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Out of the Frying Pan, into the Bank
The Guardian
Rebecca Allison
10 February 2003, p.1

Petrol companies are forever searching for new ways of enticing drivers on to their forecourts. So they may like to take a lesson from O'Neill's Fuels in Coalisland, Co Tyrone, which yesterday launched a decidedly unusual promotion.

Motorists can save 7p a litre each time they turn up with a bucket of spent chip fat.

The company's director, Tracy O'Neill, said it was handing out containers for people to collect their oil. "It's as easy as pouring it out of your frying pan."

In addition to the cash incentive, there is a point of principle.

The fat will be recycled into biodiesel -- low sulphur, low emission fuel that is suitable for all diesel cars and is around 20p cheaper than the ordinary.

"Most people just dump their used cooking oil so this is a good chance for them to play their part in helping the environment," Ms O'Neill said.

The idea that eating chips can help save the world may sound like a glutton's fantasy. But it appears to be working. The biodiesel is selling at 58.75p a litre against 77.78p for normal diesel, and business yesterday was reported to be swift.

The use of recycled oil was put in the spotlight last year when it emerged that motorists in Wales had been experimenting with fuel combinations, but without paying duty. The alarm was raised when sales of Asda's cheap vegetable oil soared in Swansea.

Ms O'Neill dismissed suggestions that vehicles running on the fat might start to trail a faint aroma of soggy chips. "I've certainly not smelt anything," she said.

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