What about biodiesel cars?

How has biodiesel fuel hovered under the public radar for so long? Yeah, yeah. Dumb question. Nevertheless, I've only started researching it this week, which is admittedly very sad. But with all the debate over high gas prices and record oil prices, it's staggering that biodiesel isn't garnering more attention.

Biodiesel is the name of a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications. Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.

Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel to have fully completed the health effects testing requirements of the Clean Air Act. The use of biodiesel in a conventional diesel engine results in substantial reduction of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter compared to emissions from diesel fuel. In addition, the exhaust emissions of sulfur oxides and sulfates (major components of acid rain) from biodiesel are essentially eliminated compared to diesel.

A 1998 biodiesel lifecycle study, jointly sponsored by the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Agriculture, concluded biodiesel reduces net CO² emissions by 78 percent compared to petroleum diesel. This is due to biodiesel’s closed carbon cycle. The CO² released into the atmosphere when biodiesel is burned is recycled by growing plants, which are later processed into fuel.

More information here. Interesting veggie-fuel vs. the Prius Q&A here. Wikipedia overview and links here.

How quickly do you think the Exxons and Texacos will add biodiesel to their pumps? Sorry. No more stupid questions tonight.