As an individual and an owner of a company involved in vehicle dependant travel (Adventure Trailers) I feel very torn by the fact Iím environmentally conscious while at the same time Iím contributing to the pollution caused by my vehicle.
I am part of the problem and I need to become part of the solution.
It shocks me to say that on the road my Grand Cherokee gets 18 mpg and 16 mpg when towing. Itís just a huge use of natural resources and a large contributor to pollution levels. Realizing that the technology for alternative fuel is a few years down the road I have laid out a three step plan for myself;
1) Conserve fuel
2) Look for a clean burning diesel vehicle
3) Keep an eye on emerging technology
Now when I drive I use the on board computer to help me drive more economically to get better gas mileage. Itís a great reminder to take my foot off the pedal when Iím only getting 6 mpg
Talking fuel consumption two years ago at SEMA I saw a Jeep Wrangler with a Turbo Charged IVECO four cylinder engine teamed up to a 6 speed gear box. It got 45 mpg on road and 28 mpg off road. People are also putting 4 cylinder Cummins diesels in Wranglers and getting 28 mpg http://www.dieselpowermag.com/featur...angler_diesel/ this combo even passed California smog! So here is a way to at least increase my mpg.
But diesel is smelly and causes pollution due to particulate matter!
With the advent of low sulfur fuel diesels are about to become cleaner burning engines. The low sulfur allows for the introduction of particulate matter filters and Urea injection systems.
A short extract from http://www.greencarcongress.com/2005...ishi_fuso.html says;
ďUsing ultra-high pressure fuel injection reduces the particulate matter level substantially, however, there is a concomitant large increase in NOx emissions, due to the higher temperature and more complete combustion attendant to the reduction of PM. The urea SCR catalyst then, in turn, reduces the NOx emissions to the target level.
Urea SCR systems basically consists of a storage tank for the urea solution, a urea injection system, and a catalyst. The system injects urea into the hot exhaust gas where the urea decomposes into ammonia (NH3). NOx reacts with NH3 on the surface of the catalyst to produce nitrogen (N2) and water vapor (H2O).
4NO + 4NH3 + O2 = 4N2 + 6H2O
Nitrous Oxides + Ammonia + oxygen = nitrogen + water"
Looking to the future there is a lot of good technology being developed right now check out http://www.tlcicon.com/ and click on "R&D whatís" next and you can read about a electric powered ICON Toyota Landcruiser.
Science Friday just did a wonderful program on green cars that you can download as an mp3 at http://www.sciencefriday.com/pages/2...r2_040607.html
I would encourage you all to become early users of this new technology, and to keep on top of new developments. My hope is that Vehicle Dependant Travel can grow in the future rather than become bogged down in fuel that costs $4.00 + per gallon, dependency on overseas oil, and increased pollution.
For me this is just the start of a long conversation that needs to be held by members of the community. Iíd be interested in hearing your point of view, and see where we can go from here.