The Instapundit cited a Popular Mechanics article about alternative fuels, and here is the breakdown in monetary and energy costs for a car to drive coast to coast on these fuels.
Note that the energy content of each of these fuels varies as well, contributing to total costs:
- Gasoline: 91 gallons required, 4.5 barrels of crude oil required, $270 in fuel
- 85% Ethanol + 15% Gasoline: 176 gallons, one-half barrel of oil + 53 bushels of corn, $425
- 85% Methanol + 15 Gasoline: 214 gallons, one-half barrel of oil + 18Kcf of natural gas, $619
- B100 Biodiesel: 68 gallons, 80 gallons of vegetable oil, $231 (B5 is routinely used)
- Compressed Natural Gas: 88 effective gasoline gallons, 11Kcf of natural gas, $110
- Electricity: 16 effective gasoline gallons, 1 ton of coal, $60
- Hydrogen: 73 effective gasoline gallons, 16Kcf of Hydrogen, $800
Using this data alone, it appears ethanol is not the wonder fuel that some are hyping, while biodiesel and electricity look promising. Licensing more nuclear power plants may help offset the growing costs of electricity generation from coal. We at Deadrifts have lived downwind from a food processing plant with fumes of burning vegetable oil, and the smell makes one yearn for a whiff from the exhaust of a '67 GTO.