High Gas Prices Increase Popularity of Biofuel

Many enviros have been bonkers for biofuel for years — trust us, we have the letters to prove it. But with gas prices heading for the stratosphere, the idea of using vegetable oil to power cars is spreading. Some restaurant owners happily give their used oil away as they might otherwise have to pay to dispose of it, and the lucky recipients can then strain it and use it in retrofitted diesel engines, where it cuts down on emissions of carbon dioxide, particulates, and other pollutants. Since veggie oil must be heated before it can be used (it tends to congeal at cool temperatures), a petroleum-based fuel is often used to start the car. Many biofuelers turn for this purpose to a mixture of vegetable oil and diesel gasoline. A Massachusetts company called Greasecar is buying veggie oil in bulk from regional distributors and reselling it for 90 cents a gallon; it also sells kits that can convert diesel engines to run on vegetable oil.