Biodiesel Theft: Bay Area Thieves Target Alternative Fuel

Posted by on Mar 25th, 2012 and filed under Biofuel, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

The newest item on Bay Area thieves’ wish list? restaurant grease, the easiest thing to convert into biodiesel fuel.

As eco-friendly cars reach a new high demand, so does the need for “yellow grease,” or leftover cooking oil.

“There is a black market for yellow grease now,” Andrew Panell of Dogpatch Biofuels told CBS San Francisco. “Independent people will steal it here and there and use it for their own vehicles, diesels converted to burn vegetable oil.”

Within the last two years, grease prices have skyrocketed from six cents a barrel to 50 cents, making this black market network larger and more complicated than just individuals trying to beat gas prices.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday that professional grease haulers have emerged as of late. Thieves often hit more than one restaurant a night, carting off tens of gallons in the back of a van. Although only a truck, a pump, and bolt cutters are technically necessary for the operation, some thieves go to great lengths to get the prize using crowbars, hammers and even blowtorches.

Since many of these thieves are actually licensed to collect grease, it has become extremely difficult to determine what has been stolen and to punish the guilty. Read more

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