This is a common sight in Costa Rica. You are stopped behind a bus or a truck, the light changes, they take off and you choke. Exhaust fumes make it pretty much impossible to drive with your windows open. Diesel is cheap and an engine that lives on diesel lives forever. A very popular choice here.

Years ago, I heard that diesel was a cleaner fuel than gasoline. I just googled it and it appears to be true… Intellectually, I can accept that. Tactilely, I find it impossible. How can something that leaves you covered in a thin film of greasy soot leave the air cleaner than something you can’t even see??? Another of life’s little mysteries. They are starting to pile up.

Last year, we converted our Rav4 to propane, something I’d never heard of till we got here. In our little hatchback compartment, there is a huge propane tank, like on your grill only horizontal and black. Better for the earth and cheaper to run, yes. But you can no longer recline the back seats and there’s very little room left for luggage and groceries. Sacrificing for the common good and all that.

Hal says it gives him a warm fuzzy feeling to know he is helping the environment. Right. I know he’s all gushy about saving money. Propane is cheaper here; the conversion ($1,250) has already paid for itself. And we still have the regular gas tank which comes in handy on a trip. In the land of few gas stations, two tanks is a big plus.

So on long trips, I guess, half the time we are not polluting at all and the other half we are polluting twice as much. At least if you’re behind me, you’ll never know…

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