July 19, 2010

I drive a big truck. Really big.

Truck me.

So I’m probably not your typical Elephant Journal blogger/writer. As I’ve mentioned before, I lead a life that some readers would call dichotomous and hypocritical. I would probably call it balanced.

I ride my bike and walk a lot. But when I do drive, I drive a truck.

You see in my pursuit of this so called adventurous lifestyle I lead, I haul a lot of gear for myself, my kid and my friends. Mountain bikes, road bikes, dirt bikes, skis, snowboards….you name it. On some weekends, my truck is bursting with outdoor tools, unless I’m starting the adventure directly from my house.

I don’t just drive any old truck though. I drive a big truck. I used to have a Tundra, which I traded in for an even bigger Ford F-250. Meaning I can now haul a metric ton of yoga mats. Actually, I can probably yank the yoga studio itself to a new location if the landlord is too uncooperative.

Lest this sound like a plea for redemption, I bought this beast for a few considered reasons:

First, I wanted a higher-MPG, clean-burning diesel engine. Yeah, yeah…relative to a hybrid, the mileage is a joke. However these next generation diesels are extraordinarily clean burning, and the technology that goes with it is pretty fascinating, including urea tanks which capture particulates that most of the “clean” diesels you or your friends drive spit into the air.

The second reason (and potentially the most important) I obtained this thing is that wanted to run biodiesel. For brands like AMG and Undercurrent client Clif Bar, we were a part of the biodiesel revolution. We ran B-100 in our promo/sampling vehicles when it was a gamble to even run B-20. Years of backing up to restaurant kitchen doors, changing clogged fuel filters and systematic networking to get our vehicles to cross the continent, resulted in helping biodiesel producers create an actual grid. In my case, and by my calculations, I not only get a few more MPGs with this drivetrain, but even if I run just B-20, I’ll have a significant net reduction in my household vehicle-based oil consumption footprint.

The jury is still out on the net environmental impact of biodiesel, as most EJ readers know. Some biofuels are definitely problematic. For example, razing rainforests to grow sugarcane to create Brazilian ethanol is effed up.

There are, however, some carefully and more sustainably produced biofuels will result in a lower environmental impact. This creates a bit of a buyer-beware situation, and it will take everyone’s own research to create demand for the right biofuels.

Some of my friends roll their eyes at my truck habit, and judge it pretty harshly. That is, until they need to borrow it to pick up their new dresser.

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