Trans-America Journey Powered by Waste Vegetable Oil
We love to read about different travelers and their adventures, wishing secretly that we could be in their shoes. Here is a young traveler, Stacy Jurich, 2006 graduate of Ohio State University. She is on a 3 ½ month journey across the country, driving her 1981 Mercedes across America. So what is new? She is driving a Mercedes using waste vegetable oil as fuel hence promoting use of alternative fuel. She lives in Toledo, Ohio where she shoulders the responsibility of running a non-profit organization known as “Toledo Choose Local.” This non-profit organization promotes self sustenance using local resources.
Stacy procured her Mercedes online which is equipped as a “grease car”. Any vehicle driven on diesel fuel can use WVO (waste vegetable oil) with a converter kit. The converter kit’s cost ranges from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. When the winter approaches and temperatures fall, people driving a vehicle on WVO have to buy additional equipment to heat the oil because it can get too thick. The veggie oil that Stacy Jurich is using for her trip, is an environmental friendly fuel because it emits about 25 to 40% less carbon monoxide than regular diesel along with yielding the same, if not better, miles per gallon than diesel.
How does Stacy Jurich acquire her fuel? What she narrates is quite interesting compared to our usual “going to a gas station and filling your tank” routine. She has to use her interpersonal skills as well for refueling purpose. Instead of gas stations she has to spot restaurants! Restaurants dispose off their used vegetable oil in a grease dumpster, and this in turn is picked up by a company that uses the oil for byproducts.
Sometimes the companies themselves are interested in buying back their WVO. In few instances restaurants have to pay the company for the pick-up service. Often engaging restaurateurs into a dialogue and negotiating with them works and they give WVO for free. Stacy also tells about a website called www.fillup4free.com, where one can find people who give away or sell waste vegetable oil.
The collection process can also be an unclean job that takes some considerable time. But the feeling that you are living light on earth and not contributing towards pollution is unbeatable. Jurich wears big leather gloves and a jump suit when she gets oil. She also keeps few containers in her trunk covered in a tarp. Jurich has created a great opportunity for herself for sensitizing people to alternative fuel particularly WVO. She is writing about her 8000 miles journey and her WVO driven vehicle at her website www.vegipowerseesamerica.com