Cars, trucks and vans powered by biodiesel or reclaimed veggie-oil are zipping around Bozeman’s streets right now. The most interesting conversion? Probably an ice cream truck.
Switching to biodiesel is as easy as filling up your vehicle, IF you have a diesel engine. Biodiesel just means that the diesel you’re using was derived from modern plants, not oil. Biodiesel is available in many locations around the state – see this DEQ list for locations. Story Distributing at Pacific Pride in Belgrade is your best bet for this part of the world. They typically have a 5 to 20% blend available (20% in summer, 5% in winter). Check with them before driving over at (800) 244-0317. You could also consider joining the Bozeman Biofuels biodiesel buying group, and make your own bulk purchases; this is not currently active, but may start up again. Check with them if you’re interested in Bozeman Biofuel activity. MSU researchers are on the forefront of biofuels science – read about their most recent work!
It is possible to convert a diesel engine to run on vegetable oil. Most folks choosing this route use post-consumer vegetable oil from restaurants, which is then carefully filtered before use. Counseling on how to create your own filtered vegetable oil is available on the Bozeman Biofuels website.
Hybrid vehicles (with both a gasoline and electric engine) and straight electric vehicles are both present on Bozeman’s streets today. Hybrids are more common, and never need to be plugged in. They get somewhere from 35 to 50 MPG, depending on the car and how you drive it. Electirc vehicles run on a charge from a battery, and travel for somewhere around 3 cents per mile worth of electricity. They’re designed primarily for around-town driving, and typically have a range of under 150 miles per charge. Bozeman has several plug-in stations around town to recharge a battery while you’re out and about: there’s one in back of City Hall for employees, and one in the downtown parking garage.
Cars aren’t the only things that come in electric: you can get electric bikes, lawnmowers, weed-whackers and more. If you ever convert to solar electricity, you can power these from your own panels too!
Did we forget a great local resource for alternative fuels? Let us know!