Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Is the Hummer dead (yet)? 'Bring on the grease car'

   I admit that I roll my eyes--hard!--when I spot a Hummer on the road, as I did last week. I wonder what the owners of those things think when they pull up behind me and gaze out at my ‘Love Mother Earth’ bumper sticker as they chug through a gallon of gas just driving across town and back.

   Or maybe they can’t even spot it, since they’re so high up. So upon hearing recently that the Hummer/China fell through, I feel hopeful to be finally closing the books on this particular chapter of conspicuous consumption and seeming narcissism, and moving toward more awareness of sustainability and eco-consciousness.

   With that in mind I am cultivating my ‘drive as little as possible’ mindset. You’ve heard it before—walk or bike when and where you can combine errands to cut down on mileage, and take steps to improve your cars efficiency.

   (I know that Noblesville isn’t a very walker or biker friendly area, but, hopefully, change via more walk and bike paths is coming though).

  What I would really like is a car run on waste vegetable oil (www.greasecar.com). I wonder if anyone around here has one? 

(edit--there is!  My friend Heather read this in the Current and emailed me that her cousin, Jack, has a converted Mercedes Benz, which he calls the veggie car.  Jack lives on the west side of Indy.  Yay, Jack!)

(another edit--there's another one!  I got this email from ChrisF. today "My co-worker reads your column in the newspaper and told me you wondered if anyone ever really got a veggie car to work. Your answer is yes. I've been doing it for over 5 years. I've built custom conversion kits for 3 vehicles. We currently have 2 VO vehicles: 1999 Mercedes E300 (150mpg city) & 2001 Ford Excursion (85mpg city). During this time I've burned over 7000 gallons of VO instead of diesel fuel. I've pulled travel trailers as far a Maine without stopping for fuel. It's a wonderful life."  Wow and Yay, Chris!  That's impressive!)
   Back to the Hummer.

   I’ve been vaguely aware of the former Fishers Hummer dealer Quonset hut-like showroom that was built within the last five years and has now been sitting empty for quite some time. What will become of it? My thought was that it would be awesome to repurpose it as a garden center with the Quonset hut part being a greenhouse…except for the fact that, being built like a Quonset hut, the south side is shaded. Darn!

   One thing is for sure, there are many like me that will be happy to see fewer Hummers out on these flat, paved Hamilton County roads.

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