Say no to gloom. Say no to doom. Say no to 55 mph.

disneyland trainI love all things mechanical and any little bit of enginuity that saves fuel, money and pollution has always been of interest, so stories like this from the Orange County Register have naturally intrigue me.

On Wednesday, the five Disneyland Railroad trains that circle a one-mile perimeter of the park began running on cleaner burning biodiesel made with oil that comes from the resort’s restaurants and hotels.

“The improvement here is that it’s no longer using food for fuel. There are no soybeans grown in the Midwest to fuel our trains, just cooking oil that we’re already generating,” said Frank Dela Vara, Disney’s director of environmental affairs.

Barrels of discarded oil – which resembles maple syrup – are shipped to the Coachella Valley, mixed with a small portion of diesel fuel, then shipped back to Disneyland.

And as a guy who once converted his diesel Rabbit to run on up to a 50/50 veggie/diesel mix I find a biodiesel story even that much more intriguing.   My conversion was just to see if I could do it and the car smelling a bit like french fries was a bonus.  I’m sure Disney had a little more financial and environmental thought behind their investment, but if Disney Land smells a bit like french fries; well that would be fun.

And it’s also fun to see how many ways people have risen to challenges in the transportation industry.  The scope of inventions an patents is staggering.  And cars like the Tesla that I mentioned in Peak oil doom & gloom, make me very hopeful for the very near future.  But alas, not everyone sees this glass as half full; just yesterday I was reading a rather depressing letter to the editor at the Herald.

Why are we still driving at 70 mph? We are too dependant on foreign fuel, all of us are hurting for jobs or money enough to pay bills. Years ago when we had a fuel crisis and lowered the speed limit to 55 mph we lowered consumption, reduced fatal accidents and saved a lot of money.  ….

Is there a reason we must have 70 mph?

I say, do we really need to go back to the depressingly slow era of 55 mph travel?  A 70 mph car of today is vastly more safe and efficient than any 55 mph era tank.  And really?  How much of our daily driving is actually done above 55 or 60 mph?  Not much I would guess.  And certainly not enough to take away this little bit of speed and joy.  And if you follow this depressing logic then why stop at 55mph?  Why not 45, or 35, or 25, or a horse, or walking, or just staying at home and whimpering in a corner?

Honda, Ford, Toyota, and GM to name a few, are already selling hybrid vehicles with better performance and economy than their gas only counterparts.  Performance and mainstream electrics are also close at hand.

Let’s get behind ways of encouraging even more innovative vehicles, rather than encouraging the mass depression that will begin to sweep our nation as business and recreational travel slows to 55 mph.  Say no to 55!

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