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"The Veggie Van Voyage"

Great film, which PBS ought to pick up, talking about using regular vegetable oil to power up our own vehicles.

I was rather skeptical having to watch and review this, but because gasoline prices continually fluctuate, perhaps it may be time. This was released in 2003, so twelve years later, it makes me wonder: will biodiesel become the topic of talk again?

The movie itself wasn't much to see. Producer Tickell claims the film took six years to complete, and being that these were the days before USB handheld cameras were easily accessible let alone the rise of DVD format, I can understand. However, the film never offered much in terms of the positive effects using biodiesel. Only twelve minutes long, Tickell did break down the good use of biodiesel and why in the Interview video, clocked at thirty minutes.

"'People see the film and think "my God, this is amazing! This tells the whole story!"'"
- Josh Tickell

All I saw were the ingredients in making your own biodiesel, and a huge van touring around the US. Also saw a clip of Tickell getting a ticket from a police officer.

This might be a video you'd see on public television, and while it had that distinctive feel of an informative documentary on public TV, I wanted more information. The film tells me to go to their website for just that, though it was partially conveyed in Tickell's interview. Relatively, this DVD is a marketing ploy; Nothing wrong with that, but for someone who doesn't mind an excellent, cheaper alternative to gasoline, I need to be persuaded and why I should switch. How about the science of biodiesel? The effects on the car's transmission? To folks unfamiliar with this kind of oil, you also want to let them in to this low-budget alternative. Granted, I'm not sure if persuasion was the point of the film, let alone the DVD, but in order for the country to push into such thing, more needs to be said. As for making your own biodiesel, all that's required are vegetable oil, Methanol and Lye. During the tour around the country, facts and quotes where stated that were not verbally said:

There are more than 3 billion gallons of used fryer oil produced in the United States each year...

"When they stopped for a fill-up, it was not at a service station, but at a McDonald's or Kentucky Fried Chicken..." - LA Times

"First came the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile, which travels the country celebrating a particular kind of fast food. Now comes the Veggie Van, which is powered by fast food." - LA Times

Biodiesel is less toxic than table salt and biodegrades faster than sugar

Biodiesel runs in all diesel engines

Biodiesel is grown by American farmers on American soil

Biodiesel can also be made from beef fat

Biodiesel reduces cancer-causing emissions by up to 75%

"Powered by fast food?" Considering that many folks are dining from food trucks and hole-in-the-wall restaurants, fast food chains aren't getting much traction considering the delicious gourmet choices out there for nearly the same price. This must mean fast food chains have so much oil in the kitchen going unused, and having to stop at one to fill up may be weird but if it works, it works.

For the interview, Tickell states that biodiesel is used in post office trucks, thinks it should be used on school buses as diesel is cancer-causing and taxes and regulations come into play, saying that it costs the same amount as regular fuel, but costs under $1 to produce.

"Biodiesel should be a major political priority in this country. People need to realize that this is a fuel that can help farmers, it can give people in America jobs, and it can move this country forward."
- Josh Tickell

Along with the photos of the tour is the contact info:

Join the Biodiesel Revolution
online at: www.veggievan.org
email: Tickell@veggievan.org

mail: 1000 Bourbon Street #354
New Orleans, LA 70116

Other than that, so many things could have improved this film. I understand the budget which graphically makes the movie very "film school" quality-wise, but if more information was provided, and a little more push in persuading folks to make the switch, I think this DVD would score better.





  • A fantastic topic that needs more attention.
  • Great alternative to challenge the gasoline-digging status quo.
  • Potential to be shown on public television.
  • Not much scientific information, proving the positive effects of using vegetable oil.
  • As of current, biodiesel has been frequently overshadowed by social issues.
  • Citizens continue to stop by fast food places for food, not cooking oil for their vehicles (yet).
50% (F-)
Fan Rating
Title The Veggie Van Voyage
Description Here's one slick solution big oil can't keep down. It's called "The Veggie Van" and it's powered by...vegetable oil.

Keen to clean America's highways, this flower-powered van takes fast food fryer oil and turns it into clean "biodiesel" fuel.

We join Joshua Tickell, filmmaker and author of the cult hit book "From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank," on a fossil-free road trip around the United States.
ISBN / Bar Code number 0-9707227-3-7 / 9 780970 722737
Video Format 1.33:1 (4:3) / Full screen
Audio Format Stereo
Disc Count One (1)
Language(s) English
Genre Other
Subtitles --
Rated Not Rated
Region Region 1 - NTSC
Specification Color
Features [MAIN MENU]: (1. Play Movie, 2. Director's Interview, 3. Photos, 4. Contact Info)
Production © 2003 Joshua Tickell Productions / Laguna Productions
Company The Veggie Van Organization
Item / Product Number ????
Closed Captioning --
DVD Release 2003
Run Time Approx. 12:10 (1, Splash intro - 00:06, 2. Play Movie - 12:05, 3. Director's Interview - Watch Entire Interview: 25:27, 4. Photos - 4:30, 5. Contact Info - 0:00 Total DVD time: 0:34:49)
Copyright © 2003 Joshua Tickell Productions/The Veggie Van Organization. All rights reserved.
Other Formats Book (paperback)
Quoted Reviews "A nation's craving for fast food and fast cars all boils down to a flowered van that smells like a french fry" - The Today Show
Other Raised in Louisiana and Australia, Joshua Tickell is a writer and filmmaker who focuses on sustainable energy. He has been interviewed on The Today Show, CNN and the Discovery Channel. He lectures at universities in the United States, Australia, and Latin America. He resides in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Produced and Directed by
Joshua Tickell

Missy Goldberg

Joshua Tickell
Chas Ferry

Sound Design
Chas Ferry

Music Editing
Chas Ferry

CGI Effects
Missy Goldberg

"Bio-diesel Van"
by Melissa Crabtree © 2002 BMI

"Alternative Fuel"
by Rachel Garlin © 2002 BMI

"From the Fryer to the Van"
by Chas Ferry ©2003 Chas Ferry

"Takin' a Trip in the Veggie Van"
by Jenny Redding and Chas Ferry
©2003 Chas Ferry

Special Thanks to:

The New College of South Florida
The National Biodiesel Board
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory
The Long John Silvers Corporation
The Wendy's Corporation
The Calvert Group
Home Depot
Putamayo Records
Deep E. Co.
The Ben and Jerry's Foundation
The Real Goods Solar Living Center
Green Mountain Energy
The NBC Today Show
Fox News
The Discovery Channel
Reuters Television
Jim Naylor KAHI Radio AM 950
JK Productions
The Los Angeles Times
The Associated Press
Home Power Magazine
National Public Radio
The Jim Hightower Radio Program
88.5 WMNF
Dean Woolstenhulme
Jonalyn Budzik

Personal Thanks to:

My Family and Friends who
continue to put up with me.

Kaia Roman.

And the many individuals who
made the first Veggie Van Voyage
possible - it would never have
happened without you.

For technical and regulatory information
on biodiesel:

A Joshua Tickell Production

Copyright 2003
Joshua Tickell Productions &
The Veggie Van Organization.
All Rights Reserved.

Join the Biodiesel Revolution


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