Stickin’ it to the Man by burning my own oil.

Some late night ramblings about Diesel cars and my home-brew fuel setup:

I’m halfway done building my fuel making setup out in the barn. I’ve been getting WVO-based fuel from a friend of mine all summer, while I slowly collected the stuff to build my own. (WVO = Waste Vegetable Oil… i.e. used french fry oil.) In the Spring I gave John as much of the left over Diesel from the old Bothell Genset as he could carry. I fueled my car out of it from January on, then bought/borrowed as many gas cans as I could find and filled them with the fuel. There was still close to 50 gallons left a week before we sold the genset, so I had John take the rest. Once the gas can supply ran out, I got filtered WVO from John. This I mixed 50/50 with pump-bought Diesel. The car runs great on it, and I get over 50 MPG. Not bad for effectively cutting my fuel cost in half! John just took a new job, so he connected me up with the Burger joint where he gets his free oil near his old job. I should have my two-barrel filtering setup done tomorrow, at which point I’ll be in the fuel business… personal consumption only of course. Just pick up 5-10 gallons a week from the burger place, and make my own.

The Jetta is the fourth Diesel car I have owned. I much prefer Diesels, especially turbo-Diesels to gasoline cars for everyday driving. They are reliable, and very economical. They don’t produce greenhouse or CO2 gasses. Yes, they are a bit “sooty” but modern CDI and TDI engines do an amazing job at reducing the smoke – mostly with VERY efficient injections systems and EGR systems (Exhaust Gas Recirulation.)

I guess now that gasoline is at $3.00 a gallon the rest of America is suddenly interested in Diesel cars again. I’ve been casually shopping for a new or used VW or Mercedes Diesel for almost a year, and in the last three months they have gotten virtually impossible to find or buy. I passed on some really nice MB 300 2.5, and 300sdl cars last winter. I should have grabbed them when I had them close at hand. Too bad the ONLY choices for new Diesels are either VW or MB, … or a gigantic full-sized pickup truck. Fuel costs have been rising steadily for four straight years but did Detroit pull their heads out of their SUV asses? Hell no.

VW is the lone seller of a full line of Diesels… from the Beetle all the way up to the Passat have a TDI option. MB only offers an E Class Diesel now in the US I think. I don’t make enough money to fork over big bucks for a new Mercedes though.

Anyway, once my fuel setup is done I’ll photograph it and post it here.