Veggie Car

This is my car, a 2005 VW Golf TDI which I have converted to run on waste vegetable oil.
I received this car in september of my Senior year of high school, and it was not by chance that it came with a turbocharged diesel sipping engine purring under the bonnet. I had picked this car out with a plan, to turn it into a veggie car.

This was not the first of such endeavors. In fact, this would be the fourth conversion that my brothers and I had done. We already had a source of waste oil from a nearby restaurant (they would just throw it away after it went through their friers if it weren’t for us), and a filtering system, so it would have been illogical for me not to build a veggie car.


I decided to go with a system from Greasecar. We had installed systems we had put together ourselves in the past, but Greasecar does some things with their systems that I really liked. The first was the custom built aluminum tank, designed to fit in the spare tire well.


Another aspect of the system that I liked was the Greasecar computer. It keeps track of the coolant temperature of the system and switched to running on vegetable oil when the engine is warm enough.

That’s the thing about vegetable oil, it only behaves like diesel when it’s hot, so we heat the oil with the hot coolant coming out of the engine. This means that we have to start the car on diesel, and switch back to diesel right before we turn it off. The are no noticeable efficiency or power changes between the diesel and veggie oil systems, the car still gets over 40 mpg.

What I love about running on vegetable oil, apart from not paying for the fuel, is that it effectively eliminates the carbon impact of running my car. If I were running on diesel, I would be releasing carbon into the atmosphere that hasn’t been there for a long time. When I run my car on veggie oil, I’m releasing carbon that came from the atmosphere recently, and would have returned there as soon as the vegetable oil decomposed after being thrown away.