Eco-Trekker: Driving Cross-Country Without Gas

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“I got to see America, but Shaun wasted the choicest restaurant scraps fueling engines instead of making them terrier treats for me.”


Aussie adventurer Shaun Murphy drove 16,000 miles across thirty U.S. states in thirty-five eco-friendly vehicles with his best pal, a terrier named Sparky. The catch? No gas!

THE CHALLENGE: Murphy–famed in Sydney, Australia, for his quirky, nature-based TV shows–think “green” Crocodile Hunter–circumnavigated America via a variety of eco-vehicles. On his Cool Gas Roadtrip–which lasted eight months between August 2003 and July 2004–Murphy motored in a jet-powered Chevy pickup fueled with soybean oil and cruised in a BMW Roadster that ran on corn whiskey.

WHY GO GASLESS: A horticulturist by training, Murphy is convinced biofuels are the wave of the future. “I wanted to make people aware that there are many ways to gather energy–and most of it’s grown on American farms.”

WEIRDEST TRANSPORT: Murphy drove from New Orleans to Texas in an H1 Hummer fueled by beignets, crawfish, corn whiskey, and soybeans. The Hummer is fitted with a “gasifier” that vaporizes the food and provides fuel for the engine.

FAVORITE E-MOBILE: Electra Cruiser, a Harley-Davidson look-alike powered by ten batteries charged on electricity generated from cow manure, sunshine, sugar, and wind. It achieves speeds of eighty miles per hour.

WILL WORK FOR FUEL: Murphy never paid a cent for fuel, but he did have to barter occasionally. He filled a Hummer with leftovers from a Cajun restaurant after washing dishes and prepping hundreds of shrimp.

UP NEXT: A thirteen-part television series Murphy hopes to broadcast in 2005. He may also write a book and is game for a follow-up tour. “There are potatoes and artichokes out there, just waiting.”


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