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Greasy Rider: Two Dudes, One Fast-Food-Fueled Car, and a Cross-Country Trip in Search of a Greener Future

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  171 ratings  ·  63 reviews
Is it possible to drive coast-to-coast without stopping at a single gas pump? Journalist Greg Melville is determined to try. With his college buddy Iggy riding shotgun, this green-thinking guy—who's in love with the idea of free fuel—sets out on an enlightening road trip. The quest: to be the first people to drive cross-country in a french-fry car. Will they make it from V ...more
Paperback, 257 pages
Published October 21st 2008 by Algonquin Books
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Best Non-Fiction (non biography)
475th out of 3,122 books — 5,069 voters
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Community Reviews

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I expected Greasy Rider to be informative. I did not expect it to be funny. Greg Melville is a funny writer and managed to get me laughing out loud as he described car breakdowns, emotional breakdowns, snowstorms, a desperate search for fry oil, and the effect of death on travel writing (“If you die, it would really help me out,” he tells his wingman Iggy).

The book is the classic American road trip – green style. Melville does a wonderful job explaining both the mechanics – from a decidedly non
Hella Comat
Great 'documentary' of two men who challenge themselves to drive a converted car all the way across the U.S. using only scrounged used fryer oil from restaurant grease dumpsters-a French fry car. The author is a journalist, so the writing is very engaging and funny.

He intersperses the story of the trip with follow up visits he made to various sustainable or environmental organizations afterwards: Al Gore's house (it's not very green), solar powered Google headquarters, the Ethanol Council, and
Sep 21, 2008 Jane rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: green lifers, humor fans
Recommended to Jane by: Library Thing
Shelves: commentary
Take an Eastern liberal with no mechanical aptitude, pair him with a down-to-earth college friend who knows his way around an engine, and put them in a retooled Mercedes for an eight-day trip across the country while begging restaurants for fry-oil fuel -- and you'll have a laugh-aloud read that leaves you longing for French fries. Greg Melville & his pal Iggy travel from Burlington, Vermont to Berkeley, CA in the footsteps of cross-country driving pioneer H. Nelson Jackson, while searching ...more
Ben Nemivant
"Greasy Rider is a book about a journalist named Greg Melville who wants to drive from coast to coast without a single stop at the gas pump. Greg is very interested in cars and wants to save money. Greg Melville bought a used 1985 Mercedes station wagon to save money for his family. A good mechanic, Greg changes the car from a diesel running car to a vegetable oil car. Converting the car was no challenge for Greg at all. Greg decides to travel from Vermont to California with his college buddy Ig ...more
Tommy Roskos
Tommy Roskos
Ms. Peyman
English 1- Period B
5 December 2014

Book Review

Most people use motorized gasoline engine cars, others use electric cars. There is also
a small percentage of people who use vegetable oil for their cars. This book, Greasy Rider by
Greg Melville, talks about the journey of two guys experimenting vegetable oil for their cars.
The two guys take a tour across the USA to see how this can work. Throughout this book you
will find out how this new material is used in cars. They star
George Lupe
I read "Greasy Rider" by Greg Melville. This book is about two guys who want to see if they can make their way from Vermont to California without stopping at a single gas station. How is this possible? French fry grease is their answer. These guys have rigged up their engine so that it uses french fry grease as a fuel. Along the way, they stop at many energy plants to investigate greener alternatives to oil. They beg, steal, and hunt for grease on this hilarious yet eye opening journey.
I reall
Greasy Rider Algonquin Books
By Greg Melville Non-fiction 247 pages $15.95 ISBN-13: 987-1-56512-595-7

In 2008, Greg Melville drove from coast to coast on less than one tank of gasoline. How did he do it?, Easy by modifying his used 1980’s Mercedes diesel sedan into a green veggie oil burning vehicle. Greg Melville is a freelance journalist from Burlington, Vermont, who set out to look for a greener future. He has been published in magazines and newspapers such as Outside, Men’s Journal, National
Karen Ball
The author and his college best friend, Iggy, travel from Vermont to California in a 1985 Mercedes diesel station wagon that's been converted to run on vegetable oil. Their goal is to travel the entire way fueled by used (filtered) restaurant grease donations. On the way, Iggy challenges Greg to find out about renewable energy projects and "green" projects all over the country, and the story jumps back and forth between those trips to find out more about places like the Google headquarters and t ...more
Kat Shelton
May 17, 2009 Kat Shelton marked it as to-read
Book Jacket:

Journalist Greg Melville is determined to try. With his
college buddy Iggy riding shotgun, this green-thinking
guy--who's in love with the idea of free fuel--sets out
on an enlightening road trip. Their quest: to be the first
people to drive cross-country in a french-fry car. Will
they make it from Vermont to California in a beat-up 1985
Mercedes diesel station wagon powered by fryer oil
collected from restaurant grease Dumpsters along the way?
More important, can two guys survive 192 consec
Heather Shaw
In the breezy style indicating a membership in the Men’s Journal club (also required are a wife in charge and a rather substandard knowledge of how things really work), Greg Melville sets off from Vermont to Berkeley in a 1980s Mercedes wagon, converted to run on restaurant grease. A few miles out of town, “wingman” Iggy suggests a bet, that Melville can’t “extract a lesson” in sustainability from every day they’re on the road. Melville eventually agrees, although he’d rather that Iggy just die. ...more
Oct 18, 2008 Marguerite rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who are
Recommended to Marguerite by: this was a Goodreads book give-away win
Shelves: first-reads
Greasy Rider was an enjoyable story, that read more like a travel journal than a treatise on green practices. The story starts in Vermont, where the author lives, and details the triumphs as well as the trials and tribulations of attempting to drive a greasecar across the United States.
Greasecars convert diesel cars to burn fry-oil with a relatively inexpensive conversion kit. (a couple of thousand was mentioned, not the exact price) Once this conversion was completed, the author and his friend
Thomas C
book is titled “Greasy Rider” and is written by Greg Melville. I have never heard of Greg Melville before maybe because this book is just the story of his adventure across the country with an old college pal and his escape from a Wal-Mart hating wife. Greg Does an exceptional job in writing this book.

as I mentioned this is a book about Greg who buys an old Mercedes wagon and coverts it to run on filtered waste grease. Greg is given one week to make the journey from Vermont to California.
I never expected to find a nonfiction book about "going green" to be fun and entertaining to read. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Greg Melville and his friend Iggy as they traveled across the country in a veggie-oil powered car. The author used an effective mix of information and humor to get his points across.

I learned more than I knew before about different "green" options for car fuel, heating, cooling, and electricity. Fascinating stuff. The author gives examples of when our national gove
Oct 20, 2008 Cindy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: consumers and recyclers
Recommended to Cindy by: Good Reads!
This book was great! First of all, it was free, so that's always a bonus. But even if I had to pay for it, it would have been worth it.

Greg Melville wants a new truck. His wife wants something greener. Way greener. So he decides to get an old Mercedes with a diesel engine and convert it to run on old cooking oil. Then he gets inspired to take a road trip, using nothing but free recycled oil in his car. He calls up his old buddy Iggy and the two hit the road.

The title alone is a hint that this is
Oct 21, 2008 Greg rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Greg by: Goodreads Giveaways
Shelves: first-reads
I wasn't sure what to expect in this book. Would it be preachy? Would it just talk about the benefits of going green and ignore the current challenges and obstacles?

I was pleased to find that it's not preachy nor one-sided. As it turns out, having a grease-car and driving it across the country is possible, but not easy. Vegetable oil is smelly, gets everywhere on the clothes and bodies of the users, congeals in cold weather, isn't easy to acquire, and requires a petrodiesel starter before it ca
I'll start by admitting that this isn't my usual reading fare. I picked it up because the author is an old friend from grade school through high school.
I enjoyed this immensely. Mostly because I know the author and have a different insight than most readers would as would any of our old friends/classmates.
But the book did make me stop and think. I may very well pick up a couple of other books and do some research of my own. Ultimately, isn't that what a writer wants from his readership? To stop
Jalen Archie-davis
Oct 02, 2013 Jalen Archie-davis is currently reading it
I read the book Greasy Rider written by Greg Melville. This book was a joy to read. It was adventurous and it made the reader want to keep reading the next page. Greg Melville had great and honest intentions before, during, and after his road trip. His curiosity and writer instincts are what make the book a great joy to read. One thing that really made the book interesting was the conversations between Greg and Iggy. They discussed multiple things including environmental issues, who started the ...more
Greasy Rider (what a great title) combines elements from Horatio’s Drive (traveling cross country using new technology), Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods (just envision Iggy as the infamous Katz), A.J. Jacobs (kooky, funny experiments), and Mary Roach’s funny riffs on all things science. I learned that Al Gore is hypocritical at best, Google is as green a company as they come, and that switchgrass may well hold the key to our energy future. The “errands” which interrupt the chapters (they are c ...more
Colleen Mertens
This was an interesting story of two guys travelling across country in a veggie powered car. They watched the environmental impact of their choice and made some side adventures to investigate the impact of some individuals and companies on our environment. It was similar to Bill Bryson without as much sarcasm. Very good book.
Meh. A presumably middle-age guy and his friend drive an old Mercedes wagon powered on vegetable oil cross country. The book consists of chapters about the trip mixed with chapters about other environmental issues.

The trip isn't eventful enough, nor is the writer interesting enough, to be particularly enjoyable. Like a lot of authors who haven't had much experience with real life or real people, he's hard to relate to. He decides that a group of people in a large SUV must be miserable because th
This book was sent to me as a Library Thing Early Reviewer. It's about two guys that decide to make a cross-country trip in a Mercedes that has been converted to run on used vegetable oil. A "french fry" mobile for sure.

There are a lot of interesting side trips. They visit Al Gore's home which they consider to be the ideal Green home. They also visit Google headquarters which I found fascinating.

What I did not get from the book is their purpose. The author is a journalist of sorts so he attemp
Many thanks to Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill and Goodreads for the chance to read this book as an early release.
A well written book about going green in a greasy way! I enjoyed the perspective of this book, the idea that it is possible and not that far away necessarily to move away from guzzling gas.
The book spurred thoughts of other creative ways I can 'go green' in my life.
We need more environmentally conscious people sharing their good/creative/new ideas for conserving energy and moving away
this book is about two friends named greg and iggy and they go on an adventure from vermont all the way to califonia. on a "grease car" a mercedes that runs on vegetable car also known as the veggie car. on the way they meet al gore's house which is energy efficient. and companies that are also energy efficient. i would compare this book to the plot to save the planet. its about ways you could help with the planet and using energy effiecient appliances. i would rate this book five stars because ...more
Two men from Burlington, Vermont, buy a 20-year old Mercedes Diesel, and after some modifications, attempt to drive the vehicle to San Francisco buying no Petro Diesel en route. The fuel source is to be waste vegetable oil discarded by junk-food establishments. This clunker draws plenty of attention on the trip due to the fact that it smells like french fries. The author also presents his views on what is known today as alternate energy sources. He visits various locations and interviews experts ...more
I don't really "get" reviews stating that the author was sexist (or homophobic)? Immature perhaps.

I was slightly disappointed because I'd expected more of a travel narrative, but that angle was padded out with sidebars of trips (taken for the book, but not during the cross-country adventure itself) to places such as Fort Knox. I'd recommend this one as a read for folks with a serious interest in alternative-fuel options, esp vehicles.
Farewell, My Suburu would appeal somewhat more to the general
couldn't even finish it, the author trys in one breath to claim he's an environmentalist, and also says he couldn't possibly live without a plasma tv...

he has this idea to drive across country in a grease car, to raise awareness and use waste oil to get all the way across the country, but travelling 1/4 of the way still hasn't even stopped at a single restaurant to ask about waste oil, which he's afraid to do, and instead mooches off of people who already own grease cars. how does that raise awa
Frederick Bingham
The story of a guy driving across the country in a greasecar, i.e. powered by vegetable oil. It is part of the One Book One Community program sponsored by the NHC Library. The author shows how difficult it is to run a grease powered car. The problems were mainly constant mechanical breakdowns and difficulty finding fuel (used fry-oil). Along the way, the author visits the National Renewable Energy Lab in Colorado, Al Gore's mansion in Nashville, a "green" Wal-Mart and a wind farm in Minnesota.
It's kind of amazing that Greg Melville could find a way to work his homophobia and sexism into a book about running a car on grease. Wow. He is an uninformed, poor writer who thinks Wal-Mart is cool. He also is under the delusion that he was the first person to drive cross-country using WVO. What??? This was done a decade ago. Ultimately, Greasy Rider is a marginal attempt at educating run of the mill liberals how to rethink their energy consumption. Try books by Lyle Estill or Greg Pahl instea ...more
First of all I thank the publishers for giving away a copy of the book to me. I found it really interesting, funny and informative at the same time. What I learnt from reading is that it is not always easy or convenient to adopt alternate, renewable energy sources - particularly if you have a grease car in Nebraska...but thanks to so many people who are "unreasonable" in their own little ways, albeit for business and profit in some cases, there is hope for progress and a better future...
This is much more than just a story about two guys who set out in their old Mercedes, which has been converted to use vegetable oil, to travel from Vermont to California. Along the way, they make certain stops to check out "green" places. I thought they could have written a bit more about the places they visited, but, overall, this is a good read!

Definitely recommended for anyone interested in weaning off oil! It definitely did not come easy for them, but a good adventure.....
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Schumpp, EII Hono...: Greasy Rider 1 1 Apr 29, 2014 09:10AM  
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Is it possible to drive coast-to-coast without stopping at a single gas pump?

Perhaps driving from Vermont to California in a beat-up 1985 Mercedes station wagon powered on vegetable oil collected from restaurant grease dumpsters along the way isn't the most ideal way to travel, but journalist Greg Melville is determined to try. With his college buddy Iggy riding shotgun, these green-thinking guysw
More about Greg Melville...
Greasy Rider: Two Dudes, One Fry-Oil-Powered Car, and a Cross-Country Search for a Greener Future

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