The NAFTC held its 2007 summer business meeting in Gardiner, Montana, just outside the picturesque Yellowstone National Park. Many of the NAFTC member representatives hopped on planes and then rented vehicles to reach the remote destination, but one adventurous member chose another route and pulled into Yellowstone driving a biodiesel-fueled pickup truck! Larry Taylor of Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Michigan decided to make the NAFTC summer business meeting part of a summer getaway with his wife. His interest in alternative fuels prompted him to fire up his 1999 Ford diesel pickup and make the trip pulling his 29-foot camper using 99 percent biodiesel!
Larry and his wife mapped out their route to Yellowstone based on the locations of biodiesel retailers. “We left Michigan with 120 gallons of biodiesel on board and were able to time it just right to top off the tanks at an agricultural co-op in Iowa City, Iowa. After that, we calculated that we would not be able to purchase biodiesel until we arrived in Montana,” recounted Larry.
Larry hoped to make the entire trip using only 99 percent biodiesel, but the couple found fewer biodiesel retailers than initially expected. In fact, according to Larry’s research, the closest biodiesel retailer is 250 miles roundtrip from where the couple stayed in Gardiner, Montana. After the couple’s extended stay at Yellowstone’s Painter Outpost, they were forced to fuel up using a 10 to 15 percent mix until they reached Mt. Vernon, South Dakota. There they were able to fill up with 105 gallons of 99 percent biodiesel for the rest of their journey home.
As an alternative fuels enthusiast, Larry has concerns in terms of biodiesel and other such fuels growing in popularity. “My concern is that for people to use biodiesel there needs to be more convenient access to it. Most people want to pull off the highway into a fuel station, purchase their fuel, and be on their way again without driving miles off the beaten path. As a supporter of the use of alternative fuels, I will continue work to get pumps more accessible in my area and to promote the awareness of what alternative fuels are available.”