Alternative fuels worth research

A few years ago, the things we have today were unthinkable: Hybrid cars? What kind of crazy hippie are you?But now, with hybrid cars hitting the luxury market and becoming mainstream, cleaner energy is entering the realm of possibility. And with it, a whole new spectrum of alternative fuels and clean energy is becoming available to us.

The temptation would be to blow them off. After all, only liberals worry about the environment.

But before you do this, take a closer look: Our Republican president is supporting this measure. Big business is hopping on board.

Alternative fuels and biodiesels deserve a second glance.

The Associated Press reports that a Motiva Enterprises LLC, Shell Oil Co. and Saudi Refining Inc. partnership began providing an alternative fuel and motor fuel blend in Dallas Monday. It is 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent regular diesel. The fuel can be burned in regular diesel engines, making it ideal for truckers.

Biodiesel sales in the United States have risen from 500,000 gallons in 1999 to about 75 million gallons in 2005. This is compared to 140 billion gallons of gasoline and 4 billion gallons of ethanol sold in the United States yearly.

Biodiesels are not going away; in fact, they are becoming more and more popular.

Nebraska, for one, has made alternative fuel a state initiative. Since 2005, all Nebraskan state vehicles are required to use alternative fuels, according to ruralinitiative.nebraska.edu. This ranges from B2, a 2 percent soy biodiesel that can be used in diesel vehicles, to E-85, which uses 85 percent ethanol for specially equipped vehicles.

The wise thing to do is not dismiss the concept of alternative fuels or even to embrace it, but to research it.

Whether biodiesel is an option in your area or for your car, it is a growing industry that’s worth watching. So keep your eyes, and your mind, open.

Opinion editor Stephanie Weaver for the editorial board.