Burgers, fries and striving for a greener planet

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What do Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald’s have in common besides a prescription for heart failure and obesity?

It seems that the greasy fries at our beloved fast food restaurants have more of a purpose than to merely make you fat or lead you on your way to a cardiac arrest. Although over the years we have been warned to lay off the crunchy onion rings that leave oil dripping down the chin, that same oil can be used as an alternative fuel for diesel vehicles.

If you’ve ever been on a top floor of a Downtown building and looked outside the window you can’t miss that stagnant concentration of the dirty, grayish smog that’s poised perfectly on top of the city. Not only does Biodiesel emit less harmful chemicals that deplete our ozone layer, it cuts the carbon-monoxide by virtually one-half.

Biodiesel fuel can be made out of resources such as fish oil, beef tallow, hemp, as well as the basic oils like canola, sunflower, and soy. Although the making of Biodiesel is not as simple as pulling up to a McDonald’s drive through window and ordering yourself some fries with an extra side of waste oil, the main ingredients for the planet friendly fuel are the right mixture of lye, menthol and vegetable oil. Adding these to a standard diesel engine will convert your vehicle into a earth friendly Biodiesel engine.

Not only will using Biodiesel help clean up the planet, you will save some money while you’re at it. For those concerned about costs this new way of fueling will put a smile on your face. Mixing your own Biodiesel fuel will cost you about 60 cents per gallon.

Though most states still impose a 47.3 cents tax on alternative or petroleum fuel, roughly a dozen states are offering incentives for the use of alternative fuels. Though this idea sounds foreign to most people, it is over 100 years old. So, put on some gloves and dig in to the new way of fueling your diesel rockstar.

Although the use of Biodiesel has risen since 2000 to 15 million gallons, it seems the Europeans have welcomed this new way of fueling with a friendlier outlook. Only 2% of the cars that are on the road in America are diesel vehicles, compared with 30% in Europe.

With gas prices that keep rising and oil reserves that are disappearing at a faster rate then we’d like to admit, right now is a good time to start evaluating the true benefits of having a diesel car.

Biodiesel is renewable and non-toxic. When compared with petroleum fuel, a pure form of Biodiesel produces 60-90 percent fewer toxins and practically poses no threat to global warming.

There are many web-sites that can provide all the necessary information on converting the waste oil into fuel for those who drive diesel vehicles. The procedure is simple enough to accommodate both men and women. For the men who prefer the more masculine guzzler, a diesel truck is always a good choice. Not to mention the heightened possibilities of better luck on the dating front if she finds out you’re driving a planet friendly car. Besides, getting your hands dirty for cleaner air seems like a fair trade.

If you are interested in more detailed insights on converting your diesel car into a vegetarian, www.veggievan.org is a good place to start. So, if you have always wanted to help conserve this planet, but didn’t like the tree hugging idea, perhaps Biodiesel is a more effective way of improving the environment while saving some change in the pocket.

Tatiana Galadjev can be reached at spotlight.sundial@csun.edu.