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U.S. dependence on fossil fuels has become an environmental, economic, and political liability. And most of us believe the problem it’s out of our hands. But sometimes people take up the challenge to save the biosphere in personal sized increments. Such is the case with the growing bio-diesel movement. Citizens are powering their diesel cars, trucks and metro-buses with vegetable based oil. Some older diesel vehicles require upgraded rubber fuel lines to handle biofuel, but most new diesels, by design, handle the fuel beautifully.

“Basically, a new diesel vehicle can pull up to a biodiesel pump, fill up and drive down the road with no modification necessary whatsoever.”

Charris Ford, the self-anointed Granola Ayatola of Canola, lives in Telluride Colorado. He is using his company, Grassolean Solutions to provide people with sustainable energy information and products. Biodiesel at the PUMP comes in different blends all the way from 2% to 100% or B100 which is pure vegetable based fuel.

“I myself am all about B100. I want to see more and more people running their vehicles on pure veggie fuel because not only does it smell good and its non carcinogenic, but it feels good to be doing it and it says to the powers that be, “Hey, we want some options and we want options that don’t kill us and our children.”

The use of Biodiesel fuel derived from soybeans, corn, and other vegetables is rapidly gaining acceptance around the world. This is due to the fuels key benefits:

Its biodegradable, nontoxic, relatively clean burning and made from a renewable, local resource The Telluride public bus system runs on biodiesel, thanks to Ford and other enterprising locals. We caught up with Charris by phone recently while he was presenting at a conference in California:

“Im here with my friend Daryl Hanna, who’s also a biodiesel advocate. We’re going to kick off the national Biodiesel Board’s Expo, which is the largest biodiesel event that this country has ever seen.”

“Its grown so exponentially just in the last three years that I’m certain that in the next five years, everyone in the country will know what biodiesel is and there will be pumps in nearly, if not all major cities. Its already moving that way.”

“Biodiesel has anywhere between 40 to 60 % less particulate matter. And what matter there is is non-toxic and non carcinogenic. “

“Most of the biodiesel in this country comes from soybeans. Its produced in the Midwest and its interesting that farmers have been some of the most excited about and first to use biodiesel in a large scale way, on their farms.”

Actress Daryl Hanna agrees:

“What really caught my attention was the fact that when Rudolph diesel made this engine he made it to run on peanut oil so that farmers could grow their own fuel and what a great idea you know, home grown fuel.”

“I think that it can be great for the industrial sector. I really think it should be utilized in our national parks and certainly on school buses when there’s children around and public transportation systems.”

Veggie fuel is one thing… straight veggie oil is another.

There are those even more committed to minimizing their fuel footprint. They have been bypassing the traditional method of biodiesel and instead are recycling filtered veggie oil from restaurant fryers straight into modified vehicles. The exhaust smells like French fries. Durangoan Katrina Blair is driving a retrofitted truck she uses for Turtle Lake Refuge.

“We get grease from restaurants and pour it directly into the tank. I filter it through a pantyhose and pour it in my tank.”

“I did make an adjustment to my engine. There was a kit that I bought that converted my engine to accept vegetable oil straight.”

“It’s a little more work to go straight vegetable oil. You have to filter it, you get a little greasy, but its free and its so fun driving down the road on a waste product.”

Charris Ford uses rap to get his message across and to pay respect to the Rudolph Diesel, the inventor of the diesel engine which was originally designed to run on veggie fuels.

“I’ll kick you the Rudolph Diesel rap, the inventor of the diesel engine, who you may know unveiled his first engine to the world running on peanut oil and when he uncovered the engine and cranked it up, he said to the audience there at the world exhibition in France, the year was 1900, and he said Ladies and Gentlemen, I have two words for you: Peanut Oil… and this is my tribute to him. It goes like this:

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