Food for Oil

Thirty vehicles, 16,000 miles, and not a single tank of gas

Shaun Murphy: Coolfuel Roadtrip

   Photo: Illustration by Mark Todd

If your knowledge of alternative fuels consists of nothing more than electric cars and the far-off promise of fuel cells, Australian adventurer and television personality Shaun Murphy, 39, wants to show you something. Coolfuel Roadtrip (www.coolfuelroadtrip.com), a 13-part series debuting this fall on UPN, chronicles Murphy and his dog Sparky's recent 30-state, 16,000-mile lap of the U.S. using 30 vehicles—including cars, trucks, motorcycles, a boat, and an airplane—powered by 12 of the cleanest fuel sources around. "You can watch fuel grow in your backyard," says Murphy. "You've just got to open your eyes and have a little bit of a vision." His vision for Coolfuel included "hempoline" (a mix of hemp oil and ethanol), cow manure, and a food-powered Hummer (one of two in his fleet) that motored through New Orleans on fresh beignets. "I always thought I'd dig the food in Louisiana," says Murphy, "but I never thought my car would be into it."

A sampling of his transportation alternatives: a 1982 four-seat Mooney 201 airplane that flies on corn whiskey (100 percent ethanol); a 125-mile-per-hour biodiesel dragster; a 1995 Chevy S-10 pickup—powered by a hempoline-burning helicopter turbine—that can hit 160 miles per hour; a 2003 Vogelbilt electric motorcycle with a top speed of 75 miles per hour and juice from ten car batteries; and a 32-foot-long Hummer H1 stretch limo that can reach 75 miles per hour on a combination of solar power, biodiesel, and food scraps.

From Outside Magazine, Oct 2005 Get the Latest Issue

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