TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Coolfuel TV Poster Image
Aussie's gas-free travels make for fun, informative TV.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series demonstrates that it's possible to find and use alternatives to gasoline on a daily basis. It also shows viewers the various ways that alternative fuels are already being used around the country.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Likable host Murphy cheerfully teaches viewers about harvesting and using alternative fuels.

Violence & Scariness

Occasional concerns about Murphy getting hit by a truck on the road and slamming into mountains in a wind glider. But luckily, none of these events ever happen.

Sexy Stuff

On one occasion, Murphy is shown changing his pants from a distance (no nudity is shown). During his trip through New York City, he meets the underwear-clad  “Naked Cowboy."


Various local waste recycling plants and other alternative fuel outlets are featured. Logos for local artisans and co-op groups like “City Organics” are vaguely visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this fun, informative series -- which follows Australian Shaun Murphy as he travels across America in alternative fuel-powered vehicles -- is pretty mild overall. The only stuff you might want to watch out for are occasional discussions about safety and potential accidents and rare (nonsexual) glimpses of men in their underwear.

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What's the story?

Following Australian Shaun Murphy and his Jack Russell terrier Sparky as they travel 16,000 miles across the United States, COOLFUEL demonstrates that it's possible to do it without using a single drop of gasoline. The duo instead rely on a variety of vehicles that are specifically engineered to run on "coolfuels" (alternative energy sources) like corn, cow dung, and soybeans. Along the way, he meets people who've found ways of reducing their dependency on gasoline and are working toward a greener environment.

Is it any good?

Coolfuel is both amusing and educational as Murphy and his advance crew explore America's geographical and cultural landscape while explaining the various ways that alternative fuels are being harvested around the country. It’s hard not to chuckle at some folks' reactions to Murphy's non-traditional way of traveling: Some of the team’s vehicles -- which range from a donut-powered Hummer to a motorcycle powered by cow dung -- are a little odd-looking, too.

The series teaches lots of great lessons about energy and our environment. While Murphy’s brief engineering explanations are simple enough for kids to follow, you don’t have to be a science fan to enjoy the gang's antics. More importantly, Murphy teaches by example, showing that anyone with a little ingenuity can find ways to make alternative fuels work for them. Overall, the show offers a truly enjoyable way to learn more about ways to help the planet. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the media's role in educating people about issues like environmentalism and conservation. Where else can you learn about these issues?

  • Are alternative fuels being used to power things in your community? Which ones?

  • If you were to travel cross-country without gas, what kind

  • of vehicle would you like to use? What kind of expertise would you need

  • to build it?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love being green

Themes & Topics

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