What I Drive

Biodiesel PumpThe Deseret News has a light piece on what public officials drive. Too bad I’m not in office, for I have a tale to tell.

The Blue Eagle is back on the road. I took it to Logan last Saturday for a stop at the Rotary district convention banquet. Having a local shop repair the transmission turned out to be the best choice. What would have taken a month and a few more years off my father’s life took some local pros a week. So aside from a few other minor quirks, it has been humming along the Utah freeways just fine.

As I was headed to Logan, I realized I needed to refill the diesel tanks. It was then that I remembered that the website for the Utah Biodiesel Cooperative mentioned there was a commercial biodiesel pump available in Brigham City. When the motorhome was first being considered for the campaign, I thought it would be great to power it via biodiesel, but after investigating the effort it takes to make it, I quickly abandoned that idea. It wasn’t until someone at a campaign event told me about the UBC that I realized I could purchase biodiesel from the pump in Utah.

Using my roaming Internet connection, I found the location of Cardwell Distributing in Brigham City. It wasn’t too far off the path to Logan. A fully unattended station mainly setup for agricultural needs. As I was filling, a local walked over to check the price, which was about a nickel cheaper than regular diesel. I asked him if it was always that way and he responded, “Yeah, but its still too expensive.” “There isn’t any reason it should be,” he continued.

64 gallons and $200 later, the Blue Eagle had finished gorging on the pump.

Although what is pumped is known as B20, 20% biodiesel to 80% normal diesel, the difference is remarkable. Driving a 30-year-old motorhome with the engine at your side has a bit of an odor and diesel makes it worse. The question I get asked is if it really does smell like french-fries. I don’t know where that came from, because there aren’t any potatoes involved. Insert your nose into a bottle of vegetable-oil and you’ll get a more accurate idea. Not entirely unpleasant, but a whole lot better than normal diesel. I’ve been told that biodiesel runs much cleaner too. It isn’t hard to imagine from the smell.

The icing on the cake came when there was discussion at the banquet about the Rotary district governor’s car. When he became district governor, he bought one of the new Volkswagen TDI diesel Jettas to drive around Utah. When asked about the MPG, he said it was around 45. Now, I’m neither a chemical engineer, nor do I the understand depths of the auto-industry, but when we can supplant 20% of our fossil fuel needs, today, and drive vehicles which are more efficient than unleaded-hybrids (hybrid-diesel anyone?) , why aren’t we? Although ethanol seems to hold some promise, I think biodiesel holds more. It shouldn’t have to take a treasure-hunt to find biodiesel at the pump, it should be everywhere there is diesel.

There are changes we can make today, without waiting, to reduce our need for foreign-oil drastically. America needs leaders who are willing to do so.

10 thoughts on “What I Drive

  1. It’s really inspiring to read posts like this from a senatorial candidate. I am a fellow biodiesel user and am excited to learn more about your campaign. Good luck.

  2. Mr. Peter,
    You go bro…

    Biodiesel is the most exciting thing in my life. Tells you how dull my life is. I’m driving my 4th bio-vehicle in the third year. 70%-30%

    My friend I think you have a good shot at being elected.
    You have my vote.

    Bub Horne
    Ocean Beauty Seafood.

  3. Hey Pete,
    Thats awesome that you found B20 where you were headed. I am thinking about converting my LandCruiser to a B-Type Toyota Diesel. It’s just that they’re a PITA to get the engine imported into the USA. If I can get the $$ and the motor I will for sure! Good luck on the trail.

  4. How do you feel about biodiesel making International headlines…biodiesel is High Performance Fuel of the Future…breaking world land speed record for wheel driven vehicle of 458 mph at world famous Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah…. Please contact Brent Singleton, Official Bonneville Salt Flats Alternative Fuel Event Coordinator at Brent@saltflats.com

  5. Thanks for the article, good to see someone in a actual position take an interest in Biodiesel. I just wanted to let you know that A 99.9% blend is now available in Logan on airport road(2500 north) is was $2.99 today. Still way to high after you have made a couple of batches yourself, but 16 cents cheaper than B20 in Brigham and 25 cents cheaper than regular diesel. So next time you make it up this way you have a couple of different options

  6. Pete,

    Thanks for using our fueling site. I have e-mailed you directly to offer our support in you efforts. We have several sites with Bio diesel. Midvale, Brigham, & Logan. Soon Delta

    Thanks, Frank

  7. Hello Pete, I am sure we are related. I was born in Cedar City but I now live in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. However I am happy to see this biofuel being developed. as far as I know there is none in our area, only talk. I drive a diesel pickup and my excavating equipment of course is all diesel. The operating costs have gone out of sight

  8. Pete! I was totally honking and waving at you in the Blue Eagle the other day at the intersection of 4th South and 7th East…but to no avail. I’ll pretend like you weren’t ignoring me and just had more important things on your mind…like wondering what that guy that was crossing the road was thinking when he dressed all in pink!

  9. Pete, if only everyone thought like you… I wouldn’t have to buy a euro car for the cool turbo diesel engine. I am not sure why it is less appealing to actualy use a more efficient engine.

    If I am correct, a turbo uses exhaust air to spool and push (new) compressed air into the engine. A turbo is more so a recycler that adds a substantial ammount of power to the engine, without taking from other resources. Using smaller engines and applying turbos would make for better fuel efficiency. I do believe that a version of VW’s TDI engine produces 179hp from just 1.4 liters of displacement, which (from reviews I have read) gets arround 50mpg. Now, let’s compare that to Nissan’s QR25DE, that produces 175hp, in their Sentra SE-R, which is estimated at 23 city and 29 highway mpg. That’s a 1.1 liter displacement and gets arround 20 more mpg on highway. Which one sounds like the real “economy” car (Which would imply that the car is actualy economical, if I am correct).

    I understand that I have gone somewhat off topic, but there are many solutions which can be applyed immediately, instead of freaking out and giving the go ahead on design and development of the 5.6 liter Nissan Titan that gets 19 highway mpg.


  10. Pete,

    You’ve got my vote! I think everyone’s crazy for not switching over to biodiesel. I’ve looked at everything else too, but this just makes the most sense! So I bought a twenty-three year old Mercedes diesel and have been filling up in Salt Lake. I live in Spanish Fork. Oh, well. I go to the Cardwell in Midvale and get them to pump me the B100, and when I filled up last week it was at $2.88 a gallon. That’s as cheap as regular unleaded! Of course, the extra travel hurts a lot, but that’s the price I pay, eh? Small price, I think. Good luck!

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