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What to do about high gas prices?

As we've all noticed, gas prices have been rising. Though my gas prices aren't high (I carpool), I'm a certifiable cheapskate, so I went about exploring alternatives. The easiest thing to me, it seemed, would be to convert my vehicle to CNG (compressed natural gas), available at the Flying J a mile away from me for 68 cents per gallon equivalent.

After doing some research and wandering around in labyrinthine regulations, I came to the conclusion that it would be unfeasible. Though there are easy-to-install aftermarket CNG kits out there, state and federal regulations crimp any hope of large-scale alternative fuel adoption. For cars that are OBD-II (1996 and newer), you're required to have the conversion done at a certified shop using a CARB (California Air Board) and EPA-certified kit. Because of the way the regulations work, the kits are only allowed to placed on certain engine families within certain model years. This, of course, is incredibly limiting. Utah offers a tax credit (up to $3,000), but unless you can acquire a vehicle with a CARB-certified-kit-compatible engine, you're essentially out of luck. To my way of thinking, if my vehicle can pass the standard Utah safety and emissions test, then I should be able to put whatever I'd like in there for fuel.

In other news, Maxine Waters proposed socializing the oil companies. Link here:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=PUaY3LhJ-IQ
Frankly, it's one of the dumber things I've heard the lady say.

So, what are the rest of you doing about increased gas prices?

stop buying it

What to do about high gas prices?

Sounds obvious, but drive less. Supply and demand will (eventually) work out here.

Of course, I wouldn't mind gas prices doubling over the next year if that meant that someone developed (and actually sold) a super efficient car.

Supply and demand?

Supply and demand does not apply here.

Demand is constant.

Truckers will continue to traverse the country. General contractors (like me) will continue to drive from site to site.

There is no incentive to decrease gasoline prices, even with decreased consumption. The profit margin is for retailers is so incredibly thin that a decreased cost would have to come from so far upstream the the likelihood of a net reductions in the cost of gasoline even less likely than my current odds of finding an eternal companion.

This is a Provo-based forum, so I had to fit that one in there.

For the real reason behind the cost of gasoline, read this:

http://consumerist.com/consumer/features/why-is-gas-so-freakin-expensive-263887.php

It's long, but the most insightful information of anything I've ever seen about the cost of fuel.

Run a car on fat

I think it is a good idea to get a car that would be powered on compressed natural gas. It is too bad that it has to be so difficult to do so. If Utah gives a rebate it sounds like someone could make a profitable business by bringing the certification CARB to Utah.

I have heard of some other ideas for powering cars. Like for example running a car on grease from restaurants. I don't know much about this but heard that it can be done.

However, I think that the best solution is to get electric cars. Then they could be powered by nuclear, wind or solar energy. Hopefully the next car I get will be a hybrid.

I honestly am thinking of

I honestly am thinking of investing in a horse cause gas prices are outrages!

I used to drive a ford F 350 and that thing sucked my wallet dry so now I don't drive anywhere i just ride my bike.

Better yet though just buy a scooter thats what i traded my truck in for. I think that was really smart of me and I'd recommend it anyone.

It's cheaper to buy a CNG

It's cheaper to buy a CNG car than it is to convert one. We just bought a CNG '94 Dodge Caravan in Provo for $7400 (with 45000 miles) and we love it.

What would the same van have

What would the same van have cost with a standard gasoline engine?

What does a tank of gas cost you?

How far can you go on that tank?

What differs in terms of maintenance? Performance?

My uncle has a CNG engine truck and loves it, but said something about how there were only two or three places in the SLC area to fill up.

CNG

there are only a few gas stations around that you can fill up. I know of One in provo (there could be more). I did some work for a company in Salt Lake that did the conversion. They told me for someone with a good size truck (F150 or bigger) then the cost would pay for itself after a year.

I also have a good friend that owns an F250 running on that stuff. He loves it. It gets the same gas milage, but with much cheaper gas. It's a bit less power, but not much to notice.

It's problomatic with smaller vehicles. You need more room for the extra equipment, like the compressed fuel tank and extra gizmo's.

It's a good idea, but also requires more gas stations to jump on the idea making it a nationwide service.

CNG low down

Here's the scoop on CNG.

You generally can purchase a CNG car for less than what it would cost to convert. However, this trend is quickly reversing because of Utah's hunger for CNG cars.

You can check out locations of CNG stations and prices all across the nation at www.cngprices.com

Another website where you can find useful information is CNGchat.com

Converting your car to CNG in Salt Lake is a RIP OFF. The companies there charge more than $10,000!!! There are other start up companies in Utah that charge much less. There is a guy in St. George that does quality work and I believe he charges $6,000. Another guy at Alt Fuels in Mesa, AZ charges about the same, but his work is sloppy.

Not all CNG conversions are created equal, so do your homework before having someone convert. Alternatively you can purchase your own EPA certifiec CNG kit from IMPCO or Technocarb. DO NOT use mycngkit.com because they aren't EPA certified and are being shut down.

You get the same gas mileage with CNG as regular gas. There is, however, an 8% or so loss in power. You also have to fill up more often and the tanks are also large and sacrifice yous storage space.

Factory conversions are always the best. I have a bi-fuel factory converted 2000 Cavalier. I also have a 2002 Cavalier for sale (check it out on Craigslist).

You can also purchase a home fueling appliance and pump CNG for the same price as at the station. It is a slow fill overnight and you have to send it in for re-calibration and a service check every so often for a hefty $1000. They are called FuelMaker Phill stations.

If you live in Arizona like me, you can register a CNG vehicle for like $20 for TWO YEARS and you get HOV (carpool lane) access!

So, there's the skinny.

Some ideas for saving at the pump

I really like the idea of folks using alternatives to gas, but for most the upfront costs are still prohibitive. As gas prices continue to rise look for alternatives to get more attractive and these conversion costs to come down. In the meantime I am taking advantage of the good weather and riding my bike more. If I ride three times a week it makes that tank of gas last twice as long. When the weather sucks I take the bus.

My in-laws have hipped me to a gas additive that claims to give you better gas mileage. I don't know the name (I have a NyQuil Bottle full of the stuff) but it is sold by one of Utah's many MML scam businesses. I was a skeptic, but it seems to work. I probably get 3-5 more miles to the gallon. With gas at almost 4 bucks every little bit helps.

tune ups...

check your tire pressure once a month, make sure the pressure is what the tires say they should be filled to, and get your car "tuned" if you don't know how (new plugs and wires every other year or so, clean the throttle body and injectors). And drive like a grandma...
The "cooking oil" trick can only be done to diesel cars / trucks... It's about $1000 per kit and it works. It's technically illegal because you're not paying the gas taxes that keep the roads up... but what our government is doing / NOT doing should also be concidered illegal.
And as far as the car companies making more fuel efficiant cars, in the "hot rod" world there are guys running around with 502ci big block's with twin 850cfm carbs getting 23mpg on the highway... think about that, an engine that is using technology from the 50's and is 5 times bigger with twice the cylinders than your average honda motor making only 8 less mpg on the highway and TONS more power... If Joe Shmoe can tune his race car to run like that in his garage, you think the big car companies could do better...

It's technically illegal

It's technically illegal because you're not paying the gas taxes that keep the roads up...

Sorry, I don't buy that. I've never heard of any law that says you must have a car that runs on gasoline. Though, I'm sure if non-gasoline cars became mainstream, a new tax would be introduced to cover "losses."

Death and Taxes

New taxes...like the 20% increase in my cell phone bill.

Alternative fuel vehicles

Alternative fuel vehicles running on cng or lpg are required to pay a $80.00 yearly alternative vehicle tax, due at registration. This covers what they do not pay at the pump. By using bio-fuels you may be un-intentionally evading the taxes the rest of us pay. I believe in these taxes, primarilly because most of the vehicles running on bio-fuels are diesel trucks that cause much more wear on the roads we are driving on than gasoline vehicles, since the average diesel truck is over 8,800 lbs. and the average gaoline burner is under 4,500 lbs.
As for the tire pressures do NOT inflate the tires of your vehicle to what it says on the sidewall, the tires are manufactured for a wide range of vehicles from 3,500 lbs. to 8,800 lbs. and the pressure listed on the tire is the max for that tire. For the recomended pressure of your vehicle check your owners manual or look for a tag on the door jam, usually on the drivers door, but may be found on other door jams.
If you think gas is expensive try saving 1 mile per gallon by over-inflating your tires. They will wear pre-maturely in the center up to 50%+. Let us know how you feel about your next $500.00 set of tires that you buy 10,000 miles earlier than you would have needed to if you had followed the recomendations of your auto manufactures engineers.

Now for a REAL lesson in Supply and Demand

Thanks Jeff for providing the vital information about fuel economy. $ .01 gas is useless if you only get 1/10th of a mile per gallon. Looks like CNG is a viable option, for now. Unfortunately, the current cost of CNG is low because of it's (relatively) low demand.

I'm from the Midwest, where Ethanol was supposed to save the world...until the federal government mandated ethanol use in all of its vehicles. Demand shot up, supply couldn't keep up, and the glory of E85 died.

At current prices, E85 is about 20% cheaper than traditional gasoline, but using ethanol reduces efficiency from anywhere between 5-25%. The low cost of ethanol, even in the Midwest, doesn't make a difference.

Here's a (thread-hijack) question:

What would happen to the open market cost per barrel of oil if the United States decided to more fully utilize the oil fields in Alaska, the Gulf Coast, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota....?

CNG Conversions

I have found a new website ( CNGOutfitters.com ) that has conversion kits for almost any car. I just spoke with one of the owners, and they are working with the EPA to get their kits certified, so you can install it w/o having to worry about the legalities. The kit goes for under $1500 or so, so you can make that up in no time, especially if you are driving a 'bus'. People aren't paying much attention to this right now, but they WILL once gas starts hitting $5 a gallon. It's really going to pinch. I'd get one right now, before everyone else gets one, and you're waiting in line to get it installed. Imagine filling up for like $10. I'm all over it.

5 Buck Pizza or 400 Miles?

I have a friend who has a car that can run on both natural gas and gasoline. According to her, it gets around 400 miles to a full tank of natural gas. To fill the tank completely she said that it costs around 5 dollars.

She can also fill the gasoline tank and further the range of her car. Natural gas is a very cheap alternative. But will it stay this way?

What being ripped off is !

OK so in Provo you pay about $4.00 a Gallon for Gas, right ? Well there are about 3.7 Litres to 1 Gallon and over here we pay by the litre… We pay £1.10 for a Litre which is roughly $2.20... So basically we pay about £3.50 at the least for a Gallon of Gas, which is like $7.00 a Gallon… Now talk to me about who is getting ripped off !

U.S 1 Gallon = $4.00 / £2.00

U.K 1 Gallon = £3.50 / $7.00

Economies of scale & taxes

I don't follow England's politics too much, but I do seem to recollect that the Labour party got slammed in the last election for their continued placement of green taxes--including those on fuel-- that simply turned into revenue streams and did not help the environment any. England's fuel is taxed more heavily than the US's.

We also have the advantages of having a good deal of refining capacity and oil here. The USA is also a massively huge country; Utah is only 10% smaller than the entirety of the United Kingdom; Wyoming is significantly larger than the UK. Unlike England, we do not have a well-developed rail system; it is thus imperative that fuel costs are maintained to keep our transportation instrastructure intact.

I do agree, tho, that Americans should not be complaining about high gas prices. There's lots that can be done to reduce the mileage you place on your vehicles.

Participate in the official Do Not Buy Gas dates

This website holds the official date to strike on buying gas and also has a petition to lobby Senate.
http://www.donotbuygas.com

Fuel Modifications

Putting a CNG kit on a car would be a great idea compared to buying a new one that is hybrid or electric! Many have tried a lot of variations on making their cars run on alternative fuel, some tried hydrogen, and even air to propel it's engine. However the resources and technology is not as viable as CNG. There are many parts to consider in making the system work on the car including its Air Filter, a lot of modifications on engine components need to be understand for the rightful parts that gets to be bolted together with the fuel system and the tuning as well.