Sunday, February 11, 2007

Going Diesel

I bought a car in August. It was a Honda Civic, a basic economy car known for its reliability and its gas mileage. Many of my friends live off the subway lines and many miles from me, my work at WGBH is hard to get to without a car, and every job I seem to be applying for requires that I have my own transportation. So I caved.

Despite my good intentions and rationalizations, it became clear that driving this Honda was gnawing at my soul. The automatic transmission confused me and it's all together possible that the unfamiliar territiry simply made me paranoid, but the mileage just never seemed to be what it should be. I felt like I wasn't even making it to 30 miles per gallon, and slowly I stopped visiting people because I felt guilty.

I would be on edge driving to have dinner in Waltham (only a 10 mile trip from my home) because I figure that's probably almost half a gallon of gasoline that I'm using, and by driving all the time and burning so much gasoline I'm contributing to so many problems including health risks associated with the gasoline exhaust, greenhouse effects, and warped political priorities that have arisen to ensure US appropriation of foreign oil.

So after owning the Honda for less than 6 months, I decided it was time to sell it and buy something that didn't stress out my morals so much. Enter, 1989 VW Jetta. For now, this car will run on diesel which is not much better for the environment, but at least is more efficient. I can get approximately 45-50 miles to the gallon, as opposed to just under 30 with the honda. And as it warms up I can transition to biodiesel and eventually, with the help of these guys, to SVO (straight vegetable oil).

Click here for Quicktime movie (in a new window)

Thanks to Chad for the excellent camerawork, encouragement and company.

For more inspiring videos about running on alternative fuel, check out RyanIsHungry

Runtime is 1:17

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