15/05/2008 (Ozarks First.com) - The price of gas continues to rise. On average in the Ozarks, it's more than $3.50 a gallon for regular unleaded.
For diesel, it's much more -well over $4 a gallon and climbing.
But one area man has spent the last eight years of his life helping residents use less and less diesel fuel for their vehicles.
Charles Anderson is the founder of his company, Golden Fuel. "For many years petroleum was extremely inexpensive," he says. Obviously that's no longer the case, with the cost of a barrel of oil now at an all-time high.
For owners of diesel vehicles, there's no way to avoid paying more than $4 a gallon. But there is a way to use less fuel.
"The concept of running a diesel engine on vegetable is as old as the diesel engine itself," says Anderson. "The concept of running vegetable oil in a diesel engine is about overcoming viscosity. It's thicker at room temperature, when you heat it up it's the same consistency of petroleum,"
That's right. Running an engine on used vegetable oil. The same thing that cooked your french fries at lunch can now power your ride back to work.
There's no difference in the fuel economy or in the power between diesel and vegetable oil. And the latter actually has cleaner exhaust. You can't eliminate diesel fuel altogether, you still need to start your vehicle the old fashioned way.
"You can still run on petroleum, we add an auxiliary system that allows you to run on oil at a switch of a switch," Anderson says.
That switch can't be flipped until your vehicle is up to normal operating temperature.
With something this good, it can't be completely free. And it's not, a standard system for a truck will run you about $2,500.
"Most of our customers will make their investment back in four to five months."
And then you've got to figure out a way to get the used vegetable oil. Anderson recommends finding either a chain restaurant that pays to haul away the oil, or a smaller restaurant that might illegally dump their used oil.
"Buy lunch, it's a match made in heaven, you've solved a problem. It's nice to do something that helps people reduce dependence on foreign oil and it changes their life drastically," says Anderson. "Is this the one be-all answer? - no. But it's a small piece of the puzzle, and if we choose to recycle oil, it's a really good thing."
Anderson's father once drove 10,000 miles, round trip to Alaska, and used just two gallons of diesel fuel.