Buying an Eco-Friendly Car

ByABC News
March 13, 2006, 11:02 AM

March 13, 2006 -- -- With all the hype about hybrids, biodiesel and reduced emissions, many of us have tried to do the right thing: Buy a car that won't increase our dependence on foreign oil and spew ozone-depleting CO2 into the air. Here is a summary of what I've discovered: The choices are getting better, but it's still a limited market.

The recent craze over hybrid automobiles shows that we are at the nexus of environmentalism and market forces. Having a car that gets 50 miles to the gallon is good for the pocketbook and good for the guilty conscience. Hybrids work by capturing energy that is created when the car brakes. That energy is stored in batteries and used, whenever possible, instead of fuel.



There is a lot of confusion about biodiesel, so here's the skinny: Biodiesel is a blend of traditional diesel (aka dino-diesel) and vegetable oil. The most important thing you need to know about biodiesel is that every existing diesel engine is capable of using biodiesel. You can switch back and forth between biodiesel and regular diesel if you have to. The only differencel when using biodiesel is you may have to switch your oil filter more often. Some people modify their diesel engines to run a fuel called straight vegetable oil. These are the folks who back up to a McDonald's and take all its fry grease. SVO and biodiesel are different animals in the same family. Biodiesel is a lot less hassle than running an SVO vehicle.