If it’s good enough for the taxis in London then it’s good enough for my 1996 Volvo 850 Estate, now dubbed ‘the chip mobile’ by youngest son, Jude. For years I’ve been thinking I should start running my car on recyled waste vegetable frying oil and last week I finally took the plunge. So far there is no looking back, I’m into my second week now. I started with £20 worth from the local producer in Slathwaite, also home to our lovely customer the Green Valley Grocer and the supplier of our bread the handmade bakery.
£20 lasted me a week, returned about 40 MPG and the car seemed to like it, certainly looked good not pumping out any black smoke, instead gently wafting a faint smell of chips to the motorists behind. A few of us were musing about single variety oil and wondering if in the future you might be able to pick a flavour, Chinese or Indian perhaps? The kids are a little bemused, still wondering how the same stuff that fries chips is now powering the car, but I’m sure that in ten years’ time they will look back at this and realise it was pretty radical. Obviously I can’t for legal reasons recommend this swap, but it’s certainly making me feel good (as a little disclaimer, if you do try this at home you may need to pay excise duty on your chip oil fuel, depending on how much you use). I need to replace the diesel filter every 1,000 miles or so and at £9 a time that’s not too bad, it offsets a chunk of the saving in price but still leaves a small saving and the huge plus, the environmental impact. I also love the second life aspect, that this stuff has been used already and also it’s another step along the road of not being tied to the big corporations and can now add this to my ever growing list of smaller local people getting my disposable income. In the last ten years I have given up on buying new clothes, not having a TV or landline telephone, swapped to a smaller bank, stopped shopping in supermarkets, given up smoking, stopped buying new tech stuff and associated software, sticking to second user instead, I’m also largely veggie now. So what next ? I guess white wine would be an obvious one, so where did I put those demijohns…..