Thoughts on the Movie “Greasy Rider”

I watched a movie on Hulu, called “Greasy Rider”, which chronicles the story of some people who designed a process where an ordinary car can be converted to run on vegetable oil, instead of gasoline or deisel. Actually, there are several such people mentioned, but the car in the movie was driven by people from GreaseCar.com.

During the film, people who have designed similar cars are also shown, along with celebrity interviews – Morgan Freeman, Yoko Ono,  Noam Chomsky, etc – where people gave their thoughts on American dependence on foreign oil and how it affects our domestic life, foreign policy, health and the environment.

Unlike most alternative fuel researchers, there is no national body of people who collaborate on how to convert more cars to run on vegetable oil. When I mention vegetable oil, I don’t mean growing vegetables for the express purpose of turning them into fuel oil. I’m talking about using vegetable oil that had been previously used by restaurants and then discarded. So, they are using a fuel source that no one would miss if it were gone. In fact, they were able to drive their car across the USA without having to pay any money for the fuel they were using. Companies, like McDonalds, Wendy’s, the mom-and-pop eateries around the country, and all other burger chains and restaurants across the US pay other companies to come and take their used vegetable oil away and discard it. Sometimes the oil is used to make other products, but often it is dumped in landfills. The simple beauty of using the vegetable oil is that we discard millions of gallons of the stuff everyday in the United States, when it turns-out that we could be running our cars on it. In fact, the first deisel engine used peanut oil as a fuel source.

Of course, for the same reason the Big Oil companies bought-up the electric rail system in Los Angeles and have ignored the very idea of an electric car is that the big profits for now come from the petroleum industry and there is no profit for them at the moment in having the American driver burn used vegetable oil instead of gasoline. Let’s face it, if you had a car like that, you could fill-up your tank everyday without even having to pay for the fuel you were using. Most restaurant owners and managers would be glad to not have to pay a company to come and take the stuff away when they could give it away. All you’d have to bring with you in a pump to syphon the oil out of their storage tank and a filter to remove the particles that are in the oil after use. One guy in the movie used an ordinary sock, for G-d’s sake. Naturally, there is a small conversion kit that you’d have to install in some of these designs, which isn’t very expensivve and you’ll be saving loads of money by not having to pay for gas.

I saw the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?” which spoke about how General Motors designed the fully-electric EV1, which gave good performance and the technology already exists to prolong battery life. It was only GM’s reluctance to introduce such a car onto the American market, due to low profitability for the petroleum industry, which doomed the EV1 to ultimate failure. It was a good car, as good as any on the market today, but right now the big money is in Oil and the industry doesn’t want to give-up just yet.

As was pointed-out in the film by one of the interviewees, as long as the veggie oil cars don’t pose too much of a threat to Big Oil, they”ll be tolerated, even laughed-at, by the Big Car and Big Oil industries. But, if they are perceived as posing a significant threat to their bank balances, they’ll get stomped-on like insects under the Big Boot of the Oil and Automotive industries.

This is what pisses me off to no end: we have the technology and resources to end our dependence, not only on foreign oil, but on oil entirely. Yet, because a small group of people and corporations depend upon our addiction to petroleum, such technology will be kept under wraps and also covertly suppressed.

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