Hybrid Car – More Fun with Less Gas

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Posted by z on June 20, 2011, 6:39 pm

I had thoughts about that.  However, the nearest propane is a 40 mile
round trip, while I can get gasoline/diesel within 16 miles. I Do use
propane for my range and refridgerator so I do have to make propane runs
once in a while.  But dealing with yet another bunch of propane bottles
.. hmmm.. pain :)

Good idea, however, the circumstances of where I live preclude this.  I
have road access to my house only during the summer and no delivery truck
could make it accross the creek (4wd needed).  I'm in the serious back
woods dude .. it's like pioneer times (but with dishnetwork TV and a

Good idea, however, logging is not practical.  I have very good tax
status by being in 'reforestation' so the day I cut a single stick of
wood for commercial purposes I'm due taxes for every tree on my land.

The wood I have access to (besides the various wind falls on my place) is
from slash piles and mill ends from my logger and mill buddies -- so it's
already on the ground and ready to be chipped or cut.  Those guys are
glad to get rid of the slash for nothing and the logging is close by.  I
know several guys with wood mizer saws that do custom lumber cutting and
help them out from time to time.  So I have all the mill ends etc

I use eu2000 generators now.  There is a lp gas adaptor for those, not
sure how well they operate.  I'll look into that more.  It's true, even
at 40 miles away propane is about 3 bucks a gallon compared to 4 bucks
for gas.

Yeah my power needs are not that much.  I just had to bitch and moan
about it because i'm SOO close to producing enough power never to need
the generator at all.  It's just this time of year that sucks ass.. in
winter I'm good (gobs of water for hydroelectric) and in summer i'm good
(solar panels kick in) -- it's the transition time in spring and fall
where the rains slack off and stuff starts drying out, but we have these
endless overcast days that FUBAR the solar production.

That also tends to be the time when gas prices are so high.  

yeah .. if I Could get it delivered it'd be the way to go for sure.  I
have my eye on a 90 foot rail car that I could use to make a new bridge
that would be large enough for truck traffic. spendy though

thanks for the advice

Posted by vaughn on June 20, 2011, 8:51 pm

Cost comparisons of fuels do make more sense when you convert everything to

That said, for home use propane has many advantages.  First, its shelf life is
(as far as I can tell) forever.  It burns clean, it runs in a variety of
cheap/available home appliances, if stored in bulk tanks it's not terribly
convenient to steal, and it's easier than gasoline or diesel to buy ex-road tax.


Posted by Neon John on June 20, 2011, 9:09 pm

Well, you're already lugging a liquid fuel (gasoline) around.  The
difference in drive distance would be the only real difference, it
seems to me.

It's about a 30 mile one-way drive out of this remote settlement to
get gasoline or propane.  The power can be off for weeks up here so I
have to be prepared.  I have about 60 gallons of gasoline stored in
the basement in 7 gallon outboard motor fuel cans.  I'm sooooo happy
that I'll not be doing the "gas tank shuffle" anymore!

BTW, I was googling around last night using "LP fueled generator" and
on the first or second page of results, found an LP-only (read:
optimized for LP use) generator that's only 3.5kW.  Looked like a
sweet little generator.

Pretty much the same here.  I'm fortunate that I have a gravel road to
my cabin but people further up in altitude have basically a barely
improved deer trail.  But the propane truck manages to get to their
cabins.  The truck that filled my tank was 4WD.  It might be worth a
call to the area dealers to see if any have 4WD tanker trucks.

What a shame.  I have a similar situation here.  Several acres of
mature hardwood.  When we log it we'll go from "green space" to "ag"
on the property tax rolls.  The difference is small enough to make the
logging worthwhile.  Plus when it's replanted it becomes a tree farm
with very favorable IRS treatment.


It won't be as efficient as a purpose-built propane generator because
the compression and spark timing will be the same.

Propane is a very high octane fuel.  It can make use of high
compression and more spark lead.

Many moons ago I owned a compressed gas distributorship and we did
propane vehicle conversions.  Just slapping a propane carb on in place
of the gas carb would result in lower MPG and about a 20% loss in
power but less cost per mile because propane was so cheap back then.

Doing it right - high compression heads, some port work, a high
performance intake manifold and a distributor rework would bring the
MPG up to better than the gas MPG, would not lose any power and would
be extremely cheap to operate.

I like your way of thinking :-)

You're welcome.


Posted by Gordon on June 22, 2011, 4:41 am

I'm getting into this kinda late.  But, solar, wind and hydro are your
easy options.

After that you start looking for ways to use the wood: Wood gas digester
to provide fuel for the generator; burn the wood for a steam or stirling
engine.  Maybe a Minto Wonder Wheel or a low presure steam engine.

There is this old style steam engine that is a large water jacketed
cylinder. steam is introduced and pushes the piston up.  When the
piston reaches top, the steam is cut off.  The steam in the cylinder
is condensed by the water jacket which causes the piston to move down.
and the cycle repetes.  IT could be home built, and the low presures
involved would be a lot safer to deal with.

Just an idea.

Here is another:
If I was burning gas in a generator, I would be feeding the exhaust
into the flue of a gas hot water heater and generating domestic hot
water. Double use for the expensive fuel.

Posted by Jim Wilkins on June 22, 2011, 12:00 pm
That's a Newcomen or atmospheric engine. The efficiency is very low
unless you can heat your house with it, and they are quite large for
the power produced.
Since the boiler isn't pressurized they are safer than Savery's
earlier steam pump. This type of steam engine lasted 100 years until
metalworking techniques improved enough to permit higher operating


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