Spud battles the Energy Crisis!
The soaring fuel costs in North America have been taking a toll on Spud's pocketbook. His livery of automobiles are gas guzzlers in their own right, but with Spud's lead foot he finds the needle on the gas gauge moves a lot faster than the needle on his speedometer! With the energy pinch eating away at his precious travel budget, the tater had to do something to combat the meteoric rise of petrol.
The newspapers were claiming that the Organization for the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) were systematically driving the price of a barrel of oil up and with it the cost of gasoline. All Spud knew was that a certain Oil Baron president & a clique of sheiks were getting richer and this tapped-out tater was getting poorer.
Spud knew that Canada is teeming with natural resources, and the country had to have its own stockpile of oil. Convinced that he could get his own gasoline out of the ground rather than continue to pay the exorbitant costs of the big oil companies, the potato scoured reference books and found that Canada was indeed rich with oil reserves. In fact, the book stated that the world's largest oil production occurred in Rocanville, Saskatchewan, right in the heart of the Prairie. Without missing a beat, the tato jumped into his Jeep, hooked up a U-Haul trailer packed with empty jerry cans and blazed across the country.
After a two day drive across the never ending flat lands of the Canadian Prairie, Spud came upon Rocanville; a tiny hamlet surrounded by an endless sea of gently waving canola and a silence broken only by the wind. For the centre of the world's oil production, it certainly seemed to be a lot calmer than what he expected. Double-checking his book, the potato noticed his thumb had been covering one key piece of information...Rocanville was the world's largest producer of oil 'cans'. To honour this grand accomplishment, the town folk had erected the world's largest oil can at the east end of the village: an exact replica of the design patented by inventor Ernie Symons in Rocanville back in 1923.
Undaunted, Spud still knew that there was gas to be had coursing beneath the very ground on which he stood. Determined to cash in, the tato pulled out a shovel and began digging...and digging...and digging...and digging. Two weeks later, Spud was either going to hit China or paydirt. Fortunately, his efforts paid off as a tiny pool began to appear at his feet, roughly a mile and a half beneath the earth's surface.
Soon the pool began to fill rapidly and gushed toward the surface, carrying the potato back toward daylight at breakneck speed. The side dish exploded from the hole in a violent eruption and was launched into a field near the Manitoba border. Rushing back to the site, the hole continued to belch a thick black fluid into the sky. The tater had hit oil, but what he really needed was gasoline.
Leafing through his book again, Spud found a section that provided easy to follow instructions on how to convert the oil into gas. The book explained that Spud would have to perform fractional distillation to separate the black crude oil into groups of hydrocarbons. He would have to heat the oil until it boils and then pass it into a distillation tower where he would then need to pipe off the resulting vapours as they condense within the bubble cap. From there all he'd have to do was crack the longer chain hydrocarbons by heating them under pressure to high temperatures in an atmosphere of hydrogen. Once that's done, he can just filler'up and he's good to go.
The potato's eyes glazed over the 'easy to follow' instructions. Suddenly, paying a couple of bucks per gallon at the pump didn't seem all that unreasonable.