Greasel Car

Buehler’s green fuel and the vehicles that love it

At Buehler’s we like to walk it like we talk it. Much of the produce we sell is locally grown and our top tier beef comes from sustainable farmers at Niman Ranch. We even make our own compost from the food waste from our restaurants and produce departments. And we have public recycling centers at our New Philadelphia, Ashland, Wooster Milltown and Dover locations.

But one of our most notable environmentally friendly achievements is probably one you don’t know about: Greasel, our own waste vegetable oil (WVO) fueled vehicle.

WVO is filtered vegetable oil previously used in our Buehler’s restaurant fryers. But WVO isn’t biodiesel. Biodiesel is vegetable oil that is chemically treated to remove the glycerin and thinned to correct viscosity by chemical treatment. WVO is thinned to the proper viscosity using heat from the engine. How’s that for green energy?

Other reasons WVO is just as good as — if not better — than biodiesel:

  • It produces the same amount of power
  • It gets the same MPG
  • Biodiesel costs money to prepare each batch. WVO only costs the initial fee of converting a vehicle’s engine.
  • Studies show WVO’s lubricating properties increase engine life
  • WVO creates a smaller carbon footprint

To start the Greasel-making process, we collect oil from Buehler’s 11 restaurants and 13 delis at the Buehler’s warehouse weekly. It’s dumped into a 275 gallon tote to settle, which is the easiest filtering method.

The oil sits for a period of time, allowing the sediment and water to fall to the bottom. The oil is then pumped from the settled tote through a .5 micron bag filter into a clean oil gallon tote before being pumped into the vehicle.

We use alternative fuel to power two company vehicles: a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta TDI and a semi-truck. And Greasel exhaust really does smell like fresh cooked French fries or a fry booth at a county fair. But we think you’d rather smell fried food than nasty truck exhaust.

To find out more about our green initiatives and sustainable practices, visit the We’re Green page now.

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