This isn't a road picture, though. Nor is it a condemnation of the oil industry. Rather, it's somewhere in between, and it's our pick for free movie of the day. The 2006 documentary 'Greasy Rider' follows filmmakers Joey Carey and JJ Beck as they travel cross-country in a 1981 Mercedes-Benz 300d modified for $800 to run on waste vegetable oil.
This isn't a road picture, though. Nor is it a condemnation of the oil industry. Rather, it's somewhere in between, and it's our pick for free movie of the day.
The filmmakers begin their journey in Woodstock, N.Y., and travel as far south as New Orleans and as far north as Seattle. Along the way they meet fellow green car enthusiasts looking to do their part to help the environment and simultaneously save money, amused bystanders who want to smell their exhaust, and critics who dismiss the burning of vegetable oil as a crackpot notion.
Their beat-up Mercedes is outfitted with a Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO) system and is powered by grease found at restaurants. Since restaurants treat grease as a disposable by-product, and some actually pay to get rid it, fuel for cars equipped with oil-burning systems is essentially free. It also yields mileage roughly the same as traditional fuel.
Interspersed with commentary by philosopher/political analyst Noam Chomsky, Morgan Freeman, Tommy Chong and Yoko Ono, as well as the founders of companies who manufacture vegetable conversion kits like Greasecar, Frybrid, Greasel and Deep Fried Rides, the film underscores America's addiction to petroleum and outlines vegetable oil as a potential, if somewhat on-the-fringe, alternative.
Most people aren't ready to siphon used cooking oil out of a local Wendy's grease trap for fuel, but as fossil fuel continues to take an undeniable toll on the environment, it's gratifying to know that the free-thinking individuals in "Greasy Rider" are exploring an alternative that could one day become widely recognized.