Transesterified vegetable oils (biodiesel) are promising alternative fuel for diesel engines. Used vegetable oils are disposed from restaurants in large quantities. But higher viscosity restricts their direct use in diesel engines. In this study, used cooking oil was dehydrated and then transesterified using an alkaline catalyst. The combustion, performance and emission characteristics of Used Cooking oil Methyl Ester (UCME) and its blends with diesel oil are analysed in a direct injection C.I. engine. The fuel properties and the combustion characteristics of UCME are found to be similar to those of diesel. A minor decrease in thermal efficiency with significant improvement in reduction of particulates, carbon monoxide and unburnt hydrocarbons is observed compared to diesel. The use of transesterified used cooking oil and its blends as fuel for diesel engines will reduce dependence on fossil fuels and also decrease considerably the environmental pollution.