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Summit Up

Special to the Daily

Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column preaching the power of vegetable oil.We’re not touting the grease because we’ve found it’s the best way to fry tacos, but rather as an economical and environmentally-friendly option for running our diesel vehicles.See, there we were minding our own business on Saturday, when an old friend rolled, well, uh coasted, into town in his 1986 Winnebago, packed to the gills with snowboarders.

This being Summit County, such a picture probably seems fairly normal. After all, aren’t the county’s resorts often the stopping point for road trippers seeking snow, good times and general mayhem, especially in the Spring Break month of March?But, the RV that held this gaggle of boarders wasn’t just any ride. You see, instead of guzzling hundreds of gallons of gasoline halfway across the country, it churned leftover vegetable oil from various restaurants to keep the motor running.Aside from two filters bolted onto the rear of the rig to gulp the oil down into the system, it looked like every other 10-year-old RV that’s had too much fun over the years – a little worn down, but dressed with plenty of character. It didn’t even smell like a McDonald’s kitchen inside.After we perused around the makeshift tour bus, we decided that this grease instead of gas thing is a pretty nifty idea.

Imagine, instead of pouring your life’s earnings into your gas tanks (we shouldn’t have to tell you that gas prices aren’t getting any cheaper these days), just asking your nearest Chinese or Japanese restaurant for their leftover grease – which they have to get rid of anyway, and usually pay to do so. Though cheap and relatively easy, we admit that the practice of displacing gas with grease isn’t for everyone. You have to drive a diesel vehicle for it to work, and the car must be converted to allow it to run on oil. But once that’s out of the way, you can switch back and forth between using vegetable oil and diesel to keep your wheels spinning.

Now, in this particular case, the wheels of the RV weren’t doing much spinning because our buddy had to pop the clutch every time he wanted to get back on the road. But that had nothing to do with the fact that it’s powered by oil; a little thing called the starter was missing from under the hood.But, as soon as the engine fires up again, the trusty Winney will be bound for Vermont to finish its cross-country trek from Portland, Ore. Of course, that’s after a quick stop at a Summit County restaurant to fill the tank with grease.***It’s Monday, and we’re out snooping behind Masato’s for vats of veggie oil. Drop us a line at, or leave us a message at 668-3998, ext. 13600, with greasy tales of your own.

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