The Serbian Taxi... of Gold! : Daydreaming Madeleine Brand explains how her iconclast husband, Joe, got her hooked on biofuels.
NPR logo The Serbian Taxi... of Gold!

The Serbian Taxi... of Gold!


Photo by Madeleine Brand, NPR

I don't think he'd be offended if I told you that my husband is a weirdo. Ok, maybe that's a bit strong. He's an iconoclast.

When we first moved out to LA from New York, he wanted to live in a shipping container. I thought maybe it would be a bit cramped. A bit freezing/boiling in the winter/summer. I was pregnant at the time, and not into experimental nesting. Of course, within a year, it would be uber-hip to have your home made out of shipping containers from here to China.

Score one for Joe.

Joe, of course, doesn't see his far-sightedness as a competition. (And he also can't help butting in on my blog post to explain his thinking.) "I grew up in Buffalo," explains Joe, "which is all about decay and rust and old buildings. I was excited by the prospect of California's wide open space, light and sun. I thought you could live in anything. A yurt, e.g.. And then my inner-Rust Belt thought: why not shipping containers?"

Thanks, honey. Back to my story now.

Joe's french fry oil burning engine Madeleine Brand, NPR hide caption

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Madeleine Brand, NPR

Next, Joe announced he was buying a used Mercedes Benz diesel station wagon so that he could convert it to run on veggie oil. I did the equivalent of a "that's nice, dear" and leased my own brand-new car. (Leased? Brand new? What would Michelle Singletary say?)

But this was before gas was $1,000/ gallon. Now things are a little different. Score two for Joe.

After my lease was up this year, guess what I bought? It's gold, with tinted windows. I call it my Serbian taxi.

And it runs on veggie oil....that we buy for $2.25/gallon.

Now, who's the weirdo?


Photo by Gary Dauphin, NPR

For more information on converting your car to veggie oil, visit Lovecraft Biofuels. Do you have your own biofuel/veggie oil/iconclast husband story to share? Tell us about it in the comments.