Yellow kitchen grease has become as good as gold as gasoline prices soar and biodiesel fuel becomes more appealing, reports the Raleigh News & Observer. A slippery underworld of fry crooks – kitchen-oil rustlers who strike stealthily with siphon and hose – has emerged. State Rep. John Torbett has proposed to make illegal to steal or help anyone pirate kitchen grease. With a conversion kit, anyone can turn discarded cooking oil into a usable engine fuel that can burn on its own, or as an inexpensive additive to regular diesel.
Some states have wrestled with yellow oil thieves for years. California has had a kitchen grease law on the books for more than a decade. Virginia adopted a law last year similar to the bill sponsored by Torbett. Although state larceny laws already could cover such thefts in North Carolina, Torbett hears complaints that it was difficult to get such matters prosecuted. “The courts weren’t looking at it with a degree of seriousness because in their minds it was just people stealing grease,” he said. So the bill refers to the larceny of kitchen grease specifically in an act covering the rendering industry. Farmers who use the waste for personal use are exempt from the licensing and regulation.