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LOCAL Commentary :: Transportation

Mercedes Runs on Waste Vegetable Oil

No gas, no diesel, no fossil fuel whatsoever. This car runs on waste vegetable oil from local restaurants.
Santa Cruz August 2005.
There is a big luxury Mecedes "cruzing" around Santa Cruz county emitting the faint odor of fast food.
That is because it's fuel comes not from the fossil fuel of the last millenuim but from the "new" fuel of the 21st century, vegetable oil. This fuel is not really new at all, Rudolph Diesel, inventor of the diesel engine designed his brainchaild to run on, of all things, vegetable oil. He envisioned his engine being used in the emerging industrial era to replace bigger and heavier steam powered machines in the period when the world was transitioning from an agrarian society and evolving into an industrial society. He saw agriculture as a means to fuel the changeover whereby oil producing crops would be harvested to produce the fuel to run the machinery of a new age.
His vision was only partially realized before a cheaper fuel, the by-product of refining gasoline was substituted and is know by his last name.
It has only been in perhaps the last decade that Mr. Diesel's original vision has been revisited by a few inquiring minds with the result being many thousands of aging diesel motors and several hundred newer ones receiving some very simple modifications making it possible for them to burn one of nature's oldest fuels, vegetable oil.
For a few thousand dollars, anyone can realize the thrill of guilt-free motoring. Going to and fro with the knowledge that they are not polluting the atmosphere, that they are recycling a waste product, having virtually zero impact on the environment, taking a proactive position and doing something to solve the global fuel crisis we all face.
The problem of dwindling fuel supplies, more competition for the world's fossil fuel resources, spiking fuel prices, geo political power struggles over this commodity seem like huge impossible mountains to move. They are not. Each person can take steps to change the world and take back a bit of freedom that seems to be slipping away. How?
That Mercedes diesel "cruzing" around the county is an example.
It's only one but it is one that does not pollute the atmosphere, disposes of a waste product that needs disposal while providing the transportation it was designed to provide. It's different among the thousands of automobiles in the county but it is making as much impact as it is capable of making. It is a transitional species in a world that is changing. From a Darwinian point of view, it's moved from extinction to survival.
Next time you're sitting on Highway 1, creeping along in traffic, think about how dependent we as a society have become on the remains of an extinct animal.
Look around, you just might see that aging Mercedes and catch a whiff of french fries. It may not have much company yet but there is movement afoot and that big SUV in front of you is as dead as the dinosaur that is belching out of its tailpipe.
 
 


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Basic Info on using veg. for your car

infosheetvegoilmotoring.pdf
infosheetvegoilmotoring.pdf (193 k)
Info. sheet on veggie motoring.
 

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