Diesel Cars Running On Used Cooking Oil
The fast-food, deep-fried low tech answer to high fuel prices!
This is the up and coming thing in this day and age of $3 to $4 a gallon U.S. gas and diesel fuel prices. While it may sound weird to you, the first thing you have to understand is that when Rudolf Diesel invented the engine it was intended to be run on peanut oil!
That’s right, and not only will peanut oil work, but almost any other type of vegetable oil including cottonseed, soy, canola, olive, corn, safflower, hemp, palm and coconut oil will work equally well in the diesel engine!
Now, comes the real clincher. Fast food restaurants, by law, are required to dump their used oil at the end of each day. Because of agencies like the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in the U.S. and other countries, they must dispose of this waste oil in a legal and regulated manner. This generally means they must pay a disposal company to come and cart it away. When diesel owners found out they could clean and recycle this oil to run their cars virtually for free (the restaurants gladly give it away to them in most areas), we are now faced with the fact that we may have a used cooking oil shortage in the world! Especially since health officials are so down on deep fried foods!
Remember, we’re not talking about gasoline driven cars, which make up 90% of what is out there in the land. We are talking about diesel driven cars, which some people switched to because they are easier to maintain, get more miles per gallon of fuel than do gasoline autos and at one time diesel fuel was a considerably cheaper than gas.
The last statement is no longer true. Today, diesel fuel is close to the same price as gasoline and in some instances it can be higher in cost. It is also not as easy to find diesel fuel, you will have to look around for gas stations that offer this item. This is why the conversion to used vegetable oil is now becoming a major buzz word in diesel circles!
All you have to do to recycle the oil is buy or make a filtering station which you can keep in your garage. This removes the impurities from the oil, which you can then make arrangements to dispose of legally with little or no cost. These impurities are generally vegetables or grains – the debris from French fries (“chips”) or the breading of chicken and fish patties.
The next thing you have to do is covert your car to handle the cooking oil, which requires pre-heating the oil before it goes into the fuel injectors. What most people do is process the oil through their engine manifold areas prior to injection, which means you have to start the car and run it for a while using traditional diesel fuel. There are kits and instructions for making this process work for almost any car of any age.
Understand, that diesel cars, today, were converted and made to run on diesel fuel, rather than vegetable oils, because once upon a time diesel fuel was cheaper and could be refined during the gasoline making process. You now have to re-convert and make your car run on cooking oil, while also keeping it diesel ready, since you need this to “prime” your engine for the veggie oil!
Not every country, however, is delighted with this low cost idea. In the UK, for example, they have a special division of the police known as the “frying squad” that goes out and tickets motorists who are running illegally on veggie oil! Why so? They are avoid the British tax on motor oils! Of course, the English are used to this type of thing. In the UK they have to pay a TV set tax, which then supports the BBC. Special “police” go around the area looking for “unlicensed” or “un-taxed” TV sets.
Even in the United States there are some obstacles. New York state, for example, has major bans and regulations on diesel technology for cars, however in light of this new technology New York is looking at changing the law to make it easier for residents to go fast-food, deep-fried, diesel!
Of course, we can expect to see similar activities here in the U.S. as people avoid paying “gas taxes” on their used cooking oil, however, the amount of people willing to do the work involved will not break the bank in Washington!
We can also expect to see the EPA re-think the waste disposal laws and regulations for those impurities that get filtered out of the oil.
As for burning cooking oil, it’s actually better for the environment than using regular diesel fuel. No sulfur discharges occur when burning re-cycled cooking oils, so the contribution to “acid rain” is reduced by this process. Vegetable oil, unlike petroleum products, are bio-degradable so any “oil” spills will not seriously contaminate the soil and waters. The carbons released are safer for the air than those from petroleum based products.
There are lots of people today how make the rounds of trash cans finding bottles and plastic that can be recycled and make them some extra $$! Many people are starting home gardens to lower the cost of their food budget. All these things take work to make or save money and some people are willing to go the extra mile and in the process they help the environment instead of hurting it! Instead of complaining about the high price of gas and how you can’t get to work or go out and play, here’s a cost effective solution that could help some of you. The alternative is to pay $60 per tank for regular diesel (or gasoline) that gets you about 500 miles travel with a 30 mpg vehicle sporting a 20 gallon tank.
One man we saw reported he was driving 2,000 miles a month and it was costing him only $40 in diesel fuel to supplement his cooking oil conversion. That’s 2 cents a mile. That’s 60 cents for 30 miles worth of travel. That equates to diesel prices back in the late 1970s! That’s less than a tank a month of real diesel fuel. The rest is free used cooking oil.
A lot of people are turning back the clocks to 1980 fuel prices by re-cycling used cooking oil to run their diesel cars! While we don’t know what may happen in the future (restaurants could start charging to supply this oil, recycling waste companies could lobby to make the process illegal, the petroleum industry might go ballistic and the tax man may eventually have something to say about this new form of energy), in the present this is one sure way to beat the high prices at the pumps if you own a diesel car and are willing to do a little work.