Alternative Fuel Vehicle: The Shuttle Bug

Here's a short progress report MOTHER EARTH NEWS' alternative fuel vehicle, the Shuttle Bug.

| July/August 1974

028 alternative fuel vehicle shuttle bug 1

Linda Burks at the wheel of our prototype alternative fuel vehicle the Shuttle Bug.


OK, gang. Time for a short report on the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Alternative Fuel Vehicle (which we're calling the Shuttle Bug).

To recap: This project was begun early last winter when we successfully demonstrated to the press that we could too produce methane from cow manure and, what's more, we could use that methane to fuel everything from a gaslight to a natural gas refrigerator to a 1948 Chevrolet Six automobile engine.

"Aha!" exclaimed one of the wire services around the first of the year when the flow of petrol began to slacken in this country, "The MOTHER EARTH NEWS nuts think they can run a car on methane. Let's see them do it."

At that point, we hastened to explain that, while we thought methane was just fine for stationary applications—a house, drying grain, cooking, etc.—we didn't think it was a particularly good fuel for a moving vehicle. "Methane," we said, "is the lightest of the gaseous hydrocarbons. You'd have to tow a blimp around behind you if you wanted to go any distance with it in an ordinary (overweight and overpowered) American car.

"Oho!" said the wire service. "You really can't run a car on methane after all."

"Well we can," we said, "but ....

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