I am in the unfortunate situation of having to commute to work. Ideally, I would walk, bike, run or skateboard to Nau, but my current mortgage in a different zip code from work does not allow the luxury. Given my combustion-engine dependent situation, I wanted to re-evaluate as my old Volkswagen GTi moved its way into retirement. I needed a new (“new-to-meâ€?) car and I was hoping to minimize my impact, both environmentally and financially.
After hours on Yahoo Green Autos, fueleconomy.gov, greasecar.com and a host of other sites, I found a unique combination of features in the VW Golf TDI. (At the risk of sounding like Ron Popeil in a late night Ronco infomercial…) It gets 44 mpg, can run on biodiesel and is extremely fun to drive. Plus, once the warranty rolls off, you can convert it to run on fryer grease.
After even more hours of searching Craigslist and calling dealers, I managed to find one and only one used VW Golf TDI in a town three hours away. I bought the car from the owner’s parents because he had moved to NYC. They put him on the phone as they handed over the keys and he was nearly in tears to see the thing go. I promised to be a good new owner.
While driving is not the best route to work, I feel somewhat better knowing that my individual impact has been slightly mitigated. I’m not convinced biodiesel is the ultimate solution going forward, but it was something I could do now, while technology continues to progress.