In the latest edition of AmandaAcrossAmerica, Amanda Congdon meets up with Nate, a Minneapolis man who lives in his motor home, and pays very little to operate it. The RV has been modified to run on recycled vegetable oil from restaurants. It features a 100 gallon tank to hold the fry oil in addition to the standard 40 gallon diesel tank. The vehicle uses straight unprocessed oil with nothing but a a filtration system to clean out any residues. Nate starts up on regular diesel until the veggie oil warms up and then switches over. Before shutting down the fuel is switched back to diesel to make sure that no veggie oil is left in the fuel system to plug it up.
When he goes on a road trip he periodically stops at Chinese restaurants to fill up on veggie oil. Last summer Nate took a 2,800 mile round trip to Colorado on 50 gallons of diesel. The trip would have cost about $1,000 on straight diesel but only cost $150. One point that jumped out from the interview was that the EPA has declared it illegal to run a vehicle on vegetable oil. From their perspective the veggie oil has not been submitted for safety certification and is therefore illegal. Anyone using an uncertified fuel is subject to a fine of $2,750. So if you decide to run your vehicle on used Chinese restaurant oil, you should probably not put a big sign on your vehicle. Check out Amanda at AmandaAcrossAmerica.