Gas 2.0 Monthly Recap: March 2008

This has been a great month for Gas 2.0, and in no small way due to the incredible stories we’re hearing every day about new green-car tech, non-food based biofuels, and big scientific breakthroughs.

Besides getting back into the swing of things after some down-time in February, we were lucky to add Benjamin F.T. Jones to our writing team. Ben’s covered some of the most popular stories here this month, including the Subaru’s STI diesel, the all-electric Lightning GT, and a Japanese man’s attempt to sail across the Pacific in a wave-powered boat. See all of Ben’s posts here.

If you don’t want to miss the news next month, you can subscribe to Gas 2.0’s RSS feed here.

To recap, these are some of the top stories from March 2008:


The biggest story was one of the last of the month: the first algae-to-biofuels facility will go online on April 1, 2008. Researchers found that another second-generation biofuel, switchgrass, could potentially displace 30% of US petroleum usage with 94% GHG reduction. The first cellulosic ethanol facility went online, making fuel from wood waste. And don’t forget about new microtechnology that could allow biodiesel to power the hydrogen economy (biodiesel fuel-cells). Continental and Boeing also said they’d be conducting a biofuels test-flight in 2009.

Green Cars

Tesla Motors announced they will finally start production of the electric Tesla Roadster. Progressive Auto Insurance announced they would fund a $10 million purse for the 100 MPG Automotive X Prize (Google will also spend $10 million on plug-in electric hybrid research). Subaru unleashed the R1e electric car in New York. A 376.59 MPG car was found in a museum, and, finally, Volkswagen announced they will produce a 69.9 MPG VW diesel hybrid.

We also reviewed some older news about Aptera’s electric car and 300 MPG hybrid vehicle (available next year), the lower-emissions-than-a-Prius Toyota iQ, and the world’s most fuel efficient car (285 MPG).


Other notable studies (not listed under the biofuels section) included:

  • Researchers found that nanoparticles in diesel exhaust can affect the brain.
  • Another study found that biodiesel blends sold as B20 biodiesel (20% biodiesel, 80% diesel) varied from 10% to 74% in actual biodiesel content.
  • Scientific American writers have a plan to power 35-90% of US transportation off solar power.
  • Scientists at University of Minnesota found that most cars can actually run just fine on 20% ethanol (E20).

Do-It-Yourself and Practical Info

Gas 2.0 also added some good practical information, such as the Top 15 Unexpected Uses For Biodiesel, learning how to make biodiesel on YouTube, replacing your car’s engine instead of buying a new one, increasing your car’s efficiency for $11, and a few stories on people converting their Prius hybrids to get over 100 MPG.

Expect to see more exciting news here in April. Thanks for your questions and comments, and thanks for reading!


In a past life, Clayton was a professional blogger and editor of Gas 2.0, Important Media’s blog covering the future of sustainable transportation. He was also the Managing Editor for GO Media, the predecessor to Important Media.