Monday, April 28, 2008

Optimism Finally Pays Off

Being an American, living in Barcelona for 4 months, I was exposed to a whole new world, everything was smaller, everything was more expensive, everything was looked at differently, and most of all, natural resources were conserved a lot more. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the American way of life with a big house, a big bed, and great big hamburgers, but leaving the lights on, taking long showers, and driving to places I didn't really need to go (of course in my big white Ford pickup) really started to bother me.

So since I've been back from Spain I've been looking at ways to reduce my harmful impact on the environment. I started very small scale with using energy efficient appliances and avoiding unnecessary use of air conditioning. Every bit helps, but I feel that is information people already know. Instead I am incredibly proud to have found out something about saving energy that most people don't know.

Over Spring Break this year I wanted to figure out how I could make my truck use gas more efficiently (not to mention that here in the bay area gas is over $4/gallon). My dad also owns a limousine company, so any impact that I could have on my own truck would have even greater effects (both environmental and economic) through his business. After trying to use a variety of simple mixtures and driving methods, nothing had made a significant impact. My dad, in his usual fashion, quickly and cheerfully pointed out the flawed reasoning in my logic, "If it was that simple, everyone would do it and everyone would know about it. If you really want to find something, you're going to have to put some work into it and try something new."

Well, he was right, and not knowing anything about my truck's engine or gasoline components (or even having changed my own oil before), with a bit of determination, I installed a component that would allow my truck to partially use water to supplement the gas in my engine. It sounded a little unbelievable to me at first, but my dad was right, people just didn't know about this because not a lot of people would be willing to do it. Of course, after all was said and done, and my miles per gallon went from 15 to 27 (in a truck!), everyone was amazed and impressed. I'm no scientist and I didn't invent the method, but I have to say that I was very proud to have changed my truck so that it would burn less gas and help the environment.

Since then I've been able to decrease the fuel costs in my dad's company by making the limousine company's engines use gas more efficiently, and I have been able to help my college friends save money on gas too. Although, I can't say this is completely without my own bonus as I can charge my friends a fair bit of money to save them on gas (haha, something has to pay for my books), but I don't feel too badly because it saves them a lot of money too. And now... well, I wont be able to do it myself for everyone, but at least I can point people towards the right information (and a better explanation of the technology), and hopefully I can have a more global impact if more people begin to use this technology.

The web site I found was and it provides all the information and know-how necessary to improve the efficiency of a car's engine so that people can help fight against global warming, reduce America's dependence on oil, and well, save some money too. I hope people give this a shot and look at the information, there's really nothing to lose and everything to gain. With more and more people fighting together for a more sustainable way of life we can make a difference.