Frequently Asked Questions
Question: You’re kidding, right?
Answer: No, really, it works. If it didn't, this website would probably qualify as the most elaborate and expensive practical joke of all time (not counting the last two presidential elections). The truth is that the diesel engine gets its name from Rudolf Diesel, who invented it to run on a variety of fuels, including vegetable oil. The key to burning vegetable oil in a modern diesel engine is pre-heating it so that it flows like petroleum-based fuel. Your engine produces waste heat, which is captured in the radiator fluid (a.k.a. “coolant”). By transferring this heat to the vegetable oil through a series of heat exchangers, you can get it to the proper temperature for burning in a diesel engine. To make it work, you just need to add an additional tank, some extra fuel lines and radiator hoses, and some electric switches to choose which fuel you use.
Q: That sounds easy. Why is it so expensive?
A: Oh, a wise guy, eh?!?! Well, to be perfectly honest, there are people who have converted cars using their own parts, or bought kits from companies like ours and installed them on their own. However, those people tend to have excellent tools, experience with auto mechanics, fine motor skills, and none of them read our website, much less get to the FAQ page. So, trust us when we say that it’s not quite as simple as the basic explanation above.
Q: OK, so maybe I should have it done by professionals. Or you guys. How long does it take?
A: The conversion in a typical passenger car (unlike Rome) can be built in a day. In most cases, if you bring it to us in the morning, it will be done by the evening. For larger vehicles, it may take two days, and for really nice, exotic specimens, we might need several days, mostly so we can drive it around and look cool for a change. Or use it as a getaway car. See our Customer Profiles page for a list of cars and trucks that we have successfully converted.
Q: Once my car is converted, how do I get waste vegetable oil?
A: That’s a good question. When we were first getting started, we hung out on street corners with paper cups and asked people if they had any spare vegetable oil, but they just looked at us like we were nuts. So then we figured that maybe we should go to the restaurants where they actually use the oil, and that worked way better. Most restaurants that have fried food on the menu keep the used oil in the back, and they are happy to give it away. Just be polite, and don’t make a mess, and make sure to eat there once in a while if you can afford it.
Q: I have a 2002 Ford Excursion. Can you guys make it run on vegetable oil?
Q: OK, so when I’m running my car on grease, will it get better mileage?
A: Criminy, free fuel and you want better mileage, too? Jeez… You just can’t satisfy some people. Performance and efficiency will be the same for diesel and vegetable oil, based on our experience.
Q: I’ve heard that burning vegetable oil will kill an engine in no time flat.
A: Yeah, well, that’s nothing – listen to this! We’ve heard that the government shot down a UFO back in the 50s, and they’re preserving the dead aliens out in the Nevada desert, and studying them, and they’re studying their spaceship, too, trying to figure out how it works…
Q: (Abruptly) What’s your point?
A: Well, you hear lots of things. Some of them are true and some aren’t - like everything on FOX News, for example. Thousands of people around the planet have put millions of vegetable oil-powered miles on their diesels, and have had no engine trouble to speak of. But, of course, nothing is foolproof, mainly because fools are such geniuses. They can think of ways to screw things up that would never occur to you and me. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you’re careful, and follow instructions, and have good karma, you won’t have any problems with running your diesel on vegetable oil.
Q: Where will I find a mechanic to work on my car once it’s converted?
A: Most mechanics we meet are wicked intrigued by these conversions, which is our way of saying they think it’s pretty cool. See, we’re from Boston, and people really do say “wicked smaht,” instead of “really smart,” and stuff like that. They use “wicked” as an adjective, instead of “very” or “exceedingly.” Isn’t it crazy how people talk different in different parts of the country?
Q: Who’s asking the questions here?
A: Right, sorry.
Q: So I can get work done by any regular mechanic?
A: Our conversion won’t interfere with the other major systems in your car. So, for example, you can still be charged a ridiculous amount to have your muffler replaced, or your brakes worked on. Many mechanics will also be happy to overcharge you to work on your grease system, to boot. Whether they can fix it or not is another question.
Q: I see. So can they fix it?
Q: Why not?
A: Well, it’s sort of tricky. Let’s just say that it’s probably a good idea to call us if you’re having trouble with your vegetable oil system. For starters, we don’t charge as much per hour, and we have more experience. And it’s probably something we did wrong anyway, so we’ll figure it out more quickly than someone else will.
Q: What music do you guys listen to when you’re working on cars?
A: I thought you’d never ask.
Q: What about the cold? Don’t diesels freeze up in cold weather?
A: Like snot, your vegetable oil fuel will freeze in cold weather. Unlike your nose, however, the system we install has a feature that allows you to push diesel fuel back through the lines that have the vegetable oil in them, guaranteeing that your car will still start up and run on the coldest of days.
Q: What happens if I’m out in the middle of nowhere, and I run out of grease?
A: We don’t call these cars “The Poor Man’s Prius” for nothing! It’s a diesel/vegetable oil HYBRID. With the two tanks, you’re always able to run on diesel, no matter what. Now, mind you, if you’re out in the middle of nowhere, and you run out of both, and there’s a full moon, and your passenger starts to sprout coarse hair and really big teeth, then you have much bigger things to worry about than where your next tank of grease comes from.
Q: You seem very intelligent and incredibly sexy. Why doesn’t everyone get a diesel car converted by greengreasemonkey.com?
A: I don’t know.