WAUSAU (WAOW) -- For anyone who drives, you know filling up at the pump is hard on your wallet. But for a Wisconsin Rapids man, driving his car costs him cents on the dollar.
Several years ago, Glenn Weinke converted an old car into a grease car. It's a vehicle that runs mainly on used vegetable oil. He gets the oil from restaurants and owners usually want to give it away. Otherwise, they have to pay to have it hauled off.
But Weinke says he hasn't completely cut the fat from his gas bill. The grease car still needs diesel fuel to start and stop. Plus, fueling with veggie oil isn't nearly as easy as going to the gas station.
Weinke says, "You do have to put it through a filtering process. Obviously, there are still chunks of french fries or whatever still in the vegetable oil. So, I actually strain it, filter it, heat it and let it settle out. There are little, microscopic bubbles of water in there that you want to settle out or it could damage your fuel system."
The car also needs two fuel tanks; one for diesel, the other for grease, plus two sets of fuel lines and a set of fuel selector switches. Those are flipped once the oil is cooking.
"Anyone that has seen bacon fat at room temperature, it kind of solidifies, the same thing pretty much happens with vegetable oil." Weinke adds "So, you start the engine on diesel fuel, get the engine up to operating temperature. So, then you flip your switches and you're running on really cheap, environmentally friendly fuel."
And he says those are the perks to driving a car that always smells like fried chicken.
He adds, The is a carbon neutral fuel source basically. The plants are grown, it's used to fry food so it's already a waste product. I'm taking that waste product and making something useful out of it again and it fuels my car."
Weinke and a friend are leaving his summer for a 6,000 to promote driving grease cars. After that, they hope to create a documentary about their trip which will also teach you how to build a grease car of your own.
To learn more about their trip, click the link associated with this page.