Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Mobile Fuel Stations

The road-warrior's take on inflight refueling
  [vote for,

This idea is inspired, and implemented in the same fashion as, aircraft in-flight refueling.

Zeppelins that float above the interstates refueling vehicles on the go. When you approach one, an in-dash display tells you if you wish to refuel, move to one of the right-hand lanes and get in line. If you don't need to, move to the left and bypass the refuelers.

This would require ERR-compatibility (en-route refueling), but I'm sure many vehicles, such as SUVs and RVs, could take the mod with little problem.

I wonder how this will affect fuel economy. The current method of stopping, turing off the motor, then starting back up and accelerating back to interstate speed is hell on fuel economy if you're on a long road-trip. This allows you to keep on truckin'.

Payment would work like those EZ-Pay (is that the right word?) fuel stations, a photograph is taken of your license plate, or perhaps a Bluetooth or RFID tag in your vehicle, and you are billed for it later or it's directly debited or charged from a card stored on file.

Great for long-haul truckers. It's not required, but it's nice to have the option.

21 Quest, Nov 20 2006

In-drive refuelling http://www.halfbake...-drive_20refuelling
[angel, Nov 21 2006]

Airborne refuelling http://www.halfbake...irborne_20Refueling
[angel, Nov 21 2006]

Unmanned fuel tanks http://www.halfbake...nned_20Fuel_20Tanks
[angel, Nov 21 2006]


       Well, you'd have to convince everyone that gas stations are bad ideas, big oil first. Bombs? Haha... Just kidding..
daseva, Nov 20 2006

       woudn't you have to stop and turn off the motor anyway? if so, what would be the advantage over a simple in-ground pump?
acurafan07, Nov 20 2006

       The idea is to modify the vehicle to allow the introduction of fuel to the tank while the engine is running, just like inflight refueling for aircraft.
21 Quest, Nov 20 2006

       I'm all in favour of a huge airship carrying thousands of tons of flammable liquid manouvering above built-up areas and major transport links - particularly if the airship is filled with Hydrogen instead of that wussy Helium.
hippo, Nov 21 2006

       //The idea is to modify the vehicle to allow the introduction of fuel to the tank while the engine is running//

There's nothing on my car preventing me from doing this.
angel, Nov 21 2006

       Can it be safely done? I've never heard one way or the other if you can add fuel while driving, and I have no idea how to search for that. I wouldn't think there's any reason you can't.
21 Quest, Nov 21 2006

       If it's safe to transfer several tons of AvGas twenty feet from a jet exhaust, I can't imagine that 15 gallons of diesel would be an issue. YMMV.
angel, Nov 21 2006


21 Quest, Nov 21 2006

       What about tandem brakeing to avoid major spillage of gas? I am getting my mobil transfer and the guy infront of me slams his breaks on. I stop but the gas truck/plane dosen't. Now fuel is spilling all over the road way. Not so safe me thinks.
Chefboyrbored, Nov 21 2006

       You wouldn't couple with the refueling boom until the guy ahead of you had finished and moved to the right lane. You'd set your cruise control and the zeppelin matches your speed.

       Tandem braking is a wonderful idea. Have an electronic hookup so if you brake, the zeppelin brakes.
21 Quest, Nov 21 2006

       YMMV = Your mileage may vary = things may be different for you.
angel, Nov 21 2006

       One other thought, the cost of running mutliple fueling tanks/planes and the gas they would use would seriously increase the price of fuel.
Chefboyrbored, Nov 21 2006

       I thought of that, and zeppelins wouldn't require much fuel if they're solar- and electric powered.
21 Quest, Nov 21 2006

       How much fuel could a solar electric zeppelin hold and still have the power to fly?
Chefboyrbored, Nov 21 2006

       Well the lift is provided by helium. *Lots* of helium.
21 Quest, Nov 21 2006

       This whole zeppelin thing is crazy. When I saw the title, I assumed it was what my idea for this was: A tanker outfitted with pumps that went around areas at designated times. People could fill up without going to the station (which might be miles away) and the business could sell gas for a little cheaper because of the reduced overhead (no building to rent or maintain, just the special tanker). This reduces the damage done to the environment by: reducing the amount of gas spent just going to a gas station, and avoiding fuel contamination by not having to install underground fuel tanks.

       These tankers could be tracked by GPS so people can know when they are in the area and can fill up.

       Did I just stick an entirely new idea into an annotation?
twitch, Nov 21 2006

       No, the truck idea is baked here.
21 Quest, Nov 21 2006

       // I am getting my mobil transfer and the guy infront of me slams his breaks on.// I was thinking about what might happen if you go under an overpass or an exit ramp. And then what about the road signs that are suspended over the roadway? But I could see that working somewhere like in the midwest of the US where there is nothing but roads and cornfields.
Jscotty, Nov 21 2006

       (+) for creativity. just better hope those hydrogen fuel cell cars don't catch on
acurafan07, Nov 21 2006

       This was a commercial a few years ago: car rolls onto the mobile platform, refuels while still making progress, and drops back into traffic. No safety rails on the side of the truck, either - scary. Don't let the dog get loose.

       I think the dirigible part is highly awesome and would get a great kick out of it, synching and hooking up in flight, but for the astounding amount of overhead wires and overpasses and whatnot that would force an extraordinarily fast operation.
elhigh, Nov 22 2006

       To my knowledge no company is currently manufacturing a car with interlocks that prevent refueling while the vehicle is running, let alone moving. I don't know of any that even have a little idiot light to warn you that you've left your gas door open. It's like the fuel tank and filler cap are the bastard stepchildren of the auto safety paradigm.
elhigh, Nov 22 2006

       I was thinking this is ideally suited for use in large, open areas, like the areas Jscotty described in his anno. I remember driving through South Dakota and Montana and there are streches of hundreds of miles with no fuel stations, overpasses, or anything else resembling a man-made structure. I get about 300 miles to the tank, and when I've driven almost 200 miles thinking I'll just fill up at the next station only to realize there aren't any next stations for at least another hundred miles, it gets a little nerve-wracking.

       This beats the hell out of carrying extra gas cans, which take up space in my car, space that's already taken up by luggage for the trip.
21 Quest, Nov 22 2006

       How fast can a Zepplin fly? Do I have to slow down to a mere 20 mph to get my gas? It seems that stopping at a gas station is really not that much of a hassle. Not to mention they have bathrooms and food.
Chefboyrbored, Nov 22 2006

       Chef, some people prefer to keep going if they can, especially truckers on a tight schedule. Nobody's saying you have to use it. If you don't want to use it, get in the left lane and go around. Everybody in the right lane will be going slow so you'll pass them in no time, and get right back over if you want to.

       //Do I have to slow down to a mere 20 mph to get my gas?//

       Better than exiting and going perhaps a few miles out of your way to get to the stationary station, then driving back the few miles to get back on the interstate. That's hell on gas, especially if there's traffic and stoplights on the way. And I'd rather go in a bottle or the woods than the bathrooms at some gas stations. And again, nobody said you have to.
21 Quest, Nov 22 2006

       Truckers are required to rest 21Q for the safety of everybody else on the road and the truckers themselvs. I don't think giving them the option of never stopping is such a great idea either.
Chefboyrbored, Nov 22 2006

       Different shipping companies have different rest regulations and different trucks have different fuel economies. If you get poor fuel economy, you don't need to rest every time you fill up.

       And you can bet the shipping company will mandate rest regulations accordingly before modifying the company trucks to accept this type of refueling.
21 Quest, Nov 22 2006

       I saw the GoodYear Blimp lists a top speed of 53 mph, but normal cruising speed is 35 mph (with no wind).
Zimmy, Nov 22 2006


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