Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Need a new car, want alternative fuel. Whaddaya think? Biodiesel or Hybrid?

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » The DU Lounge Donate to DU
 
pink-o Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:47 PM
Original message
Need a new car, want alternative fuel. Whaddaya think? Biodiesel or Hybrid?
...I don't drive very far most days: I have a 10 minute communte to work and I've heard that biodiesel doesn't perform well unless the car is nice and warmed up and you drive more distance than I do. When I'm not at work, I bike, walk or take public transpo.

However, I drive almost every weekend 60 miles each way from San Francisco to Sonoma to go see my 84-year-old dad. I'm starting to feel the pinch at the pumps, but I would actually pay if petrol weren't such a bad idea on so many levels. So it's time for something else.

So what's everyone's opinion? Should I just get a Prius or an Insight, trick it out to get 100 miles a gallon, or should I go with biodiesel? Or should I keep my little beater for a couple more years, seeing as I get about 30 MPG right now? Calling all experts!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 02:03 PM
Response to Original message
1. I am sure you will get loads of great opinions, but try googling for consumer and ecology
Edited on Sat Mar-15-08 02:12 PM by GreenPartyVoter
websites and see if you can find some head-to-head match-up reviews. (Although, I think there are a few DUers who have both, so hopefully they'll see your thread.)

Also did you post this in the E/E forum? Always very knowledgeable folks in there. http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
The Animator Donating Member (999 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 02:10 PM
Response to Original message
2. A fuel flex hybrid.
Edited on Sat Mar-15-08 02:12 PM by The Animator
One that can burn ethanol as well as gasoline.

I don't know if they've combined Fuel Flexible engines with Hybrid technology, but it's worth a look.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
lizziegrace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. I have a flex fuel Taurus
Great concept but the mpg using ethanol is about 20% less than using gasoline. So unless ethanol is at least 20% cheaper per gallon (which it isn't in Ohio), it won't save you any money. The fact that you're not using gasoline is a plus, but I live paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford the loss in mpgs.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
OmahaBlueDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 11:39 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. One of the regular posters says this is coming
I had this discussion with a poster who indicates he's a GM worker. Flex fuel hybrid is not here, but is coming.

If we can make ethanol from something that is not corn (switchgrass, woodchips, or better plants, like sugar beets or industrial sweet potato) and combine it with hybrid technology, it cold be a very good thing.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
pink-o Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 02:27 PM
Response to Original message
3. Cool. Thanx for the great suggestions you guys! n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
OmahaBlueDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 02:29 PM
Response to Original message
4. I think biodiesel & SVO are good options, BUT
Edited on Sat Mar-15-08 02:29 PM by OmahaBlueDog
look before you leap. I've been researching it, and the days of just getting free oil from restaurants are gone in this part of the world. Restaurants here now sell their oil, which you will have to buy, and then either filter (in the case of SVO), remove the water, and then (in the case of biodiesel) perform the conversion.

If you just want simplicity, get a Prius.

If you want another good option, and you live in SoCal, look at the Honda Civic NGV.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
siligut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 02:45 PM
Response to Original message
5. No advice, but I will share a resource.
I looked on the Green Car Companys website and it doesnt seem that there are bio-diesel hybrids. However, you might want to take a look to determine your options, it is a great company. http://www.thegreencarco.com/
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Orsino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 05:41 PM
Response to Original message
6. Hybrid. Burn less carbon...
...and encourage the development of battery technology that can help us go electric.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Pavulon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 05:58 PM
Response to Original message
7. Diesel. Proven long term performance
there are many diesels with hundreds of thousands of miles still on the roads. They are mechanically sturdy by design.

You can purchase a used low mileage diesel in cars from a Jetta to an E320. They all return 40 or beyond.

The 320 gets 38 with a lead foot, 45 on an easy ride. No diesel stink or chatter.

Burns B20, which performs fine from start on. You can tune diesels to return very high mileage by using propane injection. However doing this to a car seems risky.

4 door (great to buy used) There is supposed to be a civic diesel coming out for a 2 door vehicle.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 11:52 PM
Response to Original message
10. Go with a diesel
The new ones are virtually indistinguishable from an equivelent gasoline car and pollute less than a Prius.

The Case for Diesel: Clean, Efficient, Fast Cars (Hybrids Beware!)

Merging with northbound traffic on Interstate 75 just outside Auburn Hills, Mich., I punch the accelerator, quickly swing left into the passing lane and pull forcefully ahead of the cars around me. In any other ride, on any other gray morning, itd be just another Interstate moment. But this rush hour, Im behind the wheel of a preproduction 2009 Volkswagen Jetta, which is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-charged, direct-injected diesel engine that, even as I leave the speed limit in tatters, is averaging nearly 50 mpg. Equally important, whats coming out of the tailpipe is no dirtier than the emissions from the 35-mpg econoboxes I can now see in my rearview mirror. Speed, fuel efficiency and minimal emissions? These arent characteristics usually associated with diesel-powered vehicles. But they will be.

Most Americans have a bad impression of diesel cars. We think of them as loud, hard to start and foul-smelling. We sneer at them for lacking the get-up-and-go of their gasoline-powered cousins. And we dislike them for their perceived environmental sins, chiefly the polluting brew of sulfur and nitrogen compounds that they emit into the atmosphere. All those complaints were fair a generation ago, when the twin energy crises of the 1970s propelled diesels into national popularity and kept them there for a decade. Back then, many drivers ignored diesels faults, or were unaware of them, because diesel cars ran 30 percent farther on a gallon of fuel than similar gasoline-powered cars. It felt savvy to buy a diesel, even daring. Then fuel prices dropped in the mid-1980s, and drivers abandoned their clattering, odoriferous fuel sippers. They went back to gasoline.

<snip>

If you told me 10 years ago that Id be putting clean and diesel in the same sentence, Id have said you were out of your mind, says Margo Oge, director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality at the Environmental Protection Agency. However, in response to EPA mandates that went into effect in late 2006, oil refineries are now producing whats called ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD). By definition, this clean diesel has sulfur concentrations of no more than 15 parts per million (ppm). Thats 98.5 percent cleaner than the sludge that coursed through the fuel delivery systems in those disco-era rides, and 97 percent less sulfur than was allowed under a 500-ppm standard instituted in 1993. The cut in sulfur means that less sulfur dioxide goes into the atmosphere, where it can combine with water to produce sulfuric acidand thus, acid rain. There are further beneficial effects of the sulfur-light fuel, ones that could make the advent of clean diesel as environmentally momentous as the introduction of unleaded gasoline in 1974.

Sulfur clogs emission-control devices in diesel-powered cars the same way lead impeded catalytic converters in gasoline systems, Oge says. Removing the lead from gasoline enabled engineers to develop a new generation of emission-control technologies that helped reduce noxious exhaust emissions by 98 to 99 percent. Carmakers have already started building exhaust-scrubbing systems for engines that burn ULSDso that not just sulfur but a rogues gallery of other pollutants are kept out of the air. Though they differ in design, the systems share some basic components. In a Mercedes-Benz BlueTec system, for example, exhaust from the engine is first filtered through a device that lowers carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon levels. Then it runs through an apparatus that removes soot and other particulates. Finally, the remaining exhaust gas is sprayed with a urea-based substance that helps convert harmful nitrogen oxidesNOx is the shorthand for this group of compoundsinto harmless nitrogen gas and water vapor. According to Mercedes-Benz, the system reduces the total output of harmful emissions by 80 to 90 percent. The process even eliminates diesels bad odor.

<more>

http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/423...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Zoigal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 12:21 AM
Response to Original message
11. We love our Prius and plan on replacing it with
another one when the time comes, unless something better comes out.
Milage normally around 50mpg unless we do a lot of hill driving.
No problems so far, and it has a bit under 50,000 miles on it. Lots of room, too. z
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
pink-o Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 06:11 PM
Response to Original message
12. Since I started this thread, I found out something troubling about the Prius battery
...My Dad's friend is an auto dealer, and has used cars of all different makes. He told me that the Prius battery needs to be changed out at about 130,000 miles--and to replace it costs about $5,000. He also informed me that due to the electrical part of the Prius, the maintenance is complicated and if not done right can give out a few volts in wet conditions.

Now, maybe these are the older ones and they've worked it out, but at this point I may just go with a VW TDI. I appreciate everyone's suggestions, and if I find any relevant facts on my research mission, I'll post them on the energy portion of DU.

Have a great weekend, All!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Zoigal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 09:33 PM
Response to Original message
13. For more hybrid battery info check
consumerguideauto.howstuffworks.com/hybrid-batteries (found on Google). Lots of
good information. z
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
IntravenousDemilo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 10:04 PM
Response to Original message
14. Can you find a straight electric car that's in your price range?
The Tesla is a supercool sportscar, but very expensive. However, there are some electric cars on the market that won't run you $100K and also don't look like golf carts. Wouldn't it be nice just to plug the car in, charge it up, and go?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Wed Nov 26th 2014, 11:13 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » The DU Lounge Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC