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Alternative Fuels For Cars

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

There are options for those who want more value for their money

As gas prices rise and fall, interest in alternative fuels for cars fluctuates accordingly. When gasoline is $1.50 per litre, everybody and their dog wants to find a more cost effective way to get around. What's odd is that as soon as gas prices fall again, we seem to forget all about the high prices and go on burning gasoline. It's not news to most people that we in North America are addicted to gasoline. It's the truth and we all know it. 

Other countries are dependent on their cars as well. The interesting difference that I noted when I was in Australia in particular is that they are far more interested using alternative fuels for cars and trucks than we are here in North America. Vehicles powered by diesel and clean burning propane rule the road down under. Dozens of models are sold right off the lot with diesel or propane powered engines ranging from small cars to large trucks in numbers that are grossly disproportionate to what we see here in North America.

Australia is not unique in this regard. Europe and many other parts of the world embrace alternative fuels far more than we do. Until recently, for decades our only option for diesel powered passenger cars were Volkswagen and Mercedes. Why would this be? Diesel engines are proven to average around 30% greater efficiency than gasoline engines. Among the options available, gasoline seems to be the least efficient and most expensive fuel over the long term.

Here is a list of the top alternative fuels for cars.

1. Diesel

As mentioned above, diesel engines are far more efficient their gasoline burning cousins. So why then do we not have access to more diesels? Why have they only gained mainstream traction in pickup trucks? 

I suspect there are a couple of reasons for this. First off, car companies see a diesel engine as an option and charge a hefty fee for it. It's not that it costs them any more to produce a diesel engine, it's that in North America it's a luxury and luxuries cost more. Secondly, I think many people still imagine the diesel tractors and trucks from the 70s and 80s that spewed out thick, black smoke in their wake. Modern diesel engines burn just as clean as gasoline and do not smoke at all.

2. Propane

Propane is a widely available gas that is more than capable of powering cars and trucks. Most importantly, it's also CHEAP. Although converting your vehicle to run on propane can cost a few thousand dollars, it will pay off in the long run. How long it takes depends on how much you drive. At the time of this writing propane costs just a little over half what gasoline does, that's some serious savings. Propane systems are also far more sophisticated and efficient than they were even ten years ago.

3. Electricity

Electric cars are here to stay. They now are capable of performance and range that rivals or exceeds their gasoline-guzzling counterparts. Electricity can be produced in dozens of ways including solar panels at your own house. Building your own electric car is not as difficult as you may think.

4. Biodiesel

Biodiesel is produced from cooking oil or grease. Many hobbyists produce their own biodiesel at home in their garages. Regular cooking oil can be converted into biodiesel through a chemical process. This is something that you should definitely learn from a professional who has done it before. Getting it wrong could seriously damage your car or your house!

5. Waste vegetable oil

Unbeknownst to many, diesel vehicles can run on filtered waste vegetable oil from any restaurant. Although your car needs a basic conversion to store, heat and transport the oil to your engine. Running on vegetable oil is a very simple alternative fuel available to everybody. The oil can be filtered on board your vehicle or you can set up a filtration station in your garage.

These 5 alternative fuels are readily available to anybody who is done buying gasoline. There are other options available to you whether or not the car companies want you to know about it.

Converting A Car To Waste Vegetable Oil



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