Car of the Future Open Production

My Car of the Future, Today

Cynthia Shelton
San Bruno, California
VegOil Mercedes 220D

Shelton vehicle

I drive a well-preserved burgundy 1973 Mercedes 220D. I bought it off the Internet after my Colt Vista died and I vowed to no longer drive gas-powered or computerized cars. Converting an elderly car to drive on VegOil became my solution. I love my car. Probably too much.

VegOil is the sister fuel to BioDiesel. Both begin with vegetable oil as a base. BioDiesel uses the transesterification process with alcohol and lye to remove the fatty glycerin from the oil. VegOil merely melts the glycerin to get the same viscosity. For BioDiesel, the fuel is altered but can be used in a regular diesel vehicle. For VegOil, the diesel vehicle is altered.

VegOil is still too much of a lifestyle choice for most people. Much research is needed to standardize the fuel and the conversion kits to melt the oil. Thousands of people drive on VegOil successfully all over the world. The fact that no fueling infrastructure exists and the industry is still developing does not deter me from sharing this renewable option with the public. For this reason I founded the National VegOil Board, a non-profit organization focused on the education about, promotion of, and research into VegOil. It is an idea whose time has come.

I invite you to see the National VegOil site at and hear the independent audio series I created about VegOil, which aired on several NPR stations across the country:

See other Cars of the Future, Today.

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Shelton and her vintage, VegOil Mercedes take a break in Montrose, Colorado, during a cross-country drive in January 2005.

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