Bear Attacks Biodiesel Car

A man from Winsted, Minnesota believes the sweet smell of the vegetable oil he uses to fuel his car attracted a bear who damaged the vehicle trying to get at the biodiesel. Larry Joy said the bear shattered a window on his 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit, and tipped the plastic fuel tank on its side and gnawed on car hoses. He said the evidence included muddy paw prints around the broken window and a pool of cooking oil on the rear floorboard."I knew what it was after," Joy told The Sunday Republican of Waterbury. "I think it's cool that bears do whatever they want."

Joy uses a combination of diesel and vegetable oil left over from restaurant fry vats to power his car. He says it gets 44 miles per gallon. The car needs to be started using regular diesel because vegetable oil is too thick for the engine to handle. When a gauge indicates the engine coolant is at 90 degrees, it is warm enough to thin the biodiesel and Joy can flip a switch to change fuel tanks. When the coolant hits about 150 degrees, Joy said there is a sweet smell. "My neighbor said it smells like cheeseburgers," he said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection told Joy he should try to discourage the bear from returning by using bad-tasting bait. The agency recommended placing a balloon filled with water and ammonia and covered in cooking oil on his car.

:: Newsday.Com story

[by Justin Thomas]