Ingenuity at the Gas Pump

As gas prices rise, consumers opt for their own solutions.

ByABC News via GMA logo
April 29, 2008, 7:49 AM

— -- Gas prices hit another new high today at $3.60 per gallon -- up 49 cents from the beginning of the year.

The reality of higher costs has driven some Americans to come up with their own solutions. When Brian Krohn started thinking outside the fuel crisis box, he discovered a new way to produce biodiesel.

"Our process can utilize any feedstock," said Krohn, an Ausburg College senior. "What this does is it makes biodiesel cheaper and you're not using a food source -- like corn or soybean source -- to make a fuel."

Krohn will present his findings to members of Congress Wednesday.

A new survey reported that Americans said paying for gas is their biggest economic concern and 44 percent call it a serious problem.

Along with the price of gas rising, an interest in alternative vehicles is also gaining speed. Some motorcycles can get up to 55 miles to the gallon.

"We are absolutely seeing an increase in sales," said George Dennis, vice president of Harley Davidson, New York. "I think it has a lot to do with the price of energy today."

Outside a Silicon Valley diner there were more examples of other alternative vehicles: a hybrid, a Ferrari and a $150,000 prototype of the world's fastest electric car. It's an example of a society where dreams and technology are fueled by money.

Ian Wright is the entrepreneur whose dream it was to take electric car technology to the next level.

"Public perception, the investors' perception, is that electric cars are golf carts, that they're ugly little things that nobody really wants," said Wright.

"We can build something that beats all of the Ferraris, all of the Porsches. And that gets people's attention."

Even though he's created an electric car that can bypass gas stations and do 170 mph, he knows the economics aren't there yet for mass production.

Wright says his $150,000 electric car prototype technology won't be viable for passenger cars for 20 years.