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Last Updated: Monday, 16 June 2008, 05:51 GMT 06:51 UK
Car owners 'turn to vegetable oil'
By Jonathan Blake
Newsbeat reporter

Man using funnel to fill car
Conversion kits come in at around 250 for a basic version
With fuel prices rising by the day, more and more people are looking for cheaper ways to run their cars and many are choosing to fill up with vegetable oil.

When Chris Kennet runs out of fuel he doesn't stop at a petrol station, he goes to his local fish and chip shop.

"I'm lucky enough to have a friendly chip shop, I go over there and pick up a couple of buckets," he said.

He filters the oil through a sack in his shed then pours it straight into the fuel tank.

The car's been fitted with a conversion kit to allow the engine to run on vegetable oil.

Chris's company Veggie Power makes the kits and recently they've been selling more than ever.

Cutting costs

He continued: "In the last couple of months, with the huge hike in fuel prices, the number of people contacting me has gone up 100%."

Other companies have also told Newsbeat they've seen a rise in orders for conversion kits.

They cost around 250 for a basic version, rising to several hundred pounds depending on the make and model of your car.

Ed Lyons, 26, from Portsmouth has fitted a kit to his first car: "If you recycle your own vegetable oil it costs you next to nothing really."

Ed Lyons
Ed Lyons cuts down on costs by recycling his own oil

As well as the DIY approach, many people are filling up with fuel made from vegetable oil at the pumps.

At Amazing Waste recycling centre in Milton Keynes staff are busier than ever.

Tiffany Irons from the company said: "We've just been completely inundated, especially over the last couple of weeks we've seen a significant rise in the number of customers."

Engine problems

Plumber Chris Streeter fills up van regularly: "It's much cheaper than in the stores and from a point of view of saving the planet it's much more friendly."

But drivers are being warned that using vegetable oil as fuel may be bad for your car.

Evrin Ravenscroft from the RAC told Newsbeat: "Although it may work satisfactorily in the short term, in the long term you could be causing problems for your vehicle's engine."

He says people should think carefully about running their cars on vegetable oil: "If you're thinking of converting it, seek professional guidance."

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