Willie Nelson Introduces Alternative Fuel

Thursday, February 9th 2006, 11:04 am
By: News On 6

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Country singer Willie Nelson introduced California to ``BioWillie,'' his brand of clean-burning fuel made from soybeans.

BioWillie went on sale Wednesday at an alternative fuel station in San Diego where the 72-year-old singer filled his tour bus from a pump emblazoned with a picture of himself strumming a guitar.

``It is the future,'' Nelson said. ``Through biodiesel, we can reduce dependency on foreign oil and adopt an energy source that's clean renewable and helps family farmers find new uses for their products.''

Biodiesel is America's fastest growing alternative fuel, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. U.S. sales of biodiesel tripled last year to 75 million gallons, but account for less than 1 percent of the diesel fuel sold nationwide, said Jenna Higgins, a spokeswoman for the National Biodiesel Board.

Three years ago, Nelson's wife, Annie, bought a biodiesel-burning car in Hawaii, where the star has a home. The biodiesel that powered her car was made from grease collected from restaurants.

The singer then began filling his tour buses with biodiesel. Supplier Peter Bell persuaded Nelson to go into business and use his name and image to help the fuel gain wider acceptance.

The BioWillie brand, known as B20, is a blend of 80 percent petroleum diesel and 20 percent biodiesel and is made from soybean oil.

In addition to California, it is sold in Texas, South Carolina and Georgia.