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'Rock stars don't need oil,' Neil Young says

By Brad Lendon, CNN
updated 2:25 PM EST, Tue January 14, 2014
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Neil Young doesn't agree with the Canadian government's claim that even rock stars use oil.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Neil Young doesn't agree with the Canadian government's claim that even rock stars use oil.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Young is on a concert tour to protest oil sands projects
  • The Canadian prime minister's spokesman says even rock stars need oil
  • Young says he doesn't need it for his "Lincvolt" modified Lincoln

(CNN) -- Rock icon Neil Young and the Canadian government don't see eye to eye on the country's oil sands energy projects and they most definitely have different views on how rock stars live.

Young, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, began a four-stop concert tour this week to support the efforts of First Nations indigenous groups to stop the mining of the oil sands, a process in which the heavy crude is extracted from the sand, minerals and water with which it is mixed.

Young says the mining damages the environment and the Canadian government is not honoring treaty obligations with First Nations groups in allowing it, according to CBC News reports.

The government says the mining benefits Canada's economy and standard of living.

"The resource sector creates economic opportunities, and employs tens of thousands of Canadians in high wage jobs, contributing to a standard of living that is envied around the world, and helping to fund the programs and services Canadians rely on," Jason MacDonald, a spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said Monday, according to a CBC report.

"Even the lifestyle of a rock star relies, to some degree, on the resources developed by thousands of hard-working Canadians every day," MacDonald continued. And that's where Young begs to differ.

"Rock stars don't need oil," Young replied in a statement, according to the CBC. "I drove my electric car from California to the Tar sands and on to Washington DC without using any oil at all and I'm a rock star. My car's generator runs on biomass, one of several future fuels Canada should be developing."

There's evidence to back up Young on that point. In a blog post dated September 3, he talks about driving his "Lincvolt," a modified 1959 Lincoln Continental, on a trip from San Francisco to Alberta.

"On my recent trip to Fort Mac in Alberta, I drove Lincvolt about 1800 miles from San Francisco running on Cellulosic Ethanol fuel. I have chosen to use Ethanol, a much cleaner fuel created from plants nourished by the sun and rain and grown by farmers rather than run on gasoline," Young's blog post said.

It does go on to point out that on the way out of Alberta, Young ran out of the ethanol fuel for the Lincvolt and couldn't find any in Canada.

No word on how he got the car back on the road. Let's hope it didn't require a tow truck because, then, a rock star would need oil. Maybe.

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