As a publication, Usedcarsalesman. com does not exhibit a great deal of editorial discipline. It seems to hopscotch across all sorts of subjects, rather than focus on one thing, say, for example, “cars” (what most people think it’s about). Frankly, I’d like to think it’s focus is on technology and media, but the reality is that technology and media are not a big enough “town” for Usedcarsalesman.com’s only writer. So he has to write about other things too. But, hey, at least it’s something new every 4 days, right? Anyway, the subject of this writer’s love, today, is kind of about “cars,” or at least their fuels. Namely, it’s about Biodiesel fuel, yes, the fuel you’ve been hearing about made of fryer grease, soybean or alternate vegetable oil which can power a converted Diesel automobile.
Biodiesel interests me for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I’ve paid attention to the impact of the automobile on people’s lives. I was born in 1971 and my early formative years around Washington D.C. were the Oil-Embargo, gas crunch, and Jimmy Carter years of the 1970’s. The gas-lines, the ideas about electric cars, the human-powered vehicles that people were experimenting with, all of that was going on at the time and made me say, “why not? …”What’s the hold-up, why don’t Americans buy this clean-power, new-fuel stuff?”
Then, the Reagan 80’s rolled around and the environmental stuff politically took a backseat, not just in D.C. metro area, but seemingly everywhere in the U.S. outside of maybe, Oregon; it seemed that the general U.S. consensus about the enviro-transportation stuff was that it was “bad business,” that is was associated with “political weakness” or something to that effect. As for me, in 1980, I discovered Car and Driver and started worshipping -The 10 Best Issue- and that was that. I kind of stayed on that course through the 1990’s with the automobile.
Then the new millennium rolled around. Sure, I was and still am “taken” with the modern hybrid car. I first saw a drawing of a hybrid auto in 1985 in an issue of Popular Mechanics; it looked like it had two power plants alright, but nothing was said about regenerative braking or the complementary performance of the engines. So, in 1985, I kind of thought hybrids were like Godzilla vs Mothra, not something to be taken seriously :). Today, the value and operation of hybrids is fairly well known and I suspect that their systems will also work well with a Biodiesel powered diesel engine, too. Which is where we get in to Biodiesel fuel.
Now the thing about Biodiesel is that, though I had been reading car magazines for 25 or so years, I never new that you could use vegetable oil to power a diesel automobile. I just didn’t know about it; it never crossed my mind. What’s even more interesting is that the inventor of the diesel engine, Rudolph Diesel, was able to run his Diesel engine entirely on peanut oil at the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris. He even suggested in 1911 that “(the diesel engine) would help considerably in the development of agriculture in the countries that used it.” Understandably, in that time period, most people were running away from the countryside to cities, not vice-versa. So, Diesel’s vegetable oil-as-fuel-thing idea probably wasn’t able to capitalize on any latent urban dweller nostalgia for farm-life.
But, nowadays, it’s a different story. Not, nostalgia for farm-life, but you know, Biodiesel, or vegetable oil for fuel. We are in the midst of a second gas-crunch, so-to-speak, citizens want to reduce dependence on foreign oil, and citizens want to see a reduction in emmissions that cloud urban skys. Biodiesel provides those things. In fact, I, personally, eagerly await the chance to run Biodiesel in my hypothetical diesel-powered car. Whether I’m rich or poor, am 15 years younger or 15 years older, or whether petrol-gas is at 45 cents a gallon or $4.50 a gallon, Biodiesel sounds like a great, clean, domestically-produced idea. Which is why I think that Biodiesel is a good investment. It looks like a huge-growth area. It looks like Ben and Jerry’s meets Exxon.
I see a number of areas of investment regarding Biodiesel. Obviously, you have the current and future stocks of Biodiesel processors and Biodiesel vehicle-conversion companies and perhaps specialized Biodiesel retailers. But, then you have commodity investments, such as soybean futures; when was the last time somebody thought about the Chicago Commodities Exchange unless you were a farmer seeking to hedge your investment in the crop you just planted? You also have real-estate development: a lot of money could suddenly start flowing to the U.S. farm-states, formerly subsidy-reliant; that money is going to draw people to it; those people are going to need places to live and commercial structures, too; that developed property will increase in value as more people move to said areas. And, because Biodiesel fuel, or essentially vegetable oil can be made wherever its vegetable of origin can be grown, you may see areas such as Africa or Russia become enriched by growing and providing vegetable-based fuel to highly populated markets such as China and India, not to mention to the “West.” Furthermore, China and India present their own opportunities for investment and development in the biodiesel arena: transportation, vehicle-conversion and retail fuel sales. So, in sum, I see reason to be unapologetically bullish on Biodiesel.
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