Not the first time the budding-popstar world of American Idol has crossed paths with trucking in this blog, the singing competition, a veritable reality-television institution now entering its 10th season, has gotten so entrenched in the cultural imagination that it’s already in the business of showcasing the kitsch items marking its history, an area once the province of, well, country music museums in my hometown, among other less stationary endeavors.
According to a press release from none other than the folks at the Diesel Technology Forum, today, coinciding with the first episode of a new American Idol season, a bus tour also began to feature “Idol memorabilia, including framed platinum records, a Ryan Seacrest suit, Carrie Underwood’s finale dress and David Cook’s guitar.”
The reason the DTF was writing about the show is perhaps more interesting to most of you, I’d imagine. The show’s choice of bus gave a high-profile endorsement of sorts to a fuel that may have seen better days, what with the Willie’s Place bankruptcy filing last year and economic conditions taking a bit of the wind out of the sails of the green movement toward “America’s first advanced biofuel,” as the DTF calls biodiesel.
“By choosing a clean diesel bus fueled with biodiesel fuel, American Idol made an excellent choice toward being environmentally-friendly while still having the power and fuel-efficiency needed to complete this grueling, four-week, 16-city national tour that ranges across the entire United States,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the DTF. “Unlike other alternative fuels, advanced clean diesel engines using home-grown quality biodiesel fuels can serve every community throughout the country. Diesel power is the American Idol of clean energy.”
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.