A conservative car nut converts to natural gas

Click the photo to run the video – a commercial likely at the start

Why does someone with Progressive politics feature a video on his site starring one of the founders of the Tea Party movement? Because regardless of politics – and Rick Santelli is about 130 years behind the times – it’s hard to argue about mechanical and thermal facts. They’re reasonably immutable.

We can argue about the rate at which prices, costs, will change as something like this becomes a mainstream option. My usual comparison is with the first gen IBM PC for $3000 coming down to white box equivalent for a couple hundred bucks nowadays. This process is simple enough that Ford could do this on the production line for all their cars and the retail would be less than a hybrid conversion. Much less.

By the time you get to the end of the video you learn this cost about $8k and a home filling station would be about $5K. All today’s prices. That can be reduced 50-95% with the economies of scale. The finished truck runs at the equivalent of 80 mpg and a cost of 66¢ a gallon. That makes this worthwhile even at today’s prices.

I won’t wander off into the questions of which bridge to alternative energy gets us where and how soon. I’ll leave that – for now – to the folks who are members of the ecology “religion”. I’ve been an environmental activist for 45 years and haven’t seen the ivory tower crowd achieve a whole boatload more than folks who start out by trying to save people money in a reasonable timeframe – along with getting us to cleaner air and water.

The video is less than 12 minutes. I hope you have an adult attention span.

One thought on “A conservative car nut converts to natural gas

  1. moss says:

    I can recall having conversations with you, Eid, when you were doing design and sales for one of the home-building subcontractors off Airport Road – and the firm next door was trying to develop multi-fuel engines and early hybrid designs. Folks just don’t have a realistic idea of what costs are at the prototype level, pilot level, early days of production – versus the economies of scale that begin to kick in when mass production is capable.

    His first couple of prototype hybrids were built on motorcycles because he couldn’t afford to convert cars at first. I recall the first Toyota Corolla hybrid would have had to hit the street for $50K to break even. Of course.

    Today, a car like the Prius C starts at $19K – and that turns a profit for Toyota.

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