Cross-Country Trip Proves Biodiesel’s Worth

John Davis

It took them a little longer than they hoped, and it did involve one pit stop for fuel, but two ad men turned biodiesel advocates did finish a coast-to-coast run, entirely on biodiesel.

This post from the blog says Nik Bristow and Brian Pierce rolled into Los Angeles at just more than 38 1/2 hours after they left New York… retracing the route of the famous Cannonball Run. Traffic delays and a slight miscalculation on how full they filled some jerry cans of biodiesel to fill up their car along the way kept them from making their 36-hour goal… although they still averaged 75 mph:

“We could have planned a better arrival time than morning rush hour in Los Angeles,” Bristow told “We spent the last hour and a half in stop-and-go traffic. It was a little anti-climactic after driving across the country.”

The biodiesel evangelists set out to spread the gospel behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Jetta TDI loaded with jerrycans brimming with Willie Nelson’s own BioWillie fuel. They were about halfway across the country when they realized they were carrying less fuel than they thought and were gonna need more.

The guys got suspicious when they discovered they weren’t getting the fuel economy they were expecting. They were somewhere in Oklahoma when Pierce discovered why. “All our jugs had just four gallons instead of five,” Bristow says. “None of them was full. We were 15 gallons shy.” Realizing that might not be enough to finish the trip, they put out a call for help.

“A BioWillie fan drove up from Flagstaff to Phoenix with 15 gallons,” Bristow says. “He was a really cool old guy who showed up in an old Cadillac. I think he wanted to talk and take pictures. We jumped out, said “Hi nice to meet you,” Brian handed him some money and we jumped back in the car and drove off.”

It was the only stop they made… didn’t even take bathroom breaks (condom catheters… that’s how). Even when the wheels stopped moving and the boys changed seats, they kept the engine running.

But more importantly, they proved just how good biodiesel is, covering nearly 3,000 miles on 82 gallons of the green fuel… great mileage and fantastic performance… for 38 hours, 37 minutes and 41 seconds… from coast to coast.