Fuel for the Future

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It took a war halfway around the world to make yoga teacher Scott Blossom consider vegetable oil in a new light. Just weeks after the Iraq war began, he bought a biodiesel car that runs on the stuff. "It was my way of protesting the war," he says, "and of reducing my dependence on fuel from that part of the world." Blossom, who lives in Berkeley, California, is among a growing number of yogis, celebrities, and ordinary people who are jumping on the biodiesel bandwagon.

Though the word "diesel" may conjure up images of smelly, exhaust-belching buses, biodiesel—essentially a chemically altered form of vegetable oil or animal fat—is an extremely clean-burning fuel. With few or no modifications, any diesel engine can be converted to run on it. It's available at a small but increasing number of gas stations nationwide, as well as from specialized distributors.

Biodiesel is a bit pricier than regular diesel, but it gets an A+ on its environmental report card. Compared with regular diesel, soybean and recycled cooking-oil-derived biodiesel cuts carbon dioxide emissions by 78 percent over the life of the car. It also cuts particulates—implicated in asthma and cancer—by almost half.

For Blossom, driving a vegetable-powered car is a way to extend his yoga practice. "Yoga isn't just about poses," he says. "It's about taking the yamas seriously and not harming the planet."

To learn more, visit www.biodiesel.org.