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Diane Nassy

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Thanks to a weird marriage between the National Renderers Association, the people who turn animal fat into useful products, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards , there is a possibility that your car could be burning chicken or other animal fat in the next few years.

That’s because these two agencies have been working together to advance the development of petroleum-based fuel alternatives known as “biofuels”. According to a jointly issued report, yellow grease, lard, recycled cooking fat, and other animal-derived products have been shown in tests to perform as an acceptable alternative to fossil fuels.

So far the fatty fuels have been tested in boilers, trucks, busses, and some automobiles. The results have been pretty impressive. In fact, the EPA has issued guidelines for companies who want to convert to biofuel to run their factories, power generating plants, and diesel engines. The guidelines spell out what fuels can be replaced by biofuels and what incentives the government is offering to those who take the leap. You can read the guidelines here at the EPA site ( http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/t3ed.html ).

None of this alternative fuel talk has escaped the attention of the automobile manufacturers, big oil companies, or environmental groups. Everyone is looking at the possibilities in order to find a way to make some money when all is said and done.

Some people are doing more than looking, however. One school district in Georgia is running their school busses on chicken fat, and some trucking companies are converting their diesel engine to burn vegetable oil. It all seems to be working out quite well. Of course, there will probably be a vegetable shortage next, and we’ll see Crisco hitting $5.00 per tub!

Although it’s not likely that your next off-the-lot car will have “finger licking good” exhaust fumes, there is a great need to develop fossil fuel alternatives. Researchers aren’t just working with animal renderings and vegetable oil either. Experimental research is being conducted with hay and agricultural wastes as well. Even chicken “droppings” are getting burned.

Some companies are developing conversion kits that will let ordinary gasoline engines run on animal fat or vegetable oil. The average cost for a conversion kit runs around $1,000, but the savings can add up pretty quickly when you consider that many restaurants are giving away their used fry grease for free.

The main problem is finding ways to produce good mileage results and developing engines that are able to handle the effects of non-petroleum fuels. These aren’t overwhelming problems, but they still must be addressed before biofuels become mainstream. And for the conspiracy theory fans among us, there is always the possibility that “big oil” will do everything it can to stop biofuels from replacing their coveted black gold.

While having to scrounge around for buckets of fat, or scraping road kill from the Interstate might slow down your travel plans, there will come a time when biofuels will be flowing from your neighborhood service stations as freely as grease from a fried chicken platter.

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Diane Nassy is the founder of http://www.save-on-gas-prices.com. Visit her website for great tips on ways to save on rising gas prices. Email : deeljeabiz@gmail.com
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