A company that owns fast-food franchises in Arizona says its gonna make good with the environment by re-using its vegetable oil — in the company's vehicles.
MJKL Enterprises runs 52 Carl's Jr. franchises in Arizona, more than anyone else, and vows to run its entire fleet on a mix of diesel and waste vegetable oil by 2010. Carl's Jr. specializes in hamburgers and fries.
"This is about more than our commitment to running a responsible and sustainable enterprise," CEO Jason LeVecke said in a statement. "It's a challenge to our corporate peers to play an active role in lessening America's dependence on foreign oil."
The company said it has already converted 20 percent of its vehicles to run on waste vegetable oil. The converted vehicles use a mix of diesel and vegetable oil that has undergone filtration and treatment.
"We get the same miles per gallon you would if using diesel/fuel alone," said Margaret LeVecke, marketing chief for the company as well as Jason LeVecke's sister. "We potentially could save $100,000 a year in fuel cost if all of our vehicles were converted today to run on wasted vegetable oil from our stores."
She added that the company has had no trouble with gritty oil "since we filter oil to 5 microns."
Studies show that vegetable oil also helps lubricate engines and is not as corrosive as gasoline, she said.
Jason LeVecke accused policymakers of favoring ethanol while ignoring vegetable oil. "The current model of slowly integrating ethanol into fuel blends is designed by politicians to protect their own special interests," he said.
"As a quick service franchise, we found ourselves sitting on top of a very viable solution to a significant energy problem in this country, yet we've had almost zero legislative support. We decided it's time to speak out and take action."