LAKE GEORGE - With the environmentally devastating oil spill in the Gulf raising questions about our society's insatiable dependency on oil and its disastrous consequences, one Lake George man can apparently breathe a little easier than the rest of us.
Smell his car's exhaust, and you can figure out who can feel a lighter burden of guilt than the average U.S. citizen.
Take a whiff - it smells like fried chicken and french fries.
John Carr, owner of Adirondack Pub & Brewery and Moose Tooth Grill on Canada Street, recycles his restaurants' fryer oil and uses it virtually exclusively to power his automotive travel.
Carr simply filters his used canola oil and pours it into a fuel tank of his almond-colored 1983 Mercedes 300D sedan, fires it up, and takes off.
The exhaust emissions are supposed to be far less polluting and noxious than fossil fuel emissions, and driving on used vegetable oil is re-using a renewable resource that would otherwise be disposed of.
He recently demonstrated the purity of his fuel, as he stuck his finger into his fuel tank and licked it.
He said driving 1,600 miles on canola oil produces less pollution than driving on one gallon of fossil fuel.
"I love this car and the fact it's the most environmentally responsible automobile around," he said.
It also means he can keep his cash in his wallet rather than spending a lot of it on fuel. Also, his use of used fryer oil means he doesn't have to pay hundreds of dollars annually to dispose of it.
Carr said about four years ago, a friend of his suggested he recycle his canola oil and save money while boosting the environment.
He bought the Mercedes soon after, and studied the technology involved in accomplishing a few simple modifications to the fuel system - it took him about 20 hours of work to fashion the simple devices.