Seattle cabs are naturally gassed

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Sandra Porter

i-e0418a159f7a765580874d5012faa289-sound.jpgAs they say, there's nothing like travel to learn new and unexpected things.

Especially from cab drivers.

One of my ScienceBlog Sibs, Shelly, spends time talking with cabbies about earwax, but I seem to invite other kinds of lectures.

Often times, my driver are Sikhs. So perhaps you can guess the topics.

Can I have Indian religious holidays, for twenty, Alex?

And other times I learn about the challenges of adapting to life in the U.S.

But not yesterday.

After a short plane hop over the mountains, I got to listen to a cab time lecture on clean energy. We were having a nice chat about gas prices and my driver told me that gas prices don't matter in his profession.

What!!

He said that all of the airport cabs in Seattle are powered by natural gas.

You mean "biodiesel"? (I always try to be helpful).

"No. All the Seattle taxis use natural gas. We're required to do this by the Port of Seattle."

But I've never heard of cars running on natural gas. I thought the only options were electricity, hybrids, and biofuels.

"Oh, no", he said "Natural gas is clean and cheaper than gasoline. But it does cost about $4000 to convert a cab to use it."

"Is there another downside?" I asked.

"There aren't many places to get it, so we can't go very far. If someone needs a ride from the airport and it's farther than Everett, we have to call another company."

I came home and checked out natural gas autos on-line. I don't know if fueling cars with natural gas is a more environmentally friendly option than hybrids or biodiesel fuels, but it's certainly interesting, and least as far as I know, it seems to have slipped under the radar.

Maybe we ScienceBloggers need to get out more often.