Vegetable Oil Powered Cars

By: Mel Joelle

Fossil fuels have long ruled the race to power American automobiles. But now, the race is slowly changing course as more and more US consumers are becoming environmentally aware. As their awareness grows, purchase habits will begin to be influenced and thus purchases will become more eco friendly. A few competing technologies are emerging to take the place of gasoline and diesel. One major contender is, surprisingly, vegetable oil.

There has been a lot of press on biodiesel. This fuel is animal fat or vegetable oil laden. It is made through a process that manufactures a chemical reaction between the vegetable oil or animal fat with alcohol. Whereas biodiesel is manufactured to be used in normal diesel engines, vegetable oil is used in engines that have been converted. Vegetable oil is becoming the increasingly popular choice for many drivers.

Biodiesel must go through a chemical process to be used as a fuel source, but vegetable oil can be used in its normal state without any conversion necessary. Used improperly, the more viscous vegetable oil can be harmful to engines because it does not burn the same as other fuels. Even though engine harm is a slight possibility, vegetable oil is a viable fuel source. With proper use, vegetable oil is engine safe.

So, what is the safe way to use this eco friendly fuel? To properly use vegetable oil as a power source, the user must have a two tank system properly installed in their vehicle. Optimally, the vehicle will also be fitted with the popper glow plugs and injector nozzles as well.

Once the system is installed in your vehicle, you are ready to begin a more eco friendly way of travel. Of course, there are some additional vehicle start up steps that must be followed for the most engine benefit. The two tank system separates two fuel types. One houses vegetable oil and the other tank is filled with diesel or biodiesel. When the vehicle is powered on, it should be running on the diesel / biodiesel tank. It should remain on this tank until the vegetable oil is heated to a suitable temperature. Once it is hot enough, the vehicle can switch over to the vegetable oil easily. The preheating phase will make sure the vegetable oil is ready to act properly as a combustible agent in the engine. The tanks should be switched again right before power down to allow the vehicle’s engine to quit while running on diesel / biodiesel.

If this is too much hassle, newer one-tank cars are being developed, as well as being perfected. These newer systems have the potential to truly allow converted vehicles to be considered ‘fuel and go’ transportation. There will be no downsides to converting your vehicle, and in fact, you will be contributing to a cleaner environment. As these systems gain in popularity, more people will switch to vegetable oil to lighten their carbon footprint.

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