Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Dream Cars

I was reading a blog from my friend, Remixed Phoenix which was a photo essay about what car he would have if he was a billionaire. Now I posted my responses and I thought I would repost them here because I want to be able to share my dreams here. I want a better world for my nephew, better than the one he is growing up in. To do this, we have to live within our means and be cleaner about it. We all can afford to be a lot more green in our dealings with the world. However there are intersts in the world which would perpertuate the damaging effects of our petroleum based economy has on our environment, political systems, and the world in general.

My Garage if I won the lottery:

I am often asked when I tell people my dream cars are CNG powered about fueling. CNG infrastructure isn't what it is in Europe lets say. At one time one could drive across the US on CNG alone. However, the Bush Administration abandoned CNG along with the big 3 US auto makers at around 2006. With that, and the lack of renewal of tax incentives, the fueling infrastructure decreased.

Funny though, all the US manufacturers have CNG vehicles in their fleets in Europe. The Ford Focus apparently has a CNG Version as well as Opal for GM in Europe. However, the Big three keep them over in Europe and not over here. The CNG stations here are depended upon whatever municipality or state is supporting them. California, Utah, Oklahoma and some areas in New England have fairly good fueling infrastructure, some of them even at the stations you get your regular gasoline from. I know of a few Shell stations on the East Coast that sell it. There are some cities that have a single station and that is it. Then you are dependent on if the pump works, which may be half the time. Both vehicles I showed above are CNG.

The Ford Crown Victoria is a V8 monster which is based on the ubiquitous car of the same name which is used as a police cruiser and Taxi in many cities in the US. The Crown Vic CNG is a dedicated fuel CNG (which means it uses CNG exclusively as its means of propulsion) and has a 300 US mile range depending on the tanking options. More range means less trunk (boot) space and vice versa, but the Vic has a HUGE trunk so unless you are a mobster who regularly disposes of bodies or a woman who regularly cleans out the local supermarket with 10 bags of groceries its doubtful you will need all that space. Law enforcement likes big trunk space for tactical items and technical items. (DVR for dash cameras are stored in trunks as well as forensic kits and the like). The one above was produced in 1994-1997 and are referred to by CV enthusiasts as "aero-Vics" because of their more aerodynamic styling with the wrap-around headlights and such. I like the styling on these and own a gasoline powered version. (Reference my blogs about the "Victor-Victoria" as I refer to my lovely car). There is also one for sale in California, however given its age it is likely that in spite of its cheap price, the tanks will likely have to be swapped out soon as they are limited by age. The certification for the CNG tanks, due to their high pressure containment are certified for only 12 years or 100,000 miles. Swapping the tanks is almost as costly as an engine change which would make the vehicle cost a whole lot more than I can afford to spend at the moment. But I digress.

The more contemporary Vics are less aerodynamic but are said to be more robust. They were improved after a spate of crashes involving Crown Victoria Police version which resulted in Gasoline tank explosions which resulted in the deaths several policemen. The vehicles are now certified for tank survivability in a 75 MPH crash.

As of today, the Civic GX is the only domestic US produced CNG vehicle in the US. Sad that a Japanese manufacturer is producing the only US CNG car.

If I could afford it really, I would be a Green car owner exclusively. I'd have a solar powered mansion if I could afford it, with wind power and the like. When you are poor in the US, one really can't afford to be green. You have to take what you can get and what you can get is usually the stuff which isn't the best for the planet or for you.

What I love about CNG is that they can be readily converted to run on Hydrogen gas which we will in all likelihood be using soon given that fossil fuels are running out. I read somewhere that Hydrogen as a vehicle fuel will become economically viable when gasoline reaches $6.00 a gallon in the United States. After that, you will probably see the US finally coming to its senses and getting itself off of Petroleum and going to a Hydrogen economy or despoiling the environment and fighting wars in an ever desperate search for the dwindling supplies of Oil. Care to guess the likely scenario?

If one is interested you can check out my Multiply Group on the subject, which unfortunately has not been updated as of recently or you can check out other organizations listed on the links which I think I have kept updated and if not, please let me know so I can.


charlesalvarez23 said...

I had a great time with your post. How I wish to have this kind car someday. I will refer this to my friend. Thank you.

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david said...

It was very helpful for me as I am going to buy my first vehicle. cars for sell in houston