Neil Young – “Music just takes you wherever you want to go”
And, you know, Rudolph Diesel, who invented the diesel engine, it originally ran on peanut oil. Diesel fuel is not a petrol fuel. It’s not from Saudi Arabia or it’s not from the sands. Diesel fuel originally was grown. In Europe they’ve been using biodiesel for a long time. They use vegetable oil in cars like Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen. And cars made in Europe, the systems that drive them, they work really well just on pure vegetable oil, because they’re designed and there’s computers in ’em that make them burn the fuel a certain way. And we don’t have that in Fords and Chevys. They don’t have that technology, which is really too bad.
I mean, I think that’s one of the things that kind of bothers me about what’s going on today. We’ve got these huge vehicles — I’ve got nothing against a huge vehicle. You know, I’m a North American. We’ve got a lot of roads. And we’ve got a lot of space. And there’s nothing wrong with driving around in a big car.
But my car runs on biodiesel and it runs on vegetable oil, whatever I want. I’ve got an H1. I love to take it in the forest and I love to barrel down the highway at 70 miles an hour in it. I don’t care. You know, it’s a great vehicle. But you don’t have to burn petrol fuel to have a big vehicle. You don’t have to — if that’s what you want and you can take all your friends with you and you can go camping or you can do whatever you want to do and you can pull trees out and you can go down creekbeds with it, whatever you want to do. You don’t have to burn a bunch of petrol diesel.
ND: Well, since it’s the answer to dependence on foreign oil and a way to help the family farm, is what’s holding us back the fact that some of these automakers haven’t equipped their cars to employ it?
NY: There’s no equipping that really needs to be done to run on biodiesel.
ND: What’s holding us back?
NY: I don’t know….You might be looking at some of the reasons right on the street. So it’s just one of those things. We have to come to grips with it. You know, there’s very little that would have to be done to the whole infrastructure of this country. Let the farmers take care of a great percentage of our fuel needs.
Right now, there’s really enough usable land that’s being used to take care of ten percent of the diesel needs of the country. Now that doesn’t seem like much, but it — it’s interesting, if you take a little bit of biodiesel, a little bit of vegetable oil and put it in the mix with diesel fuel, then you don’t need the sulfur anymore for the diesel fuel. And the sulfur is what causes acid rain and causes all this ozone depletion. So you can clean the fuel up just by putting a little bit of this biodiesel in it.
There’s so many reasons to use it. People need to understand that a low percentage of biodiesel in your fuel, mixing it with petrol, takes away the sulfur that needs to be added to the petrol fuel to make it go bang and make the car go. That’s where the dirt is. That’s where the nasty stuff is that causes the acid rain and the ozone depletion. Unless you’re one of our government members and figures that those things really don’t cause ozone depletion. And then, in that case, you have no problem at all.
ND: You mentioned Farm Aid. This year is the 20th anniversary of Farm Aid. Can you tell me a couple of ways Farm Aid has made a difference and what can still be done, in kind of a nutshell?
NY: Well, what can still be done is, you know, we can just keep on going and keep on supporting the family farmer and keep on talking about what can be done. There are other plants that can be grown and can be processed into fuel. It’s a very clean way to go. The alternatives are scary. The future is big.
There’s a sliding scale of availability and consumption. Chinese people are starting to get to be more like Americans and Canadians. They’re starting to use a lot of things. They’re starting to like the big cars. They’re starting to do all the stuff we did. And now, they’re starting to consume at a greater rate than we are, which means that the price is going up. It could be $5 a gallon by the time Bush is out of office. Could be $10 a gallon. Who knows?
So ignoring it is not an answer. I mean, there was a candidate — and I’m not politicizing, so I’m not going to say which one it was. But there was one candidate that did say, “This is not a problem that you can drill your way out of. You’re going to have to invent your way out of it.” That is the one thing and the only thing said in the whole presidential campaign that I remember. It’s the only thing worth remembering. The rest of it is, you know, just kind of entertainment or something. I don’t know what it was.
ND: On “Falling Off The Face Of The Earth”, you look back on a relationship. The high parts of your voice, you hit a place in that song I don’t think I’ve ever heard you go before. It’s so tender and fragile and straight from the heart. How do you get there when your singing?
NY: You just go. You just go. There’s nothing to stop you. It’s a wide-open thing. You just go wherever you want to go. Nobody can stop you. You know, music just takes you wherever you want to go.