Making biodiesel at home is becoming mainstreamed since the price of regular diesel fuel in some parts of the country (such as California) has toppled the $5 per gallon mark. Many environmentalists, frugal types and those who like to experiment have been making biodiesel at home in the past, but now they have competition.
For instance, now that gasoline and diesel fuel prices have increased so rapidly there has been a rash of used cooking oil thefts from restaurants in the U. S. These so-called thieves are competing with entrepreneurs and legitimate diesel car and truck drivers who have turned to making biodiesel at home either by buying a eBook that gives step-by-step instructions or buying a kit online for home brewing purposes.
Take the article about this high school student who is brewing biodiesel in his parents’ basement. He solicits fast food and other restaurants for the used vegetable oil and then mixes it with lye and methanol, wearing goggles, gloves and other safety equipment to create cheap biofuel for his Volvo.
A friend of mine in San Diego bought a used Ford diesel pickup truck, purchased a different online book and then proceeded with making biodiesel at home himself for less than $1 per gallon. He won’t tell me the name of the restaurants that he has struck a deal with (to haul away their used vegetable oil for free) for territorial reasons, but says he filters the oil, which smells like French fries, mixes it with a small amount of regular diesel then barely pours in a super secret additive. And, my friend is among thousands who are currently doing this.
But, as demand goes up, so does competition. The U. S. is not the only country dealing with cooking oil thefts from scofflaws competing with those who have asked permission. In the UK, pubs and restaurants have been getting their barrels of used oil hijacked by Englishmen who don’t like paying the equivalent of $9.84 per US gallon.
To sum up, thieves and concerned motorists share the same concern, which is how to get cheap fuel for their cars, trucks and other vehicles when fossil fuel prices have spiked and will continue to jab motorists in the pocketbook for the foreseeable future. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that making biodiesel at home is a very cost conscious alternative to bending over and taking it at the pumps.