July 5, 2005


Truckers gas up on ‘BioWillie’ (Matt Curry, 15 January 2005. The Associated Press)

"On the Road Again" means something new for Willie Nelson these days — a chance for truckers to fill their tanks with clean-burning biodiesel fuel.

Nelson and three business partners recently formed a company called Willie Nelson’s Biodiesel that is marketing the fuel to truck stops. The product — called BioWillie — is made from vegetable oils, mainly soybeans, and can be burned without modification to diesel engines. [...]

Nelson told The Associated Press in an interview last week that he began learning about the product a few years ago after his wife purchased a biodiesel-burning car in Hawaii, where the star has a home.

"I got on the computer and punched in biodiesel and found out this could be the future," said Nelson, who now uses the fuel for his cars and tour buses.

Peter Bell, a Texas biodiesel supplier, struck up a friendship with Nelson after filling up one of the tour buses, and the business partnership came together just before Christmas.

Bell said Nelson’s name will help the largely unknown fuel — typically purchased by government agencies to promote environmental awareness — gain wider national acceptance. The fuel’s average U.S. price per gallon is $1.79.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 5, 2005 8:07 PM

OK, but what's the unsubsidized price?

Posted by: at July 5, 2005 8:25 PM

BioWillie, eh? Gender discrimination.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 5, 2005 8:45 PM

So how much petroleum diesel fuel does it take for farmers to grow the corn and soy and hemp needed to make the "bio-diesel" this thing runs on? Or is this some sort of Gaian perpetual motion machine?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 5, 2005 8:55 PM

Careful, Raoul. I can remember when "total energy analysis" like that was seen as a Liberal plot.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 5, 2005 9:00 PM

Its great except for all the rain forests we will have to butcher to grow the soy.

Posted by: AML at July 5, 2005 9:41 PM

If soybeans are soon used for food and biodiesel, can we stop paying farmers federal ag subsidies to stop planting soybeans?

Posted by: John J. Coupal at July 5, 2005 9:49 PM

The biodiesel thing with Willie's been going on for a while now -- there was a big deal about it debuting at the Carl's Corner Truck Stop on I-35E just north of Nelson's adopted hometown of Hillsboro a couple of years ago. Willie had his Fourth of July Picnic concert in Fort Worth over the weekend, so I guess the concertgoers probably were inundated with talk about biofuels, which led to this story.

Posted by: John at July 5, 2005 10:35 PM

Doesn't the IRS have dibs on Willie's earnings for the next 50 years?

Posted by: AWW at July 5, 2005 11:13 PM

There was also an article in the WSJ on Tuesday.

OJ: There is a group of scientists up your way (UNH) who are working on biodiesel

Raoul: They claim that biodiesel will produce 3 or 4 times the input energy. They also claim that it can be made from algae or sewerage.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at July 6, 2005 12:26 AM

willie is also working on the design for a 4wd bong.

Posted by: cjm at July 6, 2005 12:26 AM

Is biodiesel tax-free? They need to give us some economics in articles like this.

Posted by: pj at July 6, 2005 7:29 AM

Usually the corn and soybean are planted in the same fields in alternating years. The corn takes the nitrogen out of the soil and the soy puts it back in.

The hemp, of course, is another story.

Posted by: Bartman at July 6, 2005 8:01 AM

BTW, hemp seeds are oily and are probably a good sourse of biodiesel.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at July 6, 2005 8:21 AM

I know similar biodiesal vehicles are able to run on the leftover vegetable oil used for french fries at McDonald's. This could be a case where the fuel we use was already used for commercial purposes and would be considered waste otherwise.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at July 6, 2005 11:41 AM

Chris, you go Mickey D's and I will research hemp, OK?

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at July 6, 2005 1:38 PM

That's just what I need, lots of fat stoners laying down a smokescreen on the freeways.

Posted by: joe shropshire at July 6, 2005 3:51 PM

you could smoke a ton of hemp and not get as high as you would on regular car fumes. think of iron pyrites compared to gold.

Posted by: cjm at July 6, 2005 5:34 PM