A Steamboat Springs Transit bus drives through wind and snow Sunday near the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Routt County Road 129. One of the city's hybrid diesel buses will be on display Monday in the Depot Art Center parking lot during an expo showcasing vehicles that utilize alternative fuels.

Photo by Scott Franz

A Steamboat Springs Transit bus drives through wind and snow Sunday near the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Routt County Road 129. One of the city's hybrid diesel buses will be on display Monday in the Depot Art Center parking lot during an expo showcasing vehicles that utilize alternative fuels.

Automotive expo in Steamboat to showcase alternative fuel vehicles

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Past Event

Alternative Fuel Car Expo

  • Monday, March 19, 2012, 4 p.m.
  • Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St., Steamboat Springs
  • Not available

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— When Dalton Reed pops the hood of his 1989 Ford F-250 on Monday afternoon in the Depot Art Center parking lot, he will show anyone who is interested how hot vegetable oil fuels his engine.

“A lot of people think it’s a magic box with a lot of complexity,” he said about his fuel system that heats the recycled veggie oil to 180 degrees before it enters the engine and becomes a substitute for diesel fuel. “But it’s really not too complex. It’s great because it’s a low-tech solution that burns less oil.”

Reed still must start his truck with diesel fuel and switch back to it before turning it off, and the system requires a lot of care and attention. It isn’t perfect, and he only pulls out the vegetable oil when harsh winter temperatures have passed. But he said the recycled vegetable oil he has collected from local restaurants throughout the years has the power to significantly cut back on the amount of diesel his truck burns on long trips.

Reed’s Ford will be one of eight vehicles featured in the Alternative Fuels and Gas-Saving Technologies Auto Expo today. The event is hosted by Bud Werner Memorial Library, Yampatika and Northern Colorado Clean Cities. Other vehicles on display will include a Chevy Volt electric car, an electric Ford Ranger truck, a hydrogen fuel Hummer, a truck fueled by compressed natural gas, a propane fired Go Alpine taxi, a Steamboat Transit hybrid bus and a biodiesel Volkswagen Beetle.

“I’d just like to open people’s eyes as to what is out there,” said Suzie Romig, Routt County’s outreach coordinator for Northern Colorado Clean Cities. “I’m not sure people realize how many electric hybrids were made in 2012. We’re not just talking about the Toyota Prius anymore.”

Romig, whose nonprofit partners with local governments and transportation providers to reduce their dependency on petroleum for fuel, will host a meeting in the library during the expo to discuss ways in which alternative fuels can be more utilized in Steamboat Springs. She said she’s expecting city and county officials, as well as owners of gas stations, to attend.

“The goal of this meeting is to facilitate the partnerships that are needed to bring more (alternative) fuel options here,” she said. “There is an interest in (alternative fuels) here, but people need to get connected with resources.”

After looking under the hoods of several alternative fuel vehicles from 4 to 6 p.m., community members can attend a free screening of the documentary “Revenge of the Electric Car” starting at 6:30 p.m. in the library. Jennie Lay, the library’s adult programs coordinator, said the screening will be followed by a Q-and-A session about electric cars.

“We always hope to put a local lens on these documentaries of international and national significance,” Lay said. “This is just a great opportunity to have the physical cars in one place. We haven’t had this happen in Steamboat before. People will be able to compare the pros and cons of all of these different fuels and engines.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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