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Driving Cross-Country on 10 Gallons of Gas

Dr. Cliff Ricketts stands next to the specially adapted 1994 Toyota Tercel that is part of his alternative-fuels fleet of vehicles for a cross-country spring break trip. (MTSU file photo)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)   --  A team of researchers from Middle Tennessee State University are attempting to drive cross-country this week on less than 10 gallons of gasoline.

MTSU Professor Cliff Ricketts, six students, and a couple of alumni volunteers were on schedule to pass through Oklahoma City at noon Tuesday on their way to Long Beach California.  They’re driving experimental hybrid vehicles that run on a variety of energy sources, including solar, hydrogen gas, ethanol and gasoline.

"Last fall - a year ago - we went across the state just off sun and water. This year, our goal is to go from coast to coast on less than 10 gallons of gasoline. Actually, the way we're moving so far, we're going to get to Oklahoma City today and we're only going to have used a half-a-gallon of gas."

Rickets is a professor with the MTSU School of Agriculture and says his research is aimed at making American farmers energy independent. He started researching alternative fuels nearly 40 years ago during the Arab Oil Embargo of the late 1970s.

The team is traveling at about 60 miles an hour and hopes to arrive on the West Coast Thursday evening.