Now and again if I am stopped at traffic lights or in slow traffic I will get a distinct smell of cooking coming from a nearby car. No they are not cooking a meal as they drive, they are using vegetable oil in place of diesel as a fuel.
Ah but that's illegal you may say , but no it isn't it is only illegal if you are not paying the duty on it when used as a fuel. If you try to get away without paying this duty you are risking a fine of £500 and the confiscation of your vehicle by H.M. Revenue and Customs "nicknamed the frying squad".
Does it work ? well yes but the vehicles I have seen using it tend to be older cheaper models and so the owners don't have as much to lose if it does cause any engine damage.
Some filter used cooking oil which is the cheapest option, but also the smelliest, depending on what has been cooked in it, they say that used oil from Dunkin Donuts gives a lovely sweet aroma that causes hunger pangs not to be recommended if you are on a diet.
Most people use ordinary store bought vegetable oil which costs about 32p a litre plus the duty at 47p per litre making a total of 79p per litre which compares to today's price at the pumps for diesel which is approx 94p per litre.
To be fully legal you first have to (strange as it may seem ) register as a fuel producer with H.M. Revenue and Customs and then pay monthly per litre used, you can go one step further and send your fuel for independent testing and then you pay the lower rate of 27p per litre bringing the cost down to a very economical 59p per litre.
Sounds tempting doesn't it, but I don't know of any local taxi drivers that have gone down this route maybe they are worried about voiding the warranty's on their cars or maybe they would feel embarrassed at the supermarket checkout with a trolley full of veg oil.