Ode to the Small Gasoline Engine

Image: Cutting firewood.

Having spent much of my life driving some form of gas guzzling vehicle around, I have become very aware at how inefficient these large gasoline engines can be, especially when used by single individuals for commuting in the city. However, only recently have I come to appreciate the value of the small, single cylinder gasoline engine that seems to run forever on a cup full of gas.

If there was any element of our fossi-fuel consumptive age that is probably worth preserving, it is these incredibly useful and incredibly efficient single cylinder gasoline engines. Out here, where there is no road access and fuel has to be brought in by the jerry can, these little engines are the workhorses. They run chain saws, bush cutters, generators, boats, ATVs, winches, and many other pieces of equipment. And they do this all at a fraction of the cost of filling up your typical truck. The fossil-fuel age gave us the necessary energy to develop our current level of technology, but now it is time to decide how best to use our remaining fossil fuel resources, and what technology is valuable enough to bring with us to a new energy age. Imagine these little efficient engines running on biodiesel or ethanol or … It’s up to us!

Download PDF