The height of the W123 Bio-Diesel boom here was a few years back; it’s subsided since then, undoubtedly for the very reasons that Perry has laid out in his CC today: these cars weren’t quite the paragon of worry-free million-milers as they were hyped up to be. But at its peak, there were at least two pl;aces in town specializing in them, bringing tired old freeway commute veterans up from California and other parts of Oregon to be re-purposed for a higher calling: guilt-free motoring.
West Side Motors in the Whiteaker District was the most active one, with a lot full of old Benzes awaiting either a new dino-free lease on life, or perhaps to donate their vital parts so that others could carry on.
Doesn’t time fly? Seems like it was just yesterday we were reading about BioWillie (Willie Nelson’s ambitious bio-diesel venture that has largely imploded), and all the veggie-oil burners? Well, bo-diesel is still around, but it turned out not to be quite the panacea its boosters tried to sell us on. Recycling used oil into bio-diesel is of course a great way to use up that stuff, but at the same time, we’re being encouraged to eat less fried food, so it’s not exactly a growing commodity.
Of course, bio-diesel can be made from almost any virgin plant oil too, but optimism about that came to a bit of a crash during the drastic run-up of food commodities a few years back, and the awareness that growing plants to feed our cars, either ethanol or bio-diesel, would inevitably be at the expense of feeding our selves, to one degree or another.
There’s a regional biodiesel plant and distributor (Sequential Fuels), which gets most of its feedstock from potato chip plants and such. But the expiration of the $1 per gallon biodiesel tax credit at the end of 2013 is undoubtedly going to hurt.
Meanwhile, there’s still a number of W123s clattering away with BioDiesel stickers, but in greatly diminished numbers. Folks have moved on…to Subaru XV Crosstreks. Driving an automotive hairshirt isn’t for everyone.