Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Across the Country on 10 Gallons of Gas

It sounds like a joke. Traveling 2,532 miles on only ten gallons of gas? But this professor is serious...and he's got the technology, prowess, and just enough crazy in his blood to do it!

Cliff Ricketts, a 63  year old professor of agricultural education at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, spent the past 34 years of his life researching alternative fuels. He announced his plans last week to travel from Georgia, to Long Beach, California. The idea stemmed from his fear of rising gas prices and the thought that if an oil crisis were to occur, people would need a backup option in case the price per gallon ramped up to $10 or more. As evidenced by my previous blog post back in January, the tell-tale signs are clear that gas isn't getting any cheaper!

Rickett's plan to drive this extraordinary distance is fueled, literally speaking, on the power of three specially equipped Toyota vehicles- a 1994 Tercer, and two Prii (the official plural form of Prius, according to Toyota!) 
Each of these vehicles is outfitted to run on a combination of compressed hydrogen, as well as solar power and an ethanol/gasoline mixture. Cliff would have used purely hydrogen, but could not secure all of the hydrogen tanks he needed in time for the trip.
He claims his motive is not so much an environmental message as it is a message on fuel efficiency. Now, flash forward and Cliff has done the unimaginable: he made it to his destination in not only record time but also using only two gallons of gasoline!

Cliff Ricketts Prius

His cross country journey took five days, and spanned from Tybee Island, Georgia, to Tennessee, and then through Arkansas, and then all the way out west to Long Beach. The majority of the trip was done on Interstate 40, not to be confused with the highway 40 that we all know and love in St. Louis!

After reaching Long Beach, Cliff walked onto the beach and dipped his toes into the Pacific Ocean. "I feel like I climbed Mount Everest," he said. "This has significance in life and it has significance for mankind."

Has the rising cost of gas changed your perception on hybrids like the Prius C, or alternative fuel vehicles? Where would you travel to if you could road trip with such an efficient vehicle? 

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