and she asked what it did. I told her right now nothing, but when things got a little more sketchy over in the middle east we would see these moving all over the state. Then I got to thinking about it, and I can honestly say that is when I always get a little panicked about the state of the middle east. I worry about it when the oil derricks start bobbing up and down. But, until then, everything is just fine.

Then I started thinking about vegetable oil fueled cars, and I started wondering…could vegetable oil be the answer to world peace? I mean, if we start using vegetable oil, then we stop having wars over crude oil. So, basically, with something as simple as vegetable oil, we could solve all the world’s problems… there would be more money for schools because we would be spending less money on defense. We could use all the money spent on importing oil to support the farmers. This is a great plan for the farmers! We would need more vegetables to produce more vegetable oil, so they would have more work. We could put all the money spent in protecting the oil into making the farmland more profitable and better to farm. We could even take the top notch scientist working on military defense and start them to work on how to produce better and more profitable crops.

I know what you are thinking here. This woman is crazy. She doesn’t know what she is talking about, and maybe I don’t have a clue. I just know I would personally love to see the United States use the resources we have available to us instead of running around strong arming everyone else into giving us their stuff. Let’s stop beating up other countries and stealing their lunch money! If we spent half the time actually developing this fuel that we spend on defense projects and research, then we would have a fully developed fuel right now for far more than just cars!

I am a mom, and I am not necessarily worried about my daughter’s generation, or even her daughter’s generation, but what about the one after that? What are they going to do? We need to start working now so that those kids have a better place to live. Vegetable oil could provide us with a great start. We would have cleaner air, less fighting, and we wouldn’t be tapping the earth and draining it dry!

We would no longer be reliant on the middle east and their oil. We could bring things back home where they belong. America would worry about their own oil problem, and let everyone else worry about theirs. Sure, the oil tycoons will be a little sad, and let’s face it… they will stop my little plan dead in its tracks before it ever gets off the ground, but I think I may really be on to something here. Vegetable oil is the equivalent of world peace. Or should I say world peas?

The World’s Only Production Diesel Motorcycle

Tuesday, August 1st, 2006

July 18, 2005 The concept of a diesel motorcycle is not one that has occurred to a lot of people – at least not many have thought about it for long because despite a rich century of innovation in motorcycling, only a handful of diesel motorcycles have existed and until very recently, they have all been utility vehicles – bikes designed to get great economy on fuel of questionable quality in rugged and remote regions and said diesel two-wheelers had no performance pretensions. As we all know, diesel technology has come a long way in recent times and now the sans-sparkplug engine promises a renaissance thanks to its low emissions, good power output and low consumption … and like so many aspects of technology, it was the muscle of the military dollar that brought the world’s first modern production diesel motorcycle into being.

Full article