Thursday, May 26, 2011

Saving the Planet, A quarter mile at a time

I have recently been posting and reading up a lot on ways to save the planet..... That is actually a silly statement. The planet is not in need of saving. The ability of our planet to sustain us a species requires work. The planet will continue to be here, even without us. Douglas Adams said so.

Reduce. Re-use. Recycle. The reason that mantra is so stated is because it is in order of priority. Recycling, which I have been focusing on is actually the least I could do to save the planet because it requires energy to make the waste usable again. So I started thinking, what can I start doing to lower my carbon footprint by either redusing or re-using. Whilst chatting to Sherwin, an old racing buddy who many in Durban refer to as 'The Grand Guru of Automative Environmental Sustainability', we discovered a great way to save the planet. Replacing the disposable air filter in my car with a High Flow Performance Air Filter by K&N.

If, like my wife you rolled your eyes at this suggestion, think about it for a minute. Over 100 million disposable air filters are discarded each year (Source: statistic at the back of the K&N box). That is enough to fill Moses Mabhida Stadium to the arch 50 000 times (source: internet blog. No verifiable source required. If that does not sit well with you, I could always just write, 'INDEPENDENT STUDY'). But seriously. This filter is made of multiple layers of treated cotton gauze that provides great filtration (and also high airflow rates) and should last the life of a vehicle provided it is cleaned every 50 000 miles (That stat is not made up and is actually the manufacturers recommendation). Usage of this filter would actually reduce the waste burden created by disposable air filters made of paper or other synthetic materials.

Additionally (and this is the equivalent of cracking an egg and getting two yolks), the improved airflow results in increased combustion efficiency which would result in more engine power and hence better fuel mileage. I challenge you to find another device that would make your car sound better whilst saving the environment. This is actually my first pass at a more comprehensive study I plan to discuss with my wife on why a Jackson supercharger could effectively save a tree in the Amazon every time I go to get bread from the shop. Until then, I will continue to try and save the planet.... a quarter mile at a time.


  1. Here's some reading material for you


  2. where did my comment go...

    Trying again for the third time.

    Here's some reading material.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Thanks for persevering Nerville. It is also good to see that my spam filter is working. :)

    Some really great articles but I suppose they prove the obvious. The filters with the best flow rate, would let in the most dirt. I really think that a lot of manufacturers make boastful claims of power gains etc. but I have seen no modified car without an aftermarket airfilter.

    Most of the tests show that the K&N has the best flow rate i.e. lets in the most dirt. Let's hope that decision does not come back to bite me!

  5. Yeah flow rate vs dust flow.

    As to claims about making additional hp.. who knows you really have to get it on a dyno if you want to see if it makes a difference. In any case the gains if any would be small.

    With regards tp dirt flow, dont worry about it in day to day driving you are generally not exposed to huge amounts of it anyway.

    I have heard of cars which lost hp going from the standard filter to a replacement panel filter. Ok admittedly its only 1 car, it seems that the after market filter had a bad design for that car.