Sustainable Transportation at Dancing Rabbit
Dancing Rabbit is designed as a pedestrian scale village where everything is within walking and biking distance. Almost everyone works from home or within the village, which drastically reduces our needs for motorized vehicles. Our covenants don’t allow private vehicle ownership, and instead we have a car co-op where we share a few vehicles among the whole village. We’re seriously committed to ride-sharing – you almost never take a trip to town alone.
DR’s goal is to avoid any fossil fuel use in our vehicles and our efforts have focused mainly on biodiesel and electric vehicles. So far we have struggled to meet that goal year round with cold winters making biodiesel challenging to use. We’ve done some experiments with heated tanks including, at times, running on straight vegetable oil. We are aware of the concerns around biofuels in terms of displacing food crops and, in some cases, the ambiguity of their reduction of CO2 output. We continue to explore biofuels as a way to localize our fuel source, including the possibility of growing our own oil crops.
We are also looking into incorporating electric vehicles into our fleet. With the installation of a large grid-tied solar system in 2011 we now have the capacity to power vehicles electrically. We could purchase one of the mass-market electrics soon, such as the Nissan LEAF and Ford Focus Electric available in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
It is our sense that no alternative fuel can sustainably replace our nations current level of fossil fuel use for vehicles so we must learn to drive less and make more fuel-efficient vehicles. Only then can renewable alternatives hope to meet our needs.