Freedom from dependence on oil… petroleum that is.
By Navy John
I am working to make small modifications to my truck to allow it to run on Waste Vegetable Oil. I have been studying into it for a few months since I bought a truck to ‘experiment’ with. I had a 1995 Suburban, but it was not a diesel, so not capable of using for this ‘experiment’. I gave it to my mom after I found the truck I plan to use, a 1985 Suburban with a 6.2L diesel, which was one owner for 24 years and actually had less miles than the 1995. I am anxious to run it on WVO. I have delayed because of not having a place to work on it. Now, my girlfriend just bought a home in the country, so we both are experiencing a dream come true. She can have her horses in the yard and I can have some space to work on things such as this.
I hope to start a co-op with other like-minded people, so that we can share our ideas and inspiration. I would really like to get involved with farmers in particular. I would like to share ideas and use my fixer skills to help someone with a lot of vehicles and tractors, which are also eligible for conversion, like any diesel, actually. Now, I know the dollar signs are scary and make me look like a salesman, but that is not the case at all. A co-op would not involve me receiving any money from or because of anyone else. I am just doing my own thing regardless of anyone’s involvement and would like to brainstorm with others for no other reason than inspiration and motivation, moral support, if you will. The conversion costs are somewhere around $700 for my vehicle to do it myself, which I plan to do. To contrast, with fuel costs at around $4.00 per gallon for unleaded fuel even and worse, around $5.00 per gallon for diesel, the cost of converting is quickly repaid. Being here in Florida, where it is warm, there is much less to do, so the costs are much lower and may be even less than I have planned.
The other thing I hope to do is establish a network of supporting restaurants and any other UCO/WVO sources, so that there would be a steady supply of fuel for anyone who is willing to collect it. I think that advertising would be a nice trade for this oil. I am no computer geek, but I believe, with help likely, I could start a website to promote the co-op and the network of supporting sources.
A few years ago, probably more like four or five actually, I saw a documentary about these two guys who drove their Volkswagen van across country using Used Cooking Oil as fuel. It was a revolutionary, stimulating idea. It got me excited, appealing to the fixer in me. However, I made too much money as a Naval Officer at the time to concern myself with doing anything with this new idea. It was something I would have loved to do, but there simply wasn’t room on my agenda.
I worked during the day as a jet-fixer for the Navy, which, because it was the Navy, included additional things like standing watches, completing overhaul operations on shipboard spaces, completing required training courses, and other things that required my attention to be diverted to wherever the Navy needed it. My home life was filled to the brim, when I wasn’t working for the Navy during the day or off-shift hours, whenever needed, in other words. I had the usual chores related to family home life. I had to mow the lawn, maintain the vehicles, clean out the gutters, play with the kids, which sometimes required making rounds through the neighborhood on the go-kart.
When my responsibilities allowed it, I had a couple hobbies that gobbled up what little time I had left. These were both related to fixing and building, my passion. I would often save hundreds and thousands doing something custom to my motorcycle instead of paying the substantial price attached to ‘hobby’-related items. My motorcycle was my primary means of transportation to work, so the hobby part was the rare minutes I spent in the garage customizing.
Before I start sounding like I’m making excuses, my point is, what little time I had left was devoted to something relaxing to me. I spent 12-16 hours a day with my brain working on Navy-related items, starting another ‘chore’ like the Waste Vegetable Oil ‘experiment’ was just not appealing to me. I think now that it would have been nice to have done it when it would have been much easier because of plenty of money. However, I don’t kick myself for not doing it sooner. The timing seems to be out of my hands and under control, so even though I jumped on the bandwagon late, instead of being a pioneer who could feel unique for being ‘one of the few’, I am still as motivated to do it now.
After my time in the Navy, I medically retired because of a disability. Then, I went through a divorce and bankruptcy before moving down here from Athens, GA, the place I retired to expecting to be there for the rest of my days. I came down here to be around the kids who are about to go through their teenage years. This is not a sob story, so I will stay on track. I have learned to adjust to a fraction of what I used to be paid on active duty. This, of course, is a motivator for my interest in alternative fuels, but it is actually secondary to my desire to assist the research and development of alternative energy sources. Now that I am an old, retired cripple without the passion that I once had, fixing jets, I have made alternative fuels my new passion.
So, hopefully, you will be reading another article written by me in the near future describing my success in the operation of my own truck and, even better, the success of a co-op I helped to form and the success of others I helped to realize the same freedom from petroleum and the costs associated with it. And furthermore, hopefully, I won’t be assassinated before I get a chance to write that next article.
Thank you for your attention. Feel free to email me with questions and comments.