30 Days and 1,000 Miles Later…

Today celebrates the 30th day and 1,000 mile mark of my greasy adventures. Listeners of Adam’s Curry’s Daily Source Code are by now very familiar with the situation. I’ve been leaving Adam audio updates, which he’s been kind enough to include on his show. You can catch extracts of my “BullsEye Johnny rants” on my podcast,In No Particular Order, by clicking here.

First off, let me once again say that this veg oil thing is NOT for everyone. You do need to make some changes to your life if it’s going to work for you. Namely, you have to like talking about the technology with people–a lot.  This helps when lining up your grease suppliers. As a former restaurant manager, I can tell you that nobody in that industry likes anything or anyone that eats up their valuable time they could be otherwise be using for 1) making money and staying in business or 2) sleeping.  Therefore, if you are going to ask someone to change the method by which they dispose of their grease, you’d better be prepared to show them your new contraption and how it works.

For instance, today I met a nice bloke named Moe. Moe recently took over a deli in Upper Nyack, NY, not far from my house. After tennis, I stopped by Moe’s for an egg sandwich and a cup of his outstanding coffee. On the way out, I tossed my standard line, “This might sound a little crazy, but what do you do with your used vegetable oil”.  This usually yields looks ranging from “Oh, no. Another psycho customer” to “What’s this idiot selling?”.  Anyway, I took a few minutes to show Moe how the Grease Beast works. He thought it was pretty cool and immediately offered up his used oil. Five minutes of my time turned into five gallons of free fuel. Lesson of the day–If you don’t like talking to people, you are likely to have a hard time getting grease.

By the by–this blog was meant to help any of the folks at home who are dumb enough to follow in my path. Feel free to send in your stupid questions. I’ll do my best to answer them with my limited, 30-day supply of knowledge.

Next week: I’ll show  you how to set up a home fueling station on the cheap.


20 Days in the Life of A Grease Rat

Just passed the 20-day mark. One word of advice…line up your grease suppliers before you take the plunge. I’ve now got three restaurants who seem happy to have me take their stuff. Kudos to these fine restaurateurs who understand that small steps can make a change. 

I am not nearly fossil-free at this point. I’ve had to burn about six gallons of diesel to augment my grease supply while I get all my fueling gizmos in place (55 gallon drum, pump, fuel transport system, collection of 5 gallon containers). I’ll add photos and links to these items as I get them.

On day two, my fuel gauge went whacky. Thinking it was the fuel sender and not the gauge, I hit the grease chat rooms looking for solutions. Now bear in mind, I’m the least handy guy on the planet. Still, with the help of a newly purchased service manual and a wrench, I was able to remove the fuel sender, clean it, and put it back. And damn it if it didn’t work when I fired ‘er back up. If anyone needs help with that fix, let me know and I’ll post a step-by-step.

 The Grease Beast



One Man’s Ridiculous Journey in a Car That Burns Vegetable Oil

Thank you for stopping by. On this tiny, remote sliver of the Internet I will chronicle my adventures in my newly purchased 1983 Mercedes 240D, which has been modified to run on vegetable oil. I enter this arena with an open heart, knowing it will either be a great idea, or a painful trip back to the land of fossil fuels.

For years I bitched about our dependence on foreign oil and how it has essentially destroyed our economy by creating a system designed to ultimately devour itself.  In February of this year, reports began to circulate the gasoline would soon reach $4.00 per gallon. Well, that time has come. 

I decided to stop bitching and take some action. 25 days ago, I listed my beloved 2007 Audi A4 on eBay. The car sold in two days to a very nice chap from Maine who admired the A4 for its sporty looks and head-snapping acceleration. I too admired these attributes in the car. Oh well–they say it’s unwise to love something that can’t love you back. “Just a car”, I kept telling myself. Still, she would be missed.

20 days ago I began the search for a grease car. Some brief history for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about. When the diesel engine was designed (click here for the long story), there was no such thing as diesel fuel. The cat that is credited for inventing the thing, Rudolf Diesel, ran the first engines on peanut and rapeseed oil. So you see, it’s really no big deal. 

I found “Greasebenz” on eBay, being sold by a guy in Brooklyn, NY, not far from my home in New York’s Hudson Valley. $2,500 later, I was the proud owner of this fine vehicle, which had been converted  a few years ago by Lovecraft Biofuels, in Los Angeles. I did my homework before taking the plunge into veggie cars. These guys do bang-up work, and have even modified one of Arnold Swarzenegger’s hummers to run on SVO/WVO (Straight/Waste Vegetable Oil).

So…let’s see where this journey leads us. In upcoming posts, I’ll discuss the technology, show photos, and chronicle the pros and cons of my experiences. Perhaps you, the reader, will be inspired to stop your bitching and try this too. After all…it’s only a car.