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  1. #1
    Guest

    Hybrids versus biodiesel; who's cleaner?

    Hey all. I need to buy a new car, and am primarily interested in buying something that has as minimal an impact as possible on the environment over the lifespan of the car (car manufacturing, fuel production impact, lifetime driving, disposal).

    So, my question is: Which one is cleaner? Biodiesel (e.g. a Jetta TDI), or a hybrid such as a Prius or a Civic? I'll be driving in pretty typical city conditions.

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
    Guest

    Hybrids versus biodiesel; who's cleaner?

    One thing to consider is the availability of biodiesel where you live. If biodiesel is available, and you are inclined to take the extra steps necessary to use biodiesel only, then that is probably the cleanest choice.

    If you think you might tire of traveling to the biodiesel source to get your fuel, due to inconvenience or whatever, and would eventually opt for regular diesel, then a hybrid is probably a better bet. That is, at least until 'clean' regular diesel is available in the US.

    Bear in mind that you may have just started a flame war. I think I will now retreat to safety ... :-)

  4. #3
    Guest

    Hybrids versus biodiesel; who's cleaner?

    A flame war I can deal with. I'm just completely at a loss when it comes to a definitive answer of which one is better, overall, for the environment -- there seems to be a lot of conflicting information out there, and no clear answer.

    Am I the first one ever to decide between a hybrid and a biodiesel car? Come on! Why is it so hard to try and be a Good Person?

    (And yes, I can get to a B100 source very easily.)

  5. #4
    Guest

    Hybrids versus biodiesel; who's cleaner?

    What is "clean" desil? here in the UK we have desel but no bio-desel


    (sorry about spelling)

  6. #5
    Guest

    Hybrids versus biodiesel; who's cleaner?

    Actually there is bio-diesel in the UK. Several farms in the north are producing it. Guardian (who else?!) had article last month.

    But like here in USA - availability to microscopic.

    Key for me is emissions. Look at the # of lbs of emissions car is putting into environment.

    BTW - I love my Honda Civic Hybrid. I've discovered the cruise-control is the secret to high MPG - as it optimizes the electric motor and IMA better than the gas pedal does! Currently 45.4 mpg in a cold week in Maryland, rain, snow, slush - lovely!

  7. #6
    Guest

    Hybrids versus biodiesel; who's cleaner?

    Re: "clean" diesel.

    I think that when most people mention "clean" diesel, they are referring to "ultra-low sulfur diesel", which apparently cuts dramatically the badness of diesel exhaust.

    In the US, it is not available, and consequently a number of states (including mine, California) do not allow the currrent diesel cars (e.g. VW TDI models) to be sold.

  8. #7
    Guest

    Hybrids versus biodiesel; who's cleaner?

    W get ultra low sulpher here every where

  9. #8
    Guest

    Hybrids versus biodiesel; who's cleaner?

    Diesel can be not that great for the environment in the short term. It can emit alot of particulates (soot) and nitrogen oxidse. OTOH, diesels emit less carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, benzene, carbon dioxide, etc.. Lower carbon dioxide is better for the planet in the long term. You can add stuff called "cetane booster" to diesel fuel that will cut soot alot, and NOx (nitrogen oxide) a little. You can also run a blend of biodiesel in a diesel car, and biodiesel emits very little new CO2 into the atmosphere. Biodiesel is cheaper and easier to make than ethanol for gas, as well, and it makes much less soot than regular diesel.

    Hybrid cars, OTOH, will emit less tailpipe pollutants like soot and nitrogen oxides- alot less. However, they will still produce more CO2 than a diesel car burning a blend with 20 percent biodiesel, or more. Hybrid cars usually have higher pricetags than a diesel, and they will not last as long as a diesel car. A diesel engine can easily last a half-million miles before they have to be rebuilt (that's why big trucks run diesel engines, they will last 750,000- 1 million miles before an overhaul). A hybrids battery, OTOH, will not last much beyond 180,000 miles, and the engine will probably start to degrade by then, too. For the average driver, it's probably not a factor, but if you drive alot long distances, a diesel might be a better buy. Especially because diesels have very good highway performance, in some cases, identical to a hybrid.

  10. #9
    Guest

    Hybrids versus biodiesel; who's cleaner?

    One thing I wanted to know when I was looking for a more fuel efficient car: can a hybrid run a blend of gasoline with ethanol? I asked a Honda dealer, and they said they didn't know, but they thought it was a bad idea.

  11. #10
    Guest

    Hybrids versus biodiesel; who's cleaner?

    Unless you have a FFV - that is, a Flexible Fuel Vehicle, you cannot run fuel that contains more than 10% ethanol. It should actually be in your owners manual in fact. Some people have reported that their manuals state 15%, but generally 10% ethanol is as high as you can go. To run E85 or E95 (85% and 95% ethanol) you need an FFV or a vehicle specifically designed to run such a high percentage of ethanol.

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