The Hook: Hot Oil: Grease Creates a Lucrative New Crime
From The Hook (June 6, 2012):
Back in the day, when John Spagnolo was in the restaurant business, he remembers having to pay to get rid of used cooking oil.
“Then they began taking it away for free,” says Spagnolo, a sales manager with Greenlight Biofuels, a locally-based company founded in 2007 that collects and processes waste oil in Virginia and Maryland to produce biodiesel fuel. “Now we pay restaurants for their used cooking oil.”
Indeed, with gas prices so high, the demand for biodiesel has been rising. According to the National Biodiesel Board, one billion gallons of the stuff is now being produced every year. As they say, it’s a hot commodity. And as a result, crooks are stealing the stuff. At peak times, it sells on the street for as much a $4 a gallon.
“This is a big problem for us,” says Spagnolo, who estimates that they lose between 20 and 40 percent of their oil to thieves.