Patrick Keaney, second from left, looks at his biodiesel-powered bus from inside the Zeitgeist Gallery on Nov. 25, 2005. (Photo: Schuyler Pisha)

Patrick Keaney, second from left, looks at his biodiesel-powered bus from inside the Zeitgeist Gallery on Nov. 25, 2005. (Photo: Schuyler Pisha)

It seats about 30, has a stage welded to the top and runs on vegetable oil.

And it could be yours.

Well, part yours. The 1992 green and yellow biodiesel bus, usually found in Jamaica Plain, is already being eyed by the Zeitgeist Gallery and band leader Gill Aharon as sort of a mobile hippie timeshare. The gallery’s Alan Nidle imagines the bus, painted and welded creatively, leading a parade of art cars through Inman Square; Aharon hopes to take the bus on tour this summer with his trio and other bands.

Patrick Keaney, who spent about $5,000 turning a gas guzzler into something that craves french fry remains, imagines the bus as a giant political soapbox.

“There are dozens of uses we haven’t even thought of,” he said.

The group got together at the gallery on Friday to brainstorm ways to use the bus or, first, interest others in brainstorming with them.

“We can’t afford to get it ourselves. We need a group,” Nidle said. “This isn’t to get the bus for the gallery, or for any one particular purpose, but to get it as a vehicle that can be shared by nonprofits or people who want to do community types of things.”

If a group here can’t chip in and buy the bus, Nidle said, Keaney might just sell it elsewhere to make back his money. Keaney drives as little as possible already, and has other cars to fall back on — a biodiesel Volkswagen Rabbit, for instance, that gets 40 mpg.

Alan Nidle, of the Zeitgeist Gallery in Cambridge's Inman Square, seeks partners for his vegetable oil-powered project. (Photo: Schuyler Pisha)

Alan Nidle, of the Zeitgeist Gallery in Cambridge's Inman Square, seeks partners for his vegetable oil-powered project. (Photo: Schuyler Pisha)

He is a member of the Green Grease Monkeys, a small collective that converts cars, or teaches people how to do it on their own, for a modest fee. A conversion can cost as little as $1,200, which means the car is “paid for in eight to 12 months,” Keaney said. “After a year you’re making money. At $2.50 a gallon, this definitely pays for itself.”

The bus — which, idling at the curb, smelled of seafood — doesn’t run solely on grease. It shifts over when the vegetable oil is properly heated. So Keaney remains an evangelist for walking, then bicycling and public transportation. “Cars in general are not healthy for the environment,” he said. “You’re still using petroleum products to start the car up.” And the waste vegetable oil, which can be taken away free or bought cheap from restaurants, still has greenhouse gases lurking within.

The bus, too, only gets 10 to 12 milers per gallon, which isn’t very good unless it’s loaded with people. “For moving people, it’s very efficient,” Keaney said.

That brought on a new round of brainstorming, with people suggesting the bus could take groups to music festivals, on ski trips or leaf peeping.

But the results of the meeting were inconclusive, Nidle said, and he’s not certain his group will be able to secure the bus. There must be more people who could find a use for a biodiesel bus with a stage, though, in Cambridge.

After all, as Aharon quoted, “Buses are holy in the religion of hippie.”

Nidle can be found at the Zeitgeist Gallery, 1353 Cambridge St., Inman Square or by telephone at (617) 876-6060.