No no, it’s okay, we’re still a car blog. Bear with us.
Once again, the incomparable Jo Schmo has tipped us towards an article over on Wired that particularly touches our car-guy hearts.
Although much of the “foreign oil” they complain about comes from a few miles away from my current location, it’s a good point. It’s a common misconception that “car guys” are interested in only one thing: performance. The assumption is that we pursue any option that will result in a faster car in a “damn-the-torpedos, full-speed-ahead” mentality. Environment? Who cares? Global warming? Fine, that just means more time for me to keep my summer car out of winter storage.
We, as the self-appointed spokesmen for the car guys out there, know differently. It’s not necessarily that we don’t care, it’s that we have a lower tolerance for compromise. For instance, we, as car guys, dislike the lackluster performance and absence of driving enjoyment that come as part and parcel of the deal when you slip behind the wheel of most of today’s economy cars. We simply desire a way to still enjoy our car while we are kinder to the environment. This may be why many car guys seize upon the idea of clean diesel technology over a hybrid.
These two passionate car guys take it one step further. Starting with a ’66 GTO with a 455 (punched up to 469cid), they already have a potent performer. Then, to be kinder on the environment, they spend thousands of dollars switching the car from regular old gasoline to compressed natural gas — CNG.
CNG has a number of benefits. It results in fewer carbon monoxide emissions from the tailpipe, and also burns more completely than gasoline, resulting in a more efficient use of fuel. The trade-off, as these two men discovered, is lower performance, as CNG does not have the same energy capacity as gasoline or diesel. With an estimated 20% reduction in power, it’s not going to be an ideal conversion for everyone. It is, however, domestically available in the US, with further huge reserves available here in Canada where much of your current dino-juice is coming from. But don’t just take my word for it. Go read the article.
As they say in the Wired article: it may not be the answer, but it is an answer, and we salute them for it.