We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Grease Car?

Michael Pollick
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In an effort to reduce dependency on petroleum-based gasoline, some car owners have installed special conversion kits which allow their diesel engines to burn waste vegetable oil (WVO) along with standard diesel or biodiesel fuel. Such an ecologically sensitive vehicle is often referred to as a grease car. A grease car uses filtered vegetable oil, often obtained at little to no cost from local restaurants, to power a slightly modified diesel engine. The primary modifications made to a grease car are a new storage tank for the vegetable oil, additional fuel filters and a heater to bring the oil up to operating temperature.

Many would-be grease car owners are impressed by the lower overall emissions and improved fuel efficiency of a biodiesel grease car. Biodiesel fuels and waste vegetable oils do emit some toxic gases into the atmosphere, but not in the concentrations of standard gasoline exhaust. A grease car may also require standard diesel fuel during the start-up process, since the vegetable oil may not readily ignite at lower air temperatures until warmed by a heater unit. Many grease car owners report only occasional trips to the gas station for standard diesel fuel, however, relying primarily on steady supplies of waste vegetable oil from local vendors.

One difficulty grease car owners face is a regular supply of suitable vegetable oil. In general, a would-be grease car owner should first negotiate with local restaurants and other food establishments to pick up their waste oil for free. Many restaurants contract with local disposal companies to discard old vegetable oil, so the owners may agree to such an arrangement as a cost-cutting effort. Transporting large containers of vegetable oil from a restaurant to a private residence may prove logistically challenging, however, so a grease car owner should work out these details before investing in a conversion kit. The oil must also be filtered, which means investing in a commercial filtering system or creating one from scratch.

The conversion kit itself can be relatively expensive, up to a few thousand dollars (USD) for high-end systems. Professional installation is not strictly necessary, but many people find it helpful. A home mechanic with the proper tools and equipment could most likely install the conversion kit over the course of a weekend. This is assuming a suitable diesel vehicle can be found, since many car manufacturers have slowed or eliminated production of new diesel passenger cars. An older diesel vehicle from the 1980s or 1990s may prove to be the ideal candidate for grease car conversion.

It is also important to keep in mind that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not currently recognize waste vegetable oil as a environmentally safe fuel. There may be a number of local regulations concerning the storage, filtering and disposal of waste vegetable oil, so a grease car owner should make himself or herself aware of any legal responsibilities or liabilities in case of an accidental spill or discharge. Competition for a limited supply of waste vegetable oil among grease car owners could also affect the cost and availability of fuel in the future. It is also true that a biodiesel car running entirely on WVO can indeed smell like french fries, but many grease car owners consider the smell to be a small price to pay for fuel independence.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to WikiMotors, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By Wisedly33 — On Mar 18, 2014

All right, I'll admit it: the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw "grease car" was "It's Automatic! Hydromatic!" from the movie "Grease." I thought it might be a name for a late 50s car. But I see it's one of those cars that runs on French fry oil.

This is not a bad idea. It's a great way to reuse, repurpose and recycle. With gas going up every day, it makes me wish I had the money to convert my car to run on cooking oil!

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to WikiMotors, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range...
Learn more
WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.