Skip to main content

Pork torque: Bacon grease powers motorcycle engine


There's a new hog on the road – a Minnesota motorcycle powered by bacon grease.

The publicity project comes courtesy of Minnesota meat producer Hormel Foods, which partnered with an advertising agency to create the retro-looking bike, ABC 6 News in Rochester reports.

The grease comes from the Austin-based company's Rochelle, Illinois plant, which produces Hormel Black Label Bacon.

That "100% Black Label" grease is then treated by a biofuels company that converts it into biodiesel fuel to power the motorcycle engine, the station reports. It costs roughly $3.50 a gallon to convert the fuel, which gets about 75 to 100 miles per gallon, ABC 6 News reports.

Hormel is sending the bike on a road trip from Austin to California with a film crew, which plans to put together a documentary in time for the International Bacon Film Festival in San Diego at the end of August. Follow trip progress here.

You might wonder: Doesn't the running engine smell like bacon?

Yep. But the rider making the trip to San Diego is a "bacon lover," advertising spokesman Scott Schraufnagel told ABC 6 News.

And Hormel spins it this way: "Exhaust you want to eat."

This embed is invalid

Grease is the word

Hormel is the latest in a line of other companies and individuals who have outfitted vehicles to run on cooking grease-powered engines. The Toronto Sun just last week profiled a burger joint owner who converted his beat-up old Mercedes Benz to run on the grease from his restaurant's french fries.

To be sure, grease is an abundant fuel source. Hotels and restaurants in the United States generate 3 billion gallons of waste cooking oil per year, the EPA says, which could fill tanker trucks parked bumper-to-bumper from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. and back.

But if you are thinking grease cars sound pretty good (even if they smell kinda bad), be warned that there are some hassles involved.

The website Wise Geek outlines a few, starting with conversion kits that may cost a few thousand dollars (although enthusiasts say you can ultimately save that in fuel costs). Professional installation will run you more. And you'll probably have to sacrifice trunk space for an auxiliary tank.

You'd also have to arrange for a fuel source, which may mean convincing a local restaurant to give you its grease.

Still want to learn more? Consumer Reports earlier this year wrote in depth about its experiment in converting a diesel-powered 2002 Volkswagen Jetta TDI to run on fry grease. One conclusion:

"Our Jetta ran well on the used cooking oil, but the inconvenience of finding fuel sources and preparing the oil for use in the engine limits its appeal and offsets its low price."

Next Up

Waits family screengrab CNN

Support for MN family after anti-maskers target child of school board chair

An online group opposing Kelsey Waits outed the child as transgender.

Pixabay - school - classroom

St. Paul schools add 2 days to winter break due to pandemic stress

The added days off are meant to acknowledge the stress the pandemic has caused.

Fardoussa Abdillahi

Charges: St. Cloud mother killed baby, placed him in dumpster

The 4-month-old baby was found by officers on Sunday morning.


1 dead in crash at Lake Street intersection in south Minneapolis

There have been 465 deaths on Minnesota roads this year, according to the state's traffic division.


St. Paul restaurateur's businesses burglarized a 6th time

The owner of The Gnome and Hope Breakfast Bar is asking politicians to help St. Paul business owners.

North Memorial Air Care

Teen suffers life-threatening injuries in head-on crash in southern MN

The 18-year-old was airlifted to a Mayo Clinic hospital in Rochester.

foo fighters grohl mr rossi wikimedia

Foo Fighters abruptly cancel Gophers stadium show hours after announcing it

The band is looking for a new venue because of a disagreement over COVID protocols.


LUSH in Minneapolis to reopen under new ownership in December

FOX 9's Jason Matheson and two popular performers are among the new owners of the revived bar and restaurant.

unsplash roller blade close

Lace up: Indoor skating returns to US Bank Stadium this winter

The venue announced 13 Winter Warm-Up dates for both skaters and runners.


More than 1,500 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in MN

Minnesota's hospital systems continue to be under tremendous strain.

state patrol

3 killed in trio of crashes in Minnesota on Monday

The crashes happened in St. Louis, Winona and Carver counties.