Britons reach Athens on chip fat

A group of Britons, who completed a 3,750-kilometer drive from London to Athens in cars fueled only by used cooking fat, yesterday called on the public to embrace cheaper and more environmentally friendly biofuels. «There is no reason why Joe Public cannot do this, save themselves a bit of money and help save the environment because they are not using fossil fuels,» 34-year-old expedition leader Andy Pag told a reception at the British Embassy in Athens. The «Grease to Greece» mission was the brainchild of Pag, who led the nine cars on a 10-day mission across Europe. But instead of filling up at gas stations, the cars tanked up on used frying oil donated by restaurants and cafes along the route. According to Pag, the drivers received a warm reception from restaurant managers who were glad to «get rid of a waste product» while helping out. Some of the nine vehicles had been converted to run on vegetable oil while others had been fitted with standard engines using biodiesel that was prepared overnight in a «fuel pod» carried in a truck accompanying the convoy. «A lot of people don’t realize that biodiesel, when made properly, will run in any diesel engine,» Pag said. Pag said he spent 500 pounds sterling (about 628 euros) on the second-hand red Peugeot he drove on the expedition and had spent nothing on fuel since leaving London, making a saving equivalent of the cost of his car. His car was converted to run on cooking oil using a kit produced by a British firm called Regenatec, which promotes the use of pure plant oils as an ultra-low carbon alternative to diesel. Pag’s fellow travelers included a policeman, several engineers, two farmers and an accountant. Setting off from a «greasy spoon cafe» in London on August 16, the crew crossed France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Albania before crossing into Greece. Pag, who last year drove a truck to Timbuktu on factory-reject chocolate, is now planning a round-the-world trip next year aboard a small aircraft powered by aviation fuel made from recycled plastic bags.