Biodiesel BINGO: the brae bio-bus travel log

My profuse thanks to Tim and Robyn Chilson of Brookdale Family Campground in Meadville, PA for their positive spirit and for putting the brae bio-bus (with her new fuel filter) back on the road!

In the game of Biodiesel BINGO, B2 is a 2% blend, B11 is an 11% blend, and B0 is a losing call on everyone’s game card.

My Thomas International bus conversion (the brae bio-bus) departed Denver a week ago last Sunday with 15 gallons, on board, of B100 processed from waste-vegetable oil, purchased from the cooperative, Denver Biodiesel. Destination: Ithaca, New York. The bio-bus tank was nearly full of B100 from the Cooperative. I am a member of the Coop which charges from $2.75 to $3.25 a gallon for this light-brown oily fuel. Put on a diet of B100 this summer, the bio-bus has been running more smoothly and more quietly, and she has emitted a far more pleasant smell than that of petroleum diesel (B0).

I have affixed to the rear door of the bio-bus a sticker: “Powered by: BioDiesel. Cleaner burning and renewable energy.” When at U-Haul to hitch on a car trailer, a U-Haul staffer, seeing the sticker, commented with a wide beam that the bus smelled just like steak (“yum”), and another said with a bit of a lament, it’s really good that someone cares about the environment.

In the game of Biodiesel BINGO, my trip card has a B100. Since the American Midwest is crop country and crop country is no stranger to the sprawl of fast-food joints and trucker stops, I want to see just which gas stations along my route through the industrial agri-farm belt sell biodiesel – from soy to waste vegetable or animal fat to any blend.

Next week: The brae bio-bus journeys across Nebraska and Iowa

Other goings on this week:

What is it with advertisers for polluting energy companies and their affinity for precocious children? On CNN, twice within an hour, Americans for Balanced Energy Choices ( of the Washington, DC beltway, ran an ad with a little girl describing how she’s so smart from homework: she knows the U.S. has about “250 years of coal reserves.” On the website, another way-too-adult child, pretty in pink, settles into her chair to tell me that “we can have our cake and eat it, too” when it comes to coal.

I suggest, given the advanced brain cells of these actor children, that their advertiser teachers assign Jeff Goodell’s “Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy Future.” There’s a lot to learn about coal, says Adam, dangling a skateboard. Perhaps after reading the book, he and these other children will consider becoming journalists, like Goodell, instead of stooges for the coal industry.

2 replies
  1. Nikos Kaplanov
    Nikos Kaplanov says:

    When you get to Ohio, there's plenty of biodiesel for you here. Just google Ohio Biodiesel Distributors and you should be able to find one along your route.

  2. Tom Konrad
    Tom Konrad says:

    Is biodiesel bingo a real game? Where can I find a scorecard? I’m planning a biodiesel-fueled trip this November from Denver to Austin to Taos and back this November. Austin, according to, seems to be biodiesel-heaven…

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