Monday, February 26, 2007

Vanishing America and Alternative Energy

Vanishing America

Project Details...

See America on 15¢ a day!

Well, in fuel costs, anyway. By using Vegetable Oil as my primary traveling fuel, I will, theoretically, be able to travel anywhere I want to on my journey without spending a dime on fuel. (In extremely cold weather, though, I will have to run on regular diesel, but for 95% of my trip, I can run vegetable oil or biodiesel.)

That's the plan, anyway. With the trend toward alternative fuels, running your car on either BioDiesel or SVO (straight vegetable oil), is gaining ground as an acceptable option. Even Prince Charles of England is converting his vehicles to BioDiesel, as this Washington Post article points out: (

And now it seems Arnold, the Governator, Schwarzenegger, is doing likewise, and encouraging Californians to join in the effort.

Not only does running on vegetable oil reduce emissions, it reduces our dependence on petroleum, a substance that is guaranteed to run out eventually. The earth only has so much oil stored beneath its surface. Once that's gone, it's gone. Then what?

Well, we use a renewable source: VEGETABLES!

Though not totally legal in any state yet (Vegetable oil as a fuel has yet to be approved by the EPA or the DOT), it IS being used successfully all around the United States and in many countries abroad. It's an easy step to go from diesel fuel to vegetable oil -- after all, the diesel engine was originally designed to run on peanut oil! Once you filter and de-water vegetable oil, and keep it at the correct temperature, you have the ideal fuel for your diesel engine. You can even use waste oil from restaraunts! Just filter and de-water it first. It's FREE! Check out the follwing article from Car and Driver Magazine:

For my Vanishing America Project, I'll be driving all over the United States in a motor home converted to run on vegetable oil. (It will also run on regular diesel and biodiesel, but at up to $3.00 a gallon, I'll stick to veggie oil as much as I can.) I will also be towing a Land Rover diesel converted to veggie oil as my off-road vehicle -- all the power and torque of a regular diesel engine at none of the cost! Okay, sure, the conversion is not cheap. Now, you can do it yourself for as little as $50, or with kits you buy online for around $750, or you can go all out (like I am) and have a system custom built for you, but the bottom line is that you'll ultimately pay for the conversion in the first 200 miles of driving on veggie oil. And think of what you'll be doing for the environment!

It's an easy, affordable thing to do, and many people are following the trend. If you need proof, just look at all the conversion companies springing up all over the country: do an online search for "vegetable oil diesel", "veggie oil diesel", and see how many results pop up. It's inspiring. And, as we all know, it will likely take the government years to accept this alternative to oil (they do have to keep their oil corporations happy), but the move is on! BioDiesel is already approved by Federal agencies, so veggie oil can't be too far behind.

Keep your fingers crossed, buy an old diesel car and have it converted, or do whatever it is you do to lessen your impact on the environment. It doesn't take much. Just a little effort from a lot of people will make the difference.

Keep checking back with me during my journey. You're sure to see a lot of gorgeous pictures and read some interesting stories. See ya on the road!

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