Tuesday, August 5, 2008

That weird, cheaper gas station down the street

A couple of months ago, the first bio-diesel/flex-fuel station in town opened a few blocks from where I live, offering alternative fuel options to cars with the option. What the hell is flex-fuel? Is it any good for the environment, in addition to being about $1 cheaper per gallon (2.99)?

According to CNN Money, Flex-fuel vehicles running on E85 fuel will do the following:
  • Gives less fuel efficiency (in comparison to gasoline)
  • Even while the fuel cost is cheaper, it will still cost you more each year with less fuel efficiency than running with gasoline.
  • Give small increase in peak horsepower
  • Burns more cleanly than gasoline in terms of air pollution, however, since they must burn more, it makes things close to even in comparison to regular gasoline.
If your car is a flex-fuel vehicle it should indicate it somewhere either on the car itself or in the manual. Flex-fuel vehicles have been made since around 1991, so it isn't completely unheard of. Flex-fuel stations are hard to find outside of the Midwest (I wouldn't know, though), due to the fact that corn is the heavily involved ingredient in flex-fuel, however, it can take many other forms. New forms of fuel, like cellulostic ethanol (made from plant parts), are in the making which may replace petroleum based parts of fuel.

So if you are thinking of investing in a new or used eco-friendly vehicle, you'd be better going with the Prius, or maybe just a more fuel efficient car (I am proud to say my Pontiac Vibe makes the Kelley's Blue Book List of most fuel efficient cars). You dont have to have a great car so help the Earth either, many parts of a car are recyclable as time takes its toll, so be sure if a car part needs to be replaced, whether its the oil to tires to batteries, the old part may be recycled. Better, greener cars are on their way too. For those of you who watched "Who Killed the Electric Car?" Saturn is now in the process of developing the Saturn Flextreme, a 100% electric car with zero emissions, and very sleek as well. Rock on Saturn!

For more information on Fuel-Flex vehicles, here are a couple of resources:
Kelley Blue Book Article
CNN Money

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