David Cameron and his government recently told us Brits to “plan for every eventuality” with regard to the threatened strike by fuel tank drivers. The result? Panic buying, long queues at the pumps and further hikes to the cost of fuel. Marvellous.
This got me thinking back to my university days when I used to run a £425, 259,000-mile Peugeot 405 GLXD Turbo estate on free, used vegetable oil, which I was given by a couple of fish and chip shops.
All I needed was a 100-litre vat with a tap, plenty of old bed sheets to strain out last week’s chips and a healthy supply of fuel filters. I bought 10 at a time for £30 and changed them every 150 miles or so due to the vegetable oil’s fuel filter-clogging properties.
Keeping the car happy was simple; start it up on minimal diesel to get fuel system warmed up, then chuck in as much oil as I needed for any given journey or my shifts as a ‘pizza delivery expert.’
While keen vegetable oil drivers will tell you that you need proper heaters for the fuel lines, an old diesel-powered Pug (205, 306, 405 etc) fitted with a Bosch fuel pump will happily chug along on the stuff without any modifications. Two close friends and I even drove the car on used oil to Cabo da Roca in Portugal.