Bulk Vegetable Oil

Download a free copy of the USDA report on Bulk Vegetable Oil Commodity Requirements now.

So here’s a problem I’m running into – where do I get the vegetable oil I’ll need to run the car and will it be cheaper than gas?

Finding a bulk vegetable oil distributor is difficult. I’ve called the local McDonald’s/Burger King/Wendy’s restaurants and the managers there have been surprisingly helpful. I was very surprised that they not only gave me the names of their suppliers (and in some cases their phone numbers), but not one of them asked me what I was doing. I was prepared to lay out my whole story so they wouldn’t feel uncomfortable that they were helping their competition, but none seemed to care!

Armed with the contact information from the fast food joints, I called around but none of the suppliers has called me back. Granted, I was doing my shopping on Memorial Day which might not have been the smartest move…

In the meantime, I’ve been looking at the local grocery stores as a last resort. I also joined both Costco and Sam’s Club (for unrelated reasons) so I looked into those as well. If you’re going cross country in your greasecar and aren’t planning on filling your trunk with a supply of oil, here’s what you can expect to pay in my area:

Albertsons Soybean Oil

Albertsons has a “Club pack” of soybean oil – 128 fl oz (1 gallon) for 6.29. That’s $6.29/gallon.

Sams Club 1.25 Gallon Vegetable Oil

Sam’s Club has a 1.25 gallon jug of Wessson vegetable oil for $5.09. That works out to $4.07/gallon.

35 pound jug of clear frying oil

Finally, the listing that has me most intrigued is also at Sam’s Club – a 35 pound jug of clear frying oil for $13.97. Based on some quick internet research, I’ve found that rapeseed oil weighs about 7.6 pounds per gallon. Assuming the same for the fryer oil, the jug contains about 4.6 gallons of oil. That works out to just over $3/gallon. Edit: Here’s some post-publication research on how much vegetabel oil weighs.

The $3/gallon figure doesn’t quite measure up to today’s gas prices, but keep the following in mind:

  • Gas will be going over $3/gallon in the next year. Drivers in Amsterdam and other parts of Europe already pay well over $6/gallon.
  • This pricing is based off of local store shelf prices, not bulk retailers. Buying in bulk has the potential to bring the price down dramatically (more on that to come).
  • Vegetable oil is a renewable resource as opposed to petroleum of which there is a finite amount. While we can expect petroleum prices to rise as the sources deplete, it’s possible that prices for vegetable oil will decrease as it becomes a more mainstream fuel alternative – increased production efficiency, distribution refinement, etc.
  • Finally, wouldn’t you rather pay American farmers for vegetable oil than Arab sheiks for petroleum? Dependence on foreign oil is slowing diplomatic gains for America across the board. I won’t bore you with the politics, but take a moment to think on the big scale what would happen if the price of a barrel of crude wasn’t all we heard about on the news.

My apologies for the rant. If you hear of a good source of veggie oil, please let me know.

14 thoughts on “Bulk Vegetable Oil”

  1. Could you give me the names of the disributors that the fast food companies gave you?


  2. Your info was helpfull, but I think looking at the “club stores” still dosn’t help me. I have a diesel RV and what I’m trying to find is where I can buy the oil is 55 gal drums. I would think the price should drop drastically by buying in that big of bulk. I am doing internet searches daily, but still havn’t found what I’m looking for. The used oil deal is all but over, a lot of new “company’s” have managed to tie that source up. These bio-diesel company’s are buying all of the used oil up and are refining and reselling it to the public, unfortunately their prices (after refining and shipping) are not much better than diesel at the pump.

  3. Larry – How about working with one of those companies? When I was looking, the first thing I did was call a few businesses in my area that dealt with large quantities of oil. For the most part, they were happy to refer me to their suppliers. Also, what about contacting the suppliers for Sams Club and the others? That oil has to be coming from somewhere.

    Silvia – I don’t think it would do you any good to give you the distributors names (I’ve forgotten them anyway). They were all local to the Dallas Fort Worth area.

  4. I hear all about that. Im here in N.C. and I used to one of the few that reused oil. but not anymore since some have money to spend on used oil. I am interested like Larry up there, I want to buy bulk. I found a palce from Africa for a deceit price. but by the time you pay shipping, Sams is starten sound cheaper. Id also have to buy around 1200 gallons. Im looking for out of date, non food grade. It has got to be cheaper. Id love to find 55gallon drums or even the 250 gallon totes, of any of the oil, soybean, corn, sunflower, canola, etcetera. I have runned all of them in my 300D. write any help you have to offer subject vege oil mcsiiatyahoo thanks to anyone. Ill pass along I find. good luck to everyone.

  5. can you simply run a diesel out of the above oil at sams club or do you have to do something to it??? What about in the winter? Do you ad something to it in order to keep the viscosity high?

  6. Hello Morris, where in NC are you located? I wouldn’t mind working with you on the bulk oil purchasing… I have a converted 300D as well…

  7. Is all vegetable oil non-conductive? Reason I’m asking is because I have a project I’m working on that involves just under 10 gallons of mineral oil, but the 5 gallon options for that are near 90 dollars.

    Also, when the oil does turn rancid, does it congeal or lose any of its conductive properties?

  8. I would recommend calling the buyer at SAM’S Club in Bentonville, AR and asking them if they can order a 55-gallon drum, or tote as a special order item for your club, and if so, what the cost would be.

    You’d be surprised what SAM’S Club is interested in doing for a member. Plus, there may be a lot of demand for a product like this. If so, they would love the excellent idea as well.

    I think if you call the 800 number and ask they buyer to get back with you they will. Make sure you have the item number of the 35 lbs of oil for the 800 number people so they can get the question to the right buyer.

    Good Luck

  9. To Chris and any others that might be curious; no you cannot run straight veg oil in a diesel. It has to be preheated, then purged from the lines and injector when stopping, and the setup for that is quite complicated. I know, I just finished doing it. The resource for that is http://www.plantdrive.com. Craig Reece, one of the owners, is very helpful if you have questions.

    For bulk oil shipments, you can get 20 metric tons, or 44,000 pounds, from China for something like $1150 dollars, or about 20 cents a gallon. You would need to have a cooperative for this, be near a port, and to find out more, go to alibaba.com for the sources.

  10. If you live near a packing house you can process raw talow.
    It doesn’t matter what animal (beef, pork, chicken ect) but
    Animal biodiesel will gel at around 40F. I live in utah and can run it
    From may to sept. Some towns may have a small rendering plant that
    Processes road kill. Sounds terrible but amimal fat works. There
    Was a plastic surgeon in calif that ran his SUV on fat he took off
    His liposuction patiences. He was arrested and had his licence
    Revoked but his truck ran great. Stick with animals.

  11. Anybody in North Carolina find bulk oil. I would like to buy 250 to 500 gallons at a time. I’m in Raleigh

  12. I am also looking for a new supplier for Waste Vegatable Oil. I use it it cleaned with a small mixture of unleaded and Diesel Klean straight, no conversion. Sometimes on cold morning I need to spray a little starter fluid in the the airbox. But runs great and quieter than diesel.

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