Kenny Anderson has been pro for a long time and his journey has been well documented. A little while ago we heard about Kenny’s car, a Mercedes that runs on alternative fuel. We met up with Kenny to find out more about his modified vehicle.
Kenny, you drive a car, that runs on vegetable oil, which is very cool. Not many skateboarders seem to care about the environment – how did you get into it?
I always liked cars so when a friend of mine started a business restoring cars, I bought one from him. This was about ten years ago, I bought an old diesel and I had already read a lot about modifying cars so you could run them on vegetable oil. I definitely have some political and environmental reasons to drive a modified car, but it’s more about having options. For me it’s comparable to skateboarding or art, you want to experiment and experience new things. For me personally, modifying my car was a big project to take on, similar to an art project so when it worked out I was pretty stoked…
So you had to modify your car?
Yes, a little bit but not too much, it’s not a big investment, especially when you think of all the money I save because of the modifications.
I saw a clip, in which you were going to the back of a restaurant to pick up the vegetable oil – how did this connection come about?
I called around and asked about ten different restaurants in the end only one said yes. The other nine looked at me like I was completely nuts or they would say:“ I’ll call you back “, but they never did… in the end there was one restaurant that was down to let me use their used oil, I think it was because the guy already heard about cars running on used vegetable oil, and they already had another guy, that picked up used oil for his car. I was lucky to find a place that would allow me to have their oil because driving a car on this kind of fuel is not too common in the area where I live in Los Angeles…
What do you have to do with the oil? Do you filter it?
Yeah, when I go to pick up the oil the restaurant has already filtered the oil once, then I transport the oil back home and filter it two more times… I know it sounds like a lot of work, but I have this machine that does the work for me, so it’s really quite simple…
How much do you have to pay for the oil?
Nothing, at all! But at the same time driving on vegetable oil is illegal in the states, which is something I find strange. Normally when you buy fuel, the road tax is included in the fuel price but since I use an alternative fuel I don’t contribute to this system. Which in turn means I don’t pay road tax, which is a crime. I don’t think it’s smart to say that in an interview though… (laughs). I know some other people that run their cars on veggie oil and some have a bumper sticker on their car that says: This vehicle runs on Vegetable oil. As a result of this some of them got pulled over by the cops and got a ticket. I haven’t received one yet though but I also don’t have a sticker on my car (laughs).
We as skateboarders use up a lot of trees and use epoxy glues which are not environmentally friendly, so is this a way to give back?
I think so, I’m not one to preach, but this is my way to do something! Sometimes kids come up to me and ask me to show them my car, and this is the way I like to promote vegetable oil as a fuel!
I like that you are using your status as a pro skater as a tool to promote something thats good for the environment!
As I said, I like it, but I’m going to preach or force people to choose my path. This is my way… For me personally it’s important to think outside the box and make decisions accordingly, especially when you have the chance to do so…
Did the modification of your car in anyway change your perspective on life in other aspects?
I guess so… The way you eat, growing your own food, things like that. Maybe using less… Biking more…
by Roland Hoogwater
Opener Photo: Brixton