Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

'Palm Oil Was Supposed to Help Save the Planet. Instead It Unleashed a Catastrophe.'

The road to hell…

1 Like

I remember when this started. Soybean farmers in Iowa were thrilled to have another outlet for their crops. Truck drivers were less thrilled because biodiesel solidifies earlier than regular diesel when it gets cold out.

As with corn-based ethanol, it’s a gift to farmers disguised as an environmental movement. I’m not OK with that on either side of the coin.

Way back in the day people were converting their cars to “grease cars,” which ran off of used oil from restaurants. They’d have to have two tanks - the grease tank, and the regular diesel tank. They had to start the car on diesel, then switch over to grease when it got warm enough. Then before they shut down they’d have to run it for a little bit on diesel again so the grease wouldn’t clog the fuel lines. Seemed like way too much of a pain in the butt to me.

I’m all for alternative fuels, which is why I wholeheartedly support the efforts of Tesla (though not the actions of its lunatic CEO). But the alternative fuels have to have the chance of working. Electric cars charged with solar or wind power can be environmentally friendly. The cars are ready - now the power grid has to do its part.

But corn-ethanol cars and biodiesel vehicles can never be environmentally friendly because as this article explains, bio-fuels have significant environmental costs themselves.

It’s time to abandon the pursuit of this magic farmer fantasy and start building a 21st century power infrastructure with the mindset of charging electric cars with clean (actually clean, not “clean coal” and its ilk) energy.


Well said shadowfax. People at the Borneo island seem don’t care, it’s just business.

I know a guy who did exactly that on a 190D several years ago. The conversion cost him a pretty penny

he had the 2 tank setup, it was kind of a process to start the engine, switch over, then switch again later on.

In spite of him doing everything correctly, the stuff really messed up his injectors, lines and hoses. Every single one, all the lines, all the hoses, all the injectors.

He has since moved on to a more conventional car. A plain jane Prius, and not even the plug-in variety


Yeah. Not that I’ve really been looking, but I haven’t seen any mention of grease cars in… Probably more than 10, 15 years now. I suspect most people figured out what your friend did and concluded they were… Suboptimal.

“When corn grows, it soaks up carbon, and when it is consumed (whether as food or fuel), it releases that carbon back into the air.”
in simple terms, we eat the corn. and the corn stalks are left on the ground. so, how is the carbon released back into the air? from decomposing corn stalks? and farting?
in this example, NONE of the corn is converted to ethanol.
30yrs ago. no corn was used to make ethanol. all corn was used for food. either for humans or animals. so if we take ethanol out of the equation, very little carbon is put back in the air?
corn is used to make corn syrup for sweetener. that releases carbon?

we ultimately use the food we eat (including corn and corn syrup sweetener) thru the citric acid cycle, which uses up O2 and produces CO2 that comes out with each breath we exhale
(farting is due to microbial activity in our guts, which also includes CO2; microbial activity breaking down corn stalks does the same thing)