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Environmentally Friendly Bus Stops In Oklahoma

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The smell of soybeans wafted through the air Tuesday as a green school bus powered with vegetable oil made a pit stop at a youth camp in Oklahoma City.

Loaded with eight recent college graduates from the University of California, Santa Barbara, the Moishe Mobile is making its way from California to the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn.

``We're kind of a traveling circus of environmentalism, music and art,'' said Levi Felix, 22, who helped coordinate the cross-country trip. ``We're trying to inspire people to make changes in their lives, whether it's sustainability, environmentalism or just getting people to discuss what they're doing to make the world a better place.''

On Tuesday, the lime-green bus, adorned with solar panels for powering the group's cell phones and laptop computers, parked at Temple B'Nai Israel in northwest Oklahoma City, where students at Camp Chaverim had a chance to tour the bus and learn about ways to protect the environment.

``I think it's cool how all the stuff is powered by vegetable oil,'' said 11-year-old Kendall Bleakley of Oklahoma City. ``And how they charge the cell phones.''

The message touted by those involved with the Moishe Mobile fits nicely with one of the themes of this year's Camp Chaverim, which is a focus on the environment, said Marcy Price of the Jewish Federation of Oklahoma City.

``How cool is it for our own kids to be able to pour vegetable oil into a bus that's going to power them all the way across the country?'' Price said. ``We knew our campers would learn by doing, and this was a perfect opportunity for them.''

Outfitted with a special converter, the bus can run on straight vegetable oil, filtered waste vegetable oil, biodiesel or standard diesel fuel. The clean-burning vegetable oil allows the bus to get from 10 to 16 miles per gallon on the highway, Felix said. The oil generally costs about $16 for a 4.8-gallon container, but on Tuesday the group received some free ``fuel'' from the Oklahoma City campers.

Felix said each of the eight UCSB alumni on the bus brings a different area of expertise to the mission, from solar power and composting to art, Tai Chi and organic food. They plan to host workshops along the way and at the Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee.

The Moishe Mobile already visited a farmer's market in Flagstaff, Ariz., and will next stop in Little Rock, Ark., before continuing on to Tennessee, Felix said.

``Go to festivals and you'll meet people from all over,'' said Aaron Small, 24, of Encino, Calif. ``It's great to be able to provide a spiritual connection and create community with so many people at Bonnaroo.''

At Bonnaroo, where dozens of bands will play at the four-day music festival in rural Manchester, about 65 miles south of Nashville, Felix said the crew will be working with Clean Vibes, an organization that will divert and sort through more than one million pounds of waste generated by concertgoers.
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