How Can I Run My Car On Vegetable Oil?

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Vegetable Oil Car

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Perhaps you are already trying to leave a smaller environmental footprint by recycling and switching to renewable sources of energy to power your home, but want to kick things up a notch by eliminating your contribution to that cloud of smog everyone chokes down each day. Maybe you simply want to avoid soaring gas prices that slowly drain your wallet. No matter what your motivation might be, making the switch to vegetable oil enables you to significantly reduce your dependence upon fossil fuels as well as contribute to a cleaner air environment.

Converting to vegetable oil is not without its challenges, however, which is why you will have to gain a more intimate understanding of the way your vehicle works. Those who are interested in strengthening their automotive maintenance skills, however, will find the experience more enjoyable, though some mechanics will do the work for you. Still, it’s best to do it yourself since this will equip you to handle problems that may arise while on the road.

Transform your gas guzzler into a veggie-powered green machine with the following steps:


Step 1: Get a Diesel Car

Unfortunately, this is what deters most people who want to switch to veggie oil, since many non-commercial vehicles on the road – especially in America – don’t have diesel engines. Fortunately, today’s diesel fuel emits significantly less sulfur and offers much better mileage, which is why you will see more new models that take advantage of these benefits. For now, most veggie oil users stick to German cars or American trucks and SUVs.


Step 2: Install a Conversion Kit

While biodiesel can be used immediately, vegetable oil requires a conversion kit before it will work for your engine. The kit heats the oil to the proper temperature and also comes with an additional gas tank.

Depending on the model of your car, you may also have to make further modifications such as extending the fuel lines, which is why having an original car owners manual for your vehicle will come in handy. The price of a kit also varies, though most users should expect to pay about $2,000.


Step 3: Make Friends with a Local Restaurant

Sure, you can use oil from the grocery store, but why pay more for fuel when you can get it for free? Each day, restaurants use up gallons of cooking oil that they have to dispose of legally, usually through a service that charges them a fee.

By making friends with the restaurants in your area, you can help them with their problem as well as solve your own. Make sure, however, that you are using non-hydrogenated oil because other types will gum up your engine.


Step 4: Prepare the Oil

Unless you want to spend several hours removing soggy French fries from your engine, you will have to filter any used vegetable oil before pouring it in the tank. You can use part of your garage or basement to set up a processing station, or team up with friends and neighbors to create a shared space.

The filtering process is fairly easy, and generally involves heating the oil and then pumping it through a filtration device into another tank. Many veggie oil fanatics are more than happy to share their processing secrets, so you can search online for additional tips.


Step 5: Drive

Now it’s time to enjoy the reward for all your hard work by driving a vehicle that is not only carbon neutral but also offers better mileage per gallon. You also get to enjoy the odor of French fries instead of the noxious fumes your car used to produce, as well as experience the pride that comes with improving your community.

While maintaining your veggie-powered vehicle requires a bit more TLC to keep the fuel lines and engine free from debris, anyone with a car owners manual and a love for DIY projects should have no trouble finding the time for additional tinkering, especially since diesel engines last longer and require less maintenance in general. Going green with vegetable oil, then, can be a great way to test your mechanical know-how while lightening your conscience.

  • Guest Author

    Greener Ideal strives to help you live your life in more sustainable ways with green living tips, healthy recipes and commentary on the latest environment news. The views expressed by guest authors are their own and may not reflect those of Greener Ideal.

4 thoughts on “How Can I Run My Car On Vegetable Oil?”

  1. Hi, I think is a very nice idea, but what about the demand for vegetable oil? You mentioned making friends with owners of restaurant, fine that’s a good one but don’t forget that you are not the only person in the neighbourhood.
    Secondly in my own country Nigeria ,there are so many restaurants but majority of them have their own cars that they use on a daily bases. Now I don’t think someone will give away what he or she needs too. Then if you say you want to buy a fresh veg oil from the market, the cost is so alarming that an average earner would not be able to cop with it. So I believe there are better ways of addressing this issue and is going to work if well handled. As a matter of fact am interested.
    thank you.

  2. SVO Hybrid vs Electric Hybrid – comparing cars that can switch between petroleum based fuel (e.g. gasoline, diesel) and something else (e.g. electricity, straight vegetable oil). Running on straight vegetable oil is the only way to ensure our human efforts are taking advantage of the energy inherent in our resources (also SVO is carbon neutral).

    Love It!


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