SAN FRANCISCO --- Author and filmmaker Josh Tickell has embarked on a transcontinental tour driving a modified Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid, which runs on electricity and a fuel mixture that includes algae-based biofuel from Sapphire Energy. 

Tickell's tour includes stops at nearly a dozen U.S. cities before arriving in New York City on Sept. 18. His car, dubbed the Algaeus, can travel 150 miles on a gallon of fuel. The tour is promoting green energy solutions and the opening of Tickell's upcoming documentary, "Fuel." The tour is sponsored by the Veggie Van Organization, which Tickell founded.

The vehicle is based on a 2008 Toyota Prius with an added battery pack, a plug and an advanced energy management system. The gasoline blend is a complete drop-in replacement to fossil gasoline. The engine of the Algaeus has not been modified.

"At Sapphire Energy, we recognize that the world needs a new generation of transportation fuels that are low carbon, produced domestically and can spur economic growth," said Jason Pyle, CEO of Sapphire Energy. "Through our partnership with the Veggie Van Organization and "Fuel" producers to test drive the Algaeus, we're one step closer to proving algae is that answer."

Tour stops include Erie, Pa. (Sept. 16), Washington D.C. (Sept. 17) and New York City (Sept. 18).