Exploring Alternative Automotive Fuels

Film Recommendation

Pump (2014)

Where is the Choice?

The documentary seeks to remind viewers that people love having the power to choose! Not a particularly stunning revelation to be sure, especially in the USA where choice is often equated with freedom. So why then is there so little choice when it comes to fueling the vast majority of cars, trucks, and buses out there on the road today?

For the vast majority of those who drive (see The Daily Commute), petroleum is probably the only option at the local pump. According to the documentary (and dare I say common sense), this petroleum monopoly was no accident, but the will of some very influential vested interests. Money and influence were leveraged to keep citizens driving on fossil fuels. This dependency was further propagated through the weakening of public transportation, and the manipulations of political lobby groups (see The Truth About Lobbying). However, despite the petroleum dominance, the film reminds us that there are in fact  alternative fuels for powering your car.

Refueling

Marty, we have to go back!

There’s Been a Mistake!

Electrically powered vehicles (EVs) exist, and have been around since the very beginning of automobile manufacturing. So too have other alternatives, including biofuels like ethanol. In addition, there are now even more potential fuel sources such as methanol and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). The documentary explains the process behind some of these alternatives, as well as their availability. For instance, in Brazil where they made the switch over to ethanol, their environment and economy are better off for it.

The film also makes it a point to dispel the myth that ethanol is bad for the planet, as it takes away food from the mouths of people. Ethanol (which is essentially alcohol) can be made from pretty much any organic crop, but when it’s made from corn, it’s actually doubly beneficial. In fact, ethanol is already a byproduct when converting corn for livestock feed. So it doesn’t deprive humans, but makes it fit for animal consumption.

Elictric charging stations

Electric charging stations are becoming more common.

Fuels of the Future

Find out more about these, and other fuel options, as well as other fascinating insights. You’ll get a glimpse of some of the forces at play in the fuel market, and information on what you as an individual can do about it. Watch on if you’re intrigued!

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