Interview with Jacob Hamilton

February 26, 2007

jacob.jpgI’ve known St. Augustine resident Jacob Hamilton for about six years now.  Mostly through bands like The South, In Danger of Dead, and more recently through very actively touring bands Environmental Youth Crunch,  Tubers, and  Solid Pony.  And why it’s fairly obvious Jacob is quite a busy guy with all this music stuff (he also surfs alot and recently graduated college) he still finds the time and energy for renewable energy.  Which is what most of this interview is about.

1. Introduce yourself. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Jacob Hamilton.  I live in St. Augustine, FL. I’m 23 years old.  Adopted. Male. In a relationship.

2. You have a truck that’s runs on vegetable oil.  Briefly explain how that works. 

I have a diesel truck that runs off vegetable oil.  In fact any diesel engine has the capability to do it.  What I do is simply filter used vegetable oil that I get from veg.jpgrestaurants, and then mix it with 10% kerosene and 5% gasoline.  I also add about 10 ounces of diesel fuel conditioner per each fill.  When kerosene and gasoline are combined with the veggie oil they create a solvent which thins the viscosity of the oil – very close to the viscosity of diesel.  I don’t recommend this mixture for below freezing temperatures, but you can mix diesel with this fuel at any ratio at any time.
(the chart to the left shows the mixing ratios)

 3. What are some of the benefits of this? The drawbacks? 

The benefits are that I pay between 40 and 50 cents per gallon for fuel.  Veggie oil is a renewable resource.  Burning veggie oil is carbon neutral (also referred to as a Carbon offset). The oil that I get has been used already, so it is then recycled.  I don’t have to pay the road tax implemented in fuel prices.  Running on veggie oil will preserve the life of my engine because it is a better lubricator than diesel.  And I’m not supporting a war that I don’t believe in.

4. How did you hear about this? 

Our friend [Dave Rosenstraus] in Allentown PA told us about it…..He now converts engines and owns Fossil Free Fuel.
veg2.jpg5. Are there a community of people doing this? 

There are pockets of people throughout the entire US that are beginning to run vehicles on veggie oil.  They are sharing techniques, making public presentations and doing their part to preserve the world for future generations.

6. How feasible is it for your average car owner to make this switch? What problems, if any, could you envision?

The only major draw backs is that it takes some time and you can get a little messy.  There can be some hiccups that may happen along the way, but before I began doing this I knew nothing about engines. Those hiccups that I’ve experienced have taught me the most and made this whole process a great learning experience.

7. There is alot of talk about ethanol as the new renewable/cleaner resource, with alot of government interests. What’s your take on this?

I actually don’t know a lot about ethanol, however – there are lots of opportunities and options available.  The oil companies love to keep even archaic technology under the rug. Rudolph Diesel invented the diesel engine to run on vegetable oil in the early 1900’s. This has been available for an entire century.

8. Anything else you’d like to add?

I recommend everybody to try this,  or at least spend some time researching it.  Due to my experience,  I will never again own a gasoline engine.  And if veggie oil isn’t a good enough reason, then the simple fact that diesel engines get better gas mileage and last twice as long could make the difference. 

Have fun with it.



  1. You or Jacob should post something with a little more in depth info, like how much it generally costs to convert, and resources for people in Florida that may be interested.

  2. great interview – thanks for doing it!

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