The Joy of Biofuels
There is a loose collective of people in the region who run our cars on biofuels. We generally find vintage diesel VW's and Mercedes Benzes, convert them to accept an unfamiliar fuel and drive around town in an almost climate-neutral manner smelling of french fries or onion rings. Old cars are much more forgiving than newer models, and better lend themselves to owner maintenance. One of the big downsides is parts. Finding a power window motor for a 1980 Benz 300D can take a week on Google. Finding trim parts for a 1980 Scirocco can be impossible.
Recently I learned that I had to replace the exhaust system for my old VW Golf. For years I'd been squeaking it through inspection with patches while exhaust specialists politely declined to take the job. "We just can't find the parts for that car any more." Finally, someone suggested a place in Keene called Fleet Services (PASS Exhaust Specialist). I drove it over this week anticipating the loss of a couple of zero's to the tail end of my bank account. After two hours I picked it up and was charged $300. This for a custom exhaust system, including muffler, made entirely of stainless steel. I was dumbstruck with gratitude. For those in our little collective who do their own muffler repairs the parts alone can cost over $450. I was told by one friend that my new exhaust might not only outlive my car, it might well outlive me.
I am writing this letter for a couple of different reasons. On the one hand, I have been increasingly dismayed at the trend in our society, especially the realms of business and politics, towards appearance over substance, of marketing and PR and positioning over honesty and integrity. When a company exhibits what might be called virtue I feel beholden to let people know. Aside from that, I would like every old car owner whose exhaust is on its last legs to know that there is help off Main Street in Keene.