Americans turn to vegetable oil for car fuel 美國人用蔬菜油當汽油燃料

Sun, Aug 06, 2006 - Page 14

More and more Americans are setting up small refineries in their homes to make biodiesel, a fuel made from used cooking oil. It is cleaner and cheaper than the fuel sold at gas stations.

“It's better for the engine, way better for the environment (and) it's cheaper,” said Dan Goodman, a man in Maryland who runs his car on biodiesel.

There are two ways to get on the biodiesel bandwagon, Goodman said. Either you change your car's engine and just put in used cooking oil, or you can modify the oil into biodiesel, which works in any diesel car.

More professional biodiesel refineries are popping up all over the US, but thousands of people now make fuel at home too. They use the oil left after they fry french fries or oil they find by scrounging around restaurants.

“It's easy when you know how to do it,” Goodman said, though he warned that the process “can be hazardous,” because the oil can catch on fire and breathing its fumes is harmful to one's health.

Goodman makes about 1,135 liters of biodiesel a day on a farm in Maryland, where his assistant twice a week brings huge cans of the oil he collects from restaurants in the towns nearby.

The homemade fuel keeps 15 school buses running in the area, Goodman said.

Biodiesel production in the US has tripled since 2004 to 280 million liters last year. This year, it is expected to double to 560 million liters.

In comparison, the US uses 227 billion liters of traditional diesel fuel per year. (AFP)