Mean Green

Life was so much easier when I was a kid. I think most of you will be able to relate to this, as I am pretty sure life was easier when you were kids too. One area that life was easier was regarding the environment. Back then environmental concerns didn't go much further than making your bed in the morning and not littering.

Ignorance allowed me to dream of growing up and driving fast cars without feeling like I was a bad guy. Now we are aware of the pollution that is coming out of our cars exhaust and it serves to curb our enthusiasm for driving to some extent. Doesn't it?

I'm a hypocrite, but it wasn't always this way

When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I had a very simple answer: "A millionaire." That was the life for me. I mean, why be a fireman, when you can just drive a red sports car all day. My misconceptions about life are forgivable, I was 10 and I didn't quite grasp the fact that Magnum had a job, and it was totally beyond me to understand that it wasn't his car, or his mansion.

Regardless, in 1980 there was nothing wrong with wanting to own a flash red sports car. Now, car ownership is a little complicated and it's very hard to be a champion of environmental protection, and a car enthusiasts at the same time.

As much as I love cars I am starting to find it difficult to get excited about them because I know so much about them. As I become increasingly aware of the negative effects the car is having on our environment and health, and becoming increasingly more convinced that climate change is real, I find it harder and harder to be excited when I hear news about the latest Ferrari or Porsche.

But it's not just 5 km/l super cars that are worsening the environment, and the fact that I drive a car at all, knowing what I know makes me a hypocrite.

I'm not alone

I'm not the first person to feel guilty driving a car though. Guilt has been part of the reason the Toyota Prius is so successful. Incentives, high fuel prices and other factors are also involved, but some buy the Prius because it is considered to be "Green" and you can drive it safe in the knowledge that you are driving one of the most environmentally friendly cars on the market. I'll try and tackle the questionable virtues of hybrid technology later on.

At this point I'm just attempting to let you know how I feel, and ask that you recognize that even if you don't share my feelings, that you at least have some understanding of where I am coming from.

By way of comparison, I used to love Formula One racing, that was before one weekend at Imola which resulted in the deaths of two drivers, first Roland Ratzenberger, and then the legend Ayrton Senna. I have never since had the same passion for F1 as I had before that weekend.

Or to the fact that I used to enjoy a few drinks, but a revelation on a recent program on the Discovery channel that alcohol shrinks testicles, and eventually feminines males, served to likewise diminish my enjoyment of alcoholic beverages.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Car again (ala Dr. Strangelove)

In the last few years I have been researching oil, hybrid, hydrogen, diesel, and ethanol. And I would like to share my thoughts over the next few posts. I have already written a few brief articles on diesel and gasohol (see Featured Articles on the left). Although I do believe that diesel due to it's higher efficiency, and gasohol due to it's slightly lower environmental impact when compared to petrol, represents reasonable alternatives to petrol, I am not satisfied with either. I want my next car to produce no pollution, and to run on a source of energy which is secure and sustainable.

The good news is that the technology exists now. The better news is that cars based on the technology are not going to be boring.