Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Willie Nelson is getting into the biodiesel industry. The Arizona Central:

On the Road Again means something new for Willie Nelson these days - a chance for truckers to fill their tanks with clean-burning biodiesel fuel. Nelson and three partners recently formed Willie Nelson's Biodiesel, which is marketing the fuel to truck stops. The product, called BioWillie, is made from vegetable oils, mainly soybean, and can be burned without modifying diesel engines.

It may be difficult to picture the 71-year-old hair-braided Texas rebel as an energy company executive, but the singer's new gig is in many ways about social responsibility - and that is classic Nelson. "There is really no need going around starting wars over oil. We have it here at home. We have the necessary product, the farmers can grow it," Nelson said. Nelson said last week that he began learning about the product a few years ago after his wife purchased a diesel car in Hawaii, where the star has a home. "I got on the computer and punched in biodiesel and found out this could be the future," said Nelson, who now uses the fuel for his cars and tour buses.

Peter Bell, a Texas biodiesel supplier, struck up a friendship with Nelson after filling up one of the tour buses, and the business partnership came together just before Christmas.

..."What Willie brings to this is the ability to communicate directly with a truck driver. That kind of community is hard for people to get to," Bell said. "When he starts talking, these folks really listen to him. ... It's like having Tiger Woods talk about golf clubs."
A few thoughts about this: Every news outlet I read used some kind of reference to "On the Road Again" when reporting this story. I love the idea of Willie Nelson sitting down at the computer and typing "biodiesel" into a search engine. And having Willie Nelson talk about biodiesel is not exactly like having Tiger Woods talk about golf clubs. It's more like having Tiger Woods talk about golf carts. If Willie Nelson were to lend his name to a guitar, that would be like Tiger Woods talking about golf clubs. Nevertheless, I'm listening, which is like Tiger Woods listening to NPR.

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