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Apr 6, 2010 0:00 AM  CST

YPE Member to Travel from Austin to Boston on Natural Gas 

YPE board member and University of Texas graduate student, Castlen Kennedy, is exploring natural gas vehicles for her graduate thesis and is planning a road trip from Austin to Boston to put the fuel to the test! Below is an article she wrote on her upcoming trip.
 
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I suppose you could say I am a seasoned road tripper. While I don't own an AirStream and haven't been to all 50 states in a Winnebago, I have spent my fair share of time on the road. Growing up, my mom would put my 3 sisters and I into our Econoline van and drive us 10 hours from Houston, TX to Enterprise, MS to visit my grandmother at least once a year. We were lucky as the van not only had a TV and VCR but the third seat rolled out into a bed, a real winner. Along the way, we would make the necessary stops at the Louisiana alligator farms and fresh fruit stands and play the road trip games we all know and love

In college, I took a road trip with several girlfriends from Austin to Destin, FL with a memorable overnight stop in New Orleans along the way. The highlights of the actual time on the road were mostly stops at fast food places, particularly those that we didn’t have in Texas at the time, a la Krispy Kreme and Krystal. Who knew sliders would become so popular?

On the road trips of my youth, I spent my time thinking about what I might be missing back home as my mom dragged me away from my friends over summer break. And in college, my focus seemed to be on making sure I was alert enough to avoid the next state trooper speed trap and geographically astute enough to know just how far I was from the next slurpee pit stop. I rarely spent much time thinking about the "how" of the trip, tailpipe emissions or the significant amount of money we poured into the tank of that gas-guzzling, tv-room on wheels. And yet, in a time of tighter budgets, heightened environmental awareness and those pesky terrorists, the "how" of one of America's favorite pastimes (driving) should get more attention.

This is my look at the "how"...

In my previously mentioned trips, the how was gasoline. For numerous reasons, we aren't supposed to like gasoline, a fuel created from crude oil, but it remains the fuel of choice here in America. And rightfully so. It's relatively inexpensive, and it's easy to find given there is a gas station at nearly every major intersection.

There are alternatives to gasoline, however, and I plan to test one of them out in an upcoming road trip. It's not a sexy, new plant-based something-or-other or even the grease from the Krispy Kreme fryers I mentioned earlier. Rather, its a domestic fuel that burns cleaner than gasoline and costs less; natural gas. Not only is it cleaner and cheaper than gasoline, but it turns out we have a ton of it here in the U.S. Too good to be true? I plan to find out.

The road trip will actually be for a grade - the trip, my documentation of the experience and my final thoughts on natural gas as a transportation fuel will all be part of my graduate thesis at the University of Texas at Austin.

So get ready; I will start my engine in May of 2010 for a week-long trip that will take me from Austin to Boston all on CNG (compressed natural gas). You're invited to follow along as I venture out on a Green American Road Trip - a different fuel but the same good time, complete with slurpee pit stops and maybe even an alligator farm. Follow my adventure at www.greenamericanroadtrip.com



 

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For additional information on this release, please contact:
Castlen Kennedy
Phone: (713) 264-2755
Email:
 
Source: Castlen Kennedy  
Website: http://www.greenamericanroadtrip.com
 

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