What Should Mad Science Drive To Work?

We're all about helping out our fellow Jalop, and Mad_Science has more than proven his bona fides yesterday as a worthy commenter. When not getting all verklempt over abandoned racers, Mad has to commute about 60 miles round-trip on Southern California freeways and, as we all know, gas isn't getting any cheaper. Says Mad:

I'm looking for input from my fellow Jalopniks on the best "alternative" commuter car. The obvious choice would be either a bike or something like an old CRX or Civic Hatch, which can be entertaining in their own right, but I'm looking to get a little more creative. Electrics, bio-diesel/veg oil (but what car?), bike-powered kit cars are all on the table. It's gotta be reasonably reliable and cheap, like under $15k and preferably under $10k, with the goal of minimizing $/mile while keeping me out of a soulless Prius. I've got tools, skills, space and (some) time to make it work, but I need some ideas.


So what do you think? Should he go all-out ecomodder? Anyone know who bought Daryl Hannah's biodiesel camino? We're partial to the OM617 so why not pick up a diesel 300TD wagon on the cheap for a veggie oil conversion? He's got at least $10K for this project, meaning that some of you can envision products that leave $9,500 for parts. Let the project car hell begin!

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