Fueling Up with Waste Vegetable Oil

For 28 days, I’ve accepted the challenge to write every day. Find more on my motives here. See how far I’ve come here. I’ve been writing every day, but apparently the action of “blog posting” takes a bit more time than I have to spare! Thanks for bearing with me.

Well, we finally made it to Waupaca! After about 24 hours drive time across 1450 miles in our trusty VW Golf TDI, we used about 35 gallons of waste vegetable oil and 3/4 of a tank of diesel fuel (which we only used because we ran out of veggie oil on the last leg of the trip). If you think about it in terms of miles per gallon from the traditional pump, before we had to switch to diesel fuel at the end of our journey, we averaged about 327 miles per gallon on diesel via our waste veggie oil. #WIN

Yesterday, we dragged my dad on a WVO (waste veggie oil) run, and I know a lot of folks are curious about how our system works. There was a more primitive system with a hand-crank pump that we used last summer in the Travel Queen, but recently, our friend, Russ hooked us up with something much more slick. (You may remember Russ as Brittany’s counterpart, the “mechanic” of the group… they are our friends from Utah who got me hooked on rock climbing and yoga… who got us hooked on veggie-fueled cars, etc.)

Here’s how it works…

First, we find waste veggie oil (with no hydrogenated oil or heavy particulate, that’s not burned and heavily reused) that a restaurant owner says we can take. This step can be the most difficult when you have huge, major corporations paying restaurants for their WVO to make BioDiesel. Remember, BioDiesel is NOT what we use. We use straight veggie oil.

After we get approval (thanks to those businesses that believe in what we are doing), we put our hose into the WVO tank, and turn on the motorized device (2nd photo) which pulls it into the silver device (3rd photo) which has a filter in it which force-filters the grease down to 10 microns (pretty darn clean). There are other systems with more checkpoints that can get grease down to less than 1 micron (CLICK HERE to read about how Russ and Brittany did it in Utah), but for now this system suits us. And, it’s portable!

Gloves are a must when dealing with WVO:



This is the motor the pulls the grease out of the bin and into the filtering device.IMG_2783

This is the filtering device.IMG_2784


Here’s Sean, with the device at the end of the system which is essentially like the gas pump you grab at the gas station to fuel up your car. He pulls the trigger and the clean WVO goes into our bucket.


Pretty maids, all in a row… cleaned and set for fueling our car. No chemicals necessary. We dump this directly into our WVO tank, which sits in the trunk of the Golf.IMG_2786

And that, folks, is how it’s done!

Of course, there are a few other things to consider. The true cost of “free fuel” isn’t really all “free.” There are supplies, fuel filters, the filters for the filtering device, gas used getting to and from the dumpsters, etc. that must be taken into account. Also, living in Montana we have to take into account keeping black bears and grizzlies away from our home storage facility.  Brittany does a great summary on their blog on the true cost of “free fuel.” CLICK HERE TO READ.

1 Comment. Leave new

Hey you guys! Nice to see the old pump and filter being put to use. And as a mobile unit! Happy travels.


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