Transportation: Fuel Costs

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adler_Diplomat
1941 Adler Diplomat – Gasifier

Driving a car is expensive. What if you didn’t own a car? (This question is of course directed at you who in fact do own one.) If you didn’t own a car you would have to live relatively close to your work. Alternatives might be walking, biking, public transportation, van pools, or finding a job that involves teleworking.

If you are in fact one of those who does own a car and can not do the above suggestions you can do other things to make driving your car less expensive. Fuel costs are a major factor in my daily commute; I drive 66 miles round trip for work. I know other people who go as far as 88 miles daily for work.

Here are my steps to make the fuel less expensive:

  1. Make myself more efficient; see if my commute time can be moved to another time which has less traffic. Every time the brakes are put on the car the car uses more fuel
  2. Batch trips when possible; don’t make separate trips if you are passing by multiple stops
  3. Maintain your vehicle, check tires for proper inflation, change oil if needed, fix the little things before they become big things
  4. Lighten the load as much as possible; don’t carry around extra stuff. Weight=Money Some people even take out back seats. I don’t think I’m that extreme. (*My exception to this is make sure you have a good jack and a full spare tire. Being able to change a tire with a real tire makes getting an unplanned flat more of a controlled event. Doughnut tires are only good for about 30 miles at 30 miles per hour. Why have to hunt for a tire shop on a trip, pay top dollar for what ever tire is available, and go slow on top of that?)
  5. Change the fuel the car uses

Fuel cost are a consideration when buying a car. Often we are looking at miles per gallon or kilometers per liter. Either way most of the expense of operating a car is the fuel costs. There are many ways to manipulate the figures but, ultimately the two factors that weigh the most is the cost of the fuel and the efficiency of the vehicle.

The alternatives are also of course is can you car pool, can you tele-work, can you use a bike, can you change proximity to work, can you use public transportation.

The main point of this article is to look at the car if you can’t change any other factor. What are the choices of fuel? If you already own a car then the choice is already made. It is defined by the car itself. So if you have a gas guzzler what can you do? Just keep paying the cost of gasoline or look to the past and apply it today and improve your future.

In WWII the country of Finland was in trouble with oil imports and resorted to gasifier add-ons to their gasoline engines. This kept the country running during WWII (Here is a Swedish video from the same time period.)

What does this have to do with today? Gasifier cars disappeared in a relatively short amount of time after WWII. Today the oil / gasoline prices seem to keep rising exponentially. The gasifier may be making a comeback. Wayne Keith operates his farm on wood gas (Wayne Keith’s web page)

I did the math on my own situation and came up with the following based upon Mr. Keith’s statements:

5100 miles on a cord of wood at $50 a cord (according to Wayne Keith)
17160 miles driven per year =  about $168 per year on wood.

Compared to running strictly on gasoline this would be:
17160 miles driven per year = $2071 on gasoline @ 29 miles per gallon (assumed $3.50 per gallon)

This means I could drive 10 years on wood and still be under the cost of driving one year on gasoline.

Oil is a non renewable resource. Trees can be a renewable resource. This would mean it might be more cost effective to run on wood. I spoke with my wife and she thought the whole idea was crazy. She had pictures of throwing wood in a furnace and stoking the fire like a steam locomotive. After she saw the initial numbers she didn’t think I was so crazy to consider it.

Of course more has to be considered like how much it would cost to arm a automobile with a wood system, what are the side effects, how do you turn the car off once you get to where you are going, etc.

I’d like to know your thoughts; Is it crazy to drive on wood? Let me know.

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One thought on “Transportation: Fuel Costs

  1. Pingback: WAVE-B | Red X Drive to Freedom

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