Category Archives: Big Oil

USDA visits Propel, highlights 10,000 pump plan

Judith Canales, Administrator for Rural Business and Cooperative Programs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), stopped by Propel Fuels’ Oakland, California location to promote access to renewable fuel. Administrator Canales highlighted the beneficial economic and environmental impacts of American-produced biofuels.

Administrator Canales emphasized that a thriving domestic fuel industry will benefit the US economy. “The USDA is committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America and we believe a strong renewable fuels industry, including convenient access to these fuels, is critical to this goal,” said Canales.

The USDA plans to increase access to domestically produced fuels by helping to fund the build out of 10,000 renewable fuel pumps across the country over the next five years. Retailers selected to receive USDA funds have yet to be determined.

“Propel shares the USDA’s vision for quickly increasing consumer access to renewable fuels in order to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, boost local economies, and reduce emissions,” said Jim Iacoponi, Vice President of Operations of Propel. “Through a partnership between private investment and public funds, Propel will continue to build the critical link between California’s drivers and the next generation of fuels.”

More on Administrator Canales’ visit to Propel:

Nuts for biodiesel!

It’s big, it’s shaped like a peanut and, best of all, it runs on biodiesel.

The latest incarnation of the Planters Nutmobile is going green, using a biodiesel-powered modified Isuzu NPR box truck as the base for its fiberglass body. The nutty vehicle also touts a rooftop wind turbine, solar panels, LED interior lighting, recycled parts and reclaimed-wood floors.

It is fitting that the Planters Nutmobile should be powered by biodiesel since Rudolf Diesel originally designed his engine to run on peanut oil. There’s no word on if the biodiesel used will be of a nutty variety.

Read more from the New York Times.

BMW diesel Super Bowl ad. Fueling ch-ch-change.

From Moonshine to Fuel: Ethanol is an American Tradition

Clean, American ethanol is a part of our history! Click the images below to learn more.

Run faster, cleaner? Use E85.

The old rules of racing are being challenged as cleaner and more efficient automotive fuels find their way to the track. Project Green, a group of researchers from the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory has found that modern fuel-injected engines powered by E-85, outperform the same engine with a carburetor and leaded racing fuel. The cleaner burning fuel injection engines have been replacing carburetors since the 80s, except on the track.

“The testing disproves two widely and firmly held beliefs in the circle track racing community: that carbureted engines are inherently more powerful than engines equipped with a fuel injection system; and that E-85, which is less expensive than leaded racing fuel, is not well-suited as a fuel for race cars”, says Forrest Jehlik, principal mechanical engineer at Argonne’s Center for Transportation Technology.

Read more

US Senator Patty Murray and Propel discuss economic impacts of biodiesel industry

Monday morning, Senator Patty Murray (D – WA) & Propel hosted a press conference to discuss support for the Biodiesel Blenders Tax Credit and its positive impacts on job growth, carbon emissions reduction and national security. Since the tax credit was left to expire in January, US biodiesel production has largely screeched to a halt. As a result, many producers including Imperium Renewables have looked to markets outside of the US to sell its fuel. The industry’s message was clear; renew the tax credit and our industry will immediately increase production, and create jobs.

The event was held at Propel Fuels Clean Fuel Point, the first renewable fuels station in downtown Seattle, Senator Murray was joined by the leaders of companies from up and down the biodiesel value chain (bioscience, refining, production and retail consumer access), who discussed the importance of the extension of the tax credit currently being debated in Congress.

Speakers included Matt Horton, CEO of Propel Fuels, Todd Ellis, VP of Business Development for Imperium Renewables, Dr. Margaret McCormick, COO for Targeted Growth, and Cameron Hewes, President and CEO of General Biodiesel.

A Step Toward Algae Into Ethanol

Algenol Biofuels announced plans for a pilot algae-biorefinery to produce ethanol from captured CO2. The demonstration plant will have the capacity to produce 100,000 gallons a year, with desired cost of the ethanol at $1.00 per gallon.


Algenol Biofuels

Paul Woods, CEO of Algenol, said in a recent press release, “this project sets the stage for commercial scale production by proving two critical principles: first, that ethanol can be made economically without consuming fresh water or displacing valuable farmland better suited to food and feed production; second, that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide can be reduced by capturing CO2 from a variety of industrial sources and using it to produce fuel that can displace conventional, high carbon gasoline.”

The project will move forward in partnership with Dow Chemical Company, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Membrane Technology & Research.

Propel’s fueling platform currently delivers advanced low-carbon fuels including biodiesel from waste stream feedstocks like recycled fats and oils, and locally grown, marginal land crops like camelina. The fueling platform is designed with the flexibility to accommodate low-carbon fuels today, as well as future fuels such as algae- and cellulosic-based fuels, hydrogen and electric chargers. As petroleum extraction becomes more harmful and invasive, today’s alternative fuels are already more sustainable, with next generation fuels on the horizon providing even greater benefits.

Audi TDI Clean Diesel premier strikes a chord

If you look in the Propel parking lot you’ll see a common thread, clean diesel vehicles. As a fuel company working to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we recognize the importance of providing access to both American-made fuels, as well as efficient clean diesel and Flex Fuel vehicles. Audi recently premiered its “Diesel. No longer a dirty word.” campaign with a provocative message that stuck home. The advertisement reminds us that America uses 1.5 million barrels of foreign oil each day. And with more efficient vehicles, we can send it all back. Watch the video — click here. Learn more about  the Clean Diesel Movement.

America uses 1.5 million barrels of foreign oil each day.


With efficient cars and American-made fuels, we can send it all back.


Citrus Heights & Elk Grove pricing signs

Propel’s new pricing signs are up in Citrus Heights and Elk Grove.

Citrus Heights (map)


Elk Grove (map)


Breaking News: ASTM Approves B5 and B20

ASTM, the global leader in fuel specifications, has approved biodiesel standards for B5 and B20. B5 was approved under the current ULSD diesel fuel specification.The specifications were approved with support from vehicle OEMs and petroleum suppliers.

“It is quite remarkable that the big oil companies and engine makers on the committee have now joined forces with the biodiesel industry to help approve these standards,” said Steve Howell, chairman of the ASTM Biodiesel Task Force. Howell was presented with an award of appreciation from ASTM for his dedication in leading the effort.
More than five years of research and consultation with the ASTM fuel experts went into the new standards. “We addressed the issues and concerns with solid, scientific research,” said Joe Jobe, chief executive officer of the NBB. “Without the tremendous amount of scientific data provided by independent organizations like Southwest Research Institute, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Coordinating Research Council and others, and the cooperation of the petroleum and engine communities, this would not have been possible.”

U.S. to pay over $440Billion for imported oil in 2008

Green Car Congress is reporting on a new study released by PIW.

Study blasting biofuels. The other side of the story…

This week articles in Science and Scientific American blasted the use of crops as biofuel feedstocks. The studies question the environmental benefits of ethanol, forecasting gloomy scenarios based on corn-ethanol  farming technologies as they exists today. They do so by effectively changing the way the carbon footprint of the fuel is calculated by directly linking global forest and land depletion to biofuels.

However, the real driver of forest depletion is not biofuels, its people. Population growth across the globe is increasing demand for agricultural land for food, clothing, etc. If biofuels production stopped altogether, the deforestation outlined in the study would not change. It’s erroneous to link agriculture expansion solely to biofuels, when all agriculture products make up the demand for land. Past studies have singled out organic farming practices, animal feed, and coffee – to name a few. This study has opted to ignore all other agricultural sectors, see here:

Propel is providing access to the cleanest low carbon fuels available. Fuels that solve the problem, not add to it. Our feedstocks come from sustainable sources that do not deplete our essential forest lands. The world’s current fuel, petroleum – is not sustainable. And while a few scientists focus on calculating worst case scenarios, there are scientists and businesses actively working on second generation, low impact feedstocks, like algae, that have huge potential to provide truly sustainable biofuels.

So what are other experts saying? Here’s a sample…


There are no easy solutions to a low-carbon transportation sector that do not require a significant contribution from biofuels. The challenges facing vehicle efficiency, electrification, VMT reductions, smart growth are different from those facing biofuels (they lessen the benefits we can get instead of risking costs), but for me, they do mean that the just-say-no approach to biofuels is irresponsible.


25x’25 Responds to Media Coverage of Studies Published in Science Magazine


Studies recently detailed in Science magazine address the possible consequences of a faulty approach to utilizing lands to produce biofuel feedstocks. Unfortunately, mainstream media coverage of the studies failed to report that they also identified ways to avoid these problems and insure that future biofuels give us both a new renewable energy source and greatly reduced greenhouse gas emissions.


Comment from Tim Raphael of Pac Ethanol

from Grist article:

Land Use Impacts Analysis Flawed
Why should US-based corn ethanol, other crop-based biofuels, or advanced cellulosic fuels take a carbon hit for international land use changes for food or housing or other non-fuel related production?  By that logic:
*    Any US farmland not growing food crops is creating a carbon debt by increasing demand for international food production–What are the “secondary land use impacts” of US grass seed farmers? Or tobacco farmers?  Or nursery owners? Or cotton, tomatoes grapes and a myriad of other non-food related agricultural acreage in the US?
*    Every new subdivision and greenfield commercial, industrial or residential development creates a carbon debt by taking potential food-producing land out of production and shifting that demand to sensitive, international native ecosystems; and
*    Any effort in the US to protect ancient forests or native ecosystems creates a carbon debt by increasing demand for international sources of wood products.

Any analysis that shifts away from a life cycle analysis of the carbon potential for a single product or fuel and attempts to distribute carbon potential to “secondary” or “tertiary” impacts will create a dead-end, through-the-looking-glass scenario that is inaccurate and unworkable.

The real implication of accepting “secondary land use impacts” is an on-going dependence on CO2 intensive, polluting, imported fossil fuels.  Inclusion of secondary impacts is the wrong approach–each product should stand on its own.

It’s Not Acre for Acre – Productivity Gains Means We Get More From Less

The analyses of land use impacts assume that for every acre of land dedicated to renewable energy feedstocks, another acre of land must be put into production elsewhere in the world.  This assumption is flawed for several reasons:

*    It fails to account for advances in seed and processing technology that are providing greater yields for each acre of feedstock.
*  Corn acreage in the US peaked in 1917 with 116 million acres planted, compared to 93 million acres in 2007.  During that period yields have increased by more than 1 bushel/acre/year, from 29 bushels/acre to 200 bushels/acre.  This year the US will harvest more than 10 billion bushels of corn, and exports are rising, so certainly US corn ethanol production is not causing a need for increased grain production in the world.

*    It ignores the value of the feed co-products that are produced at today’s biorefineries.
*    The food value of corn is not lost in ethanol production–distillers grain is a high protein, high nutrient co-product that is sold back into the food market.

*    It inappropriately assigns all of the impact to growth in renewable fuels, ignoring the effects of a growing world economy, increased demand for food, and urban sprawl.

The Environmental Impacts of Fossil Fuels are Increasing
The reports fail to account for the fact that every gallon of biofuel produced today requires less land, requires less water and is less energy intensive than a decade ago, while the opposite is true for oil production.  Every new gallon of oil produced is more energy intensive and requires much more water than before. 

The “easy” sources of oil have been found and are being depleted.  What is left are more remote, costlier and more environmentally damaging nontraditional sources like Canadian tar sands or Rocky Mountain oil shale.  By failing to capitalize on the opportunity renewable fuels offer to begin breaking our adherence to the oil standard, the world would be forced to develop these nontraditional sources of oil that carry significant environmental price tags.

Even traditional sources of oil have steep environmental costs that are not accounted for in the land use reports.  Where is the accounting for oil drilling in the Amazon?  Oil spills in San Francisco Bay?  Or asthma deaths from air pollution?


Farmers Provide Biodiesel Cred In Ford Country

The biodiesel sticker: a creature of a thousand faces that is becoming easier to spot on vehicles throughout the country. It comes in many forms from your basic “Powered By Biodiesel” to the more creative “Go By Grease,” and almost always it crops up on the bumpers of European passenger vehicles like VWs, Mercedes and Volvos. But while the average biodiesel user is depicted as a more socially conscious, urban dweller, biodiesel is slowly gaining traction with commercial diesel powerusers. And if you have any interest in seeing biodiesel become a mainstream alternative to petroleum fuels, you’ll want to read this article that describes a unique field study being led by the Iowa Soybean Association. The two-year study, called the “Two Million Mile Haul,” is examining the benefits of using biodiesel blends in the trucking industry. The results–as anyone familiar with biodiesel might assume-support the use of biodiesel in long haulers which represent “the largest single users of diesel fuel” in the country. Such a study–and others like it–should be considered a boost to the biodiesel industry. Though many Volkswagens and small diesel passenger vehicles will pepper the freeways in the next few years, a challenge for biodiesel proponents is to get light-duty truck owners to trust biodiesel. Now, with opinion leaders in the farm belt stumping for biodiesel, you can bet more Duramax’s, Cummins’ and Powerstrokes will have biodiesel running in their veins. And as light duty diesel trucks outnumber passenger diesels in the U.S. by roughly 10 to 1, it would be nice to see them join the party.


Canola biodiesel reduces CO2 emissions between 85-110%

A comprehensive independent peer reviewed study of Canadian canola for biodiesel has determined the emission reductions to be even more compelling than previously known.

Link to PDF 

Diesel far more detrimental to health than biodiesel.

From Science Daily

“Our research found that the particulate matter from diesel exhaust stimulated a ‘death pathway’ response that the body uses to dispose of damaged cells. This response caused the airway cells to fuse together and die.

“We saw hardly any cell death after treatment with biodiesel particulates.”

Associate Professor Ackland said that the results of the study provide support for calls to move towards replacing petrol and diesel with cleaner biofuels.

“It is clear that breathing in diesel fumes is going to have a far more detrimental effect on our health than biodiesel. Given the level of cell death we have found, diesel exhaust could be the cause of respiratory disorders such as asthma and could even be implicated in cancer,” she said

Leading the World in Gasoline Consumption

 From The Economist Via AutoBlogGreen

Food vs Fuel, or Food vs Petroleum?

Domestic Fuel Reports:

US Agriculture Secretary points to petroleum and weather, not agricultural energy crops, as the causes behind the small rise in some food prices.

Ethanol continues to get more than its fair share of blame for higher food prices, but Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns urges people to look at the whole picture.Speaking to farm broadcasters in Washington D.C. recently, Johanns said that he hates to pick out one item in the food chain and start blaming it for rising costs. “Look at how much diesel fuel has gone up recently,” he said. “What’s a significant piece of the food chain? It’s moving that commodity from farm to table.”

The latest forecast for food price increases this year is between three and four percent. Beef and poultry are up already over 4.5% from last year. But the largest increases are in fresh fruits and vegetables, which are up six to eight percent over 2006. According to USDA economist Ephraim Leibtag, “Part of this is due to weather damage, but also we just have seen higher production costs overall and higher costs of transportation coming into the system more fully.”

So, when it comes to reports that increased ethanol production is the cause of increased food prices, Johanns said, “Again, I would just urge people to be very cautious about this story. It tends to be an interesting story but it may not have the significance that one would argue. We need to tell the whole story.”

If Gov’t Subsidies Removed, Gas Over $10/Gallon

 Report: The Real Price of Gasoline (.pdf)

Together, these external costs total $558.7 billion to
$1.69 trillion per year, which, when added to the retail
price of gasoline, results in a per gallon price of $5.60
to $15.14. 

This report by the International Center for
Technology Assessment (CTA) identifies and
quantifies the many external costs of using motor
vehicles and the internal combustion engine that are not
reflected in the retail price Americans pay for gasoline.
These are costs that consumers pay indirectly by way
of increased taxes, insurance costs, and retail prices in
other sectors. The report divides the external costs of gasoline
usage into five primary areas: (1) Tax Subsidization of
the Oil Industry; (2) Government Program Subsidies;
(3) Protection Costs Involved in Oil Shipment and
Motor Vehicle Services; (4) Environmental, Health,
and Social Costs of Gasoline Usage; and (5) Other
Important Externalities of Motor Vehicle Use.
Together, these external costs total $558.7 billion to
$1.69 trillion per year, which, when added to the retail
price of gasoline, results in a per gallon price of $5.60
to $15.14.

A Realy Big Charcoal Nugget

One day’s CO2 produced by typical gasser car. A big charcoal briquette. (click to enlarge)

Based on 12k miles/year and standard EPA CO2 emissions by fuel:_
7,510 pounds/CO2/Year: Gas VW Jetta at 31 mpg. 19.4 pounds CO2/gallon x 12,000 annual miles/31
6,498 pounds/CO2/Year: Diesel VW Jetta at 41 mpg. 22.2 pounds/gallon x 12,000 annual miles/41
4,565/pounds/CO2/Year: – Toyota Prius at 51 mpg. 19.4 pounds CO2/gallon x 12,000 annual miles/51
1,430 pounds/CO2/Year: Diesel Jetta on at 41 mpg. b100 Biodiesel
(78% reduction vs diesel, 69% reduction vs Prius, 81% reduction vs gas)

Choices & Reality

Most cars to still use petro in 2015, say Frost & Sullivan

Despite the focus on developing and promoting environmentally friendly
engine types, 69 percent of vehicles globally will still run on conventional
gasoline in 2015, say industry analysts Frost & Sullivan.

Of those, 26 percent of vehicles are likely to use diesel, while only about
6.0 percent will be gas-electric hybrid vehicles, the company predicts.

The tough business of getting down to business

As concern about climate change and backlash against biofuels increase exponentially together, choices need to be made. Debates making news this week:

Vinod Khosla on “Environmentalists versus pragmentalists The problem with exponential growth of electric vehicles:

Our least-cost electric power options–coal-fired power plants–are by far our most destructive and dangerous ones. Coal burning directly kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide in particulate, sulfate and mercury releases, thousands of tons of radioactive emissions yearly, and emits over twice as much carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour (kWh) as any other form of power generation. The coming costs from worsening droughts from Africa to Indiana, intensified storms, and rising sea levels will bring misery to billions. (ed: Not to mention the destruction of vital habitats as hydropower expands)

Marsh Exec Warns Big Oil

Coming soon: alternative fuel rollups and acquisitions?
From Inside Greentech

The worlds desire for environmentally-friendly energy sources appears to be rising faster than global temperatures. This is a growing risk to all energy producers one that goes well beyond a fire at a plant, or a tanker that runs aground. Whats important for you as large producers of hydrocarbons is to view this risk honestly and address it strategically,” said Brian Storms, Chairman and CEO of Marsh Inc., at the opening of the Marsh National Oil Company conference in Dubai.

Humans ‘very likely’ cause of global warming,’ report warns

Exxon CEO Lee Raymond retired with a $500M package. Photo credit:

CNN reports

The world’s leading climate scientists, in their most powerful language ever used on the issue, said global warming is “very likely” man-made, according to a new report obtained today by The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, business has never been better for ExxonMobile

After ringing up the biggest annual profit in U.S. corporate history in 2005, Exxon Mobil on Thursday announced that it topped that number in 2006. Riding the wave of high crude-oil and gasoline prices, and despite depressed fourth-quarter earnings, the company reported a $39.5 billion profit, up more than 9 percent from the previous year. Its revenue of $377.6 billion exceeded the gross domestic product of all but 25 countries.

Life at the Pump…

The following is excerpted from “Oil on the Brain: Adventures from the Pump o the Pipeline,” by Lisa Margonelli.  Via SF Chronicle

I could have named this book, “The Incredible Power of My Right Foot.” We take gasoline for granted now, but we can’t afford to keep ignoring it.
– Lisa Margonelli It’s not even clear what we’re buying — gasoline’s fantastic uniformity means one is as good as another. Water doesn’t mix with gas, so beyond occasional traces of vapor, we don’t even have to worry about buying substandard gasoline. And all traces of where the fuel came from are completely erased by the time it gets to a gas pump. Texaco gasoline is no longer from Texas, and gas from Unocal is not from “Cal.” Both companies have been purchased by Chevron, anyway.

As if acknowledging the futility of trying to stand out from the pack when 168,987 gas stations are selling essentially an identical chemical mix, stations have adopted a clannish ugliness. Whether they’re in Fairbanks, Alaska, or Pine Island, Fla., they all subscribe to the familiar topography of canopied islands, cheerful plate glass, struggling hedges and “Smile. You’re being watched by a surveillance camera” signs. Predictable they are, to the very last 9/10ths of a cent, which is permanently printed on every last gas price sign in the land.

Your Choice: Worse or Worser

Pick your poison: Sierra Club ranks the oil suppliers.

These companies are among the largest and most powerful enterprises on the planet. The complexity of their organization and activities, the vastness of their reach, and the huge number of variables involved make objective ranking difficult. That said, it is possible to lump them into three general categories, as Sierra editorial interns Robynne Boyd and Sarah Ives do below: the “bottom of the barrel” (ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips), the “middle of the barrel” (Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, Valero Energy Corporation, and Citgo), and the “top of the barrel” (BP and Sunoco).

Biofuel Bloodbath 2007 Pt2: Scale and Logistics

propel biodiesel

We wrote about the inevitable biodiesel surplus in our 2007 prediction post. Ethanol faces the same market dynamic. The ethanol business has its origins in top down, mandate and blending based, constructed market pull. Midwest Gasahol in the 80s. This has changed a bit recently, with marketing dollars and high gas prices building a viable consumer demand near corn production regions where economic upside is local, and FlexFuel vehicles are available. For most fuel retailers, the downside MPG of e85 limits retail pricing power, limiting consumer access to niche providers.

Biodiesel, on the other hand, delivers near equivalent MPG and is the ultimate “FlexFuel” i.e. backwards compatibility with any diesel engine powered vehicle. Biodiesel users pay for the upside benefits: CO2 reduction, renewable and domestic fuel advantages without a significant performance or MPG penalty. Biodiesel’s lifecycle energy balance is also significantly more positive than ethanol. Yet, these two fuels remain linked not only in D.C. policy but in Big Oil uptake blending contracts and downstream supply choices, and of course crude oil contracts and price at the pump.

When ethanol/biodiesel is cheap, the refiners blend low and make money on volume. When ethanol isn’t cheap, the refiners only blend to state or Fed mandates. E100/B100 blend stock has no pricing power when feedstock prices rise and petro prices fall. Ignorance of the last mile delivery, positioning, and greed, are leading to the inevitable crash and investor bloodbath of 2007. The small, feedstock isolated biodiesel production start ups will be the first to go, as their “creative” project financing scenarios allow investors to pull the plug vs throwing good money after bad into a small market that now includes Cargill and ADM. Feedstock and scale win.

EnergyWashington reports: Congress May Be Needed To Keep Ethanol Bubble From Bursting

Plummeting oil and gasoline prices, spiking corn prices, historically high natural gas prices and ethanol production capacity reaching 15 billion gallons in a few short years are all the ingredients needed for a market massacre in the ethanol industry. Unless Congress comes riding to the rescue.

…So, if the price of gasoline were to drop substantially below the price of ethanol, why would any refiner add a high priced fuel additive, beyond the 5.4 billion gallon 2008 requirement of the renewable fuel standard (RFS) when cheaper alternatives exist? Suddenly a 15 billion gallon ethanol industry could find demand is only 5.4 billion gallons. The market solution is to cut ethanol prices, and a market collapses. Small, high cost producers would be the first victims, many of them pioneers in the farmer co-operative approach to building a viable U.S. ethanol industry. Small producers face not only the cost pressure of higher feedstock and operating costs but they also lack the capacity to store their product to wait out price declines. Increasingly the railroads, which ship the bulk of ethanol in the U.S., are demanding ethanol plants ship via so-called unit trains, i.e. single commodity ethanol trains consisting of 100 cars or more. Ethanol plants must have a quarter mile or more of railroad spurs available to process unit trains, which many of the smaller plants do not have, putting them at a further disadvantage.

California is Getting Serious


From the San Francisco Chronicle

Bold move on global warming
A WORLD FIRST: Governor to order new standard to reduce carbon content of motor fuels

… Schwarzenegger contends that the new policy will help foster more investment in alternative fuels and that increased use of them, in turn, will prevent gasoline prices from rising.

“Competition from alternative fuels will have the effect of driving down gas prices. We certainly expect less volatility in the market because we won’t be reliant on a single source of fuel,” said Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, chair of the California Energy Commission, which is studying cost of alternative fuels.

California has a ways to go before ethanol-powered vehicles pose a competitive threat to gasoline.

There are four pumps that dispense E85 — a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline — in California, a state with 9,800 gas stations and 30 million vehicles.

Weathering the Storm: Links for January 6, 2007

Biodiesel Driver Jon Crawford skiing. Photo: Mike K/Propel Biofuels

Pruning the biodiesel hype tree: We all feel for Mr Willie Nelson, he is indeed a true biodiesel supporter. Earth Biofuels comes under intense scrutiny from Forbes and Motley Fool. Propel welcomes this shake out. Opportunity attracts both the corrupt and the true: Restoring Eden: Inconvenient Christians – Evangelical Youth Climate Initiative

Our new Congess gets right to work on day one.

VW Polo: 60 MPG and lower CO2 emissions than Prius.

Auto Execs see the future

Texas and ARB: please put the biodiesel NOx issue to bed by understanding the most current science vs old, poorly done, EPA studies. Biodiesel does not increase NOx vs petro diesel, and the impact of NOx as emission of concern is up for considerable debate. Meanwhile, the petro-diesel emissions of particulate matter, sulfur, aromatic toxins, and CO2 remain.

Scientists’ Report Documents ExxonMobil’s Tobacco-like Disinformation Campaign on Global Warming Science

Oldie but a goodie: Oil Safari

Never Forget

Seattle GreenDrinks Next Tues, see ya there!

Prediction: The Great Biodiesel Surplus of 2007


propel biodiesel

The speculative money pumped into biodiesel production start-ups is about to reach it’s expected outcome: a very oversupplied domestic market. In fact, this market condition already exists, with much domestic biodiesel production heading to Europe in late 06.

One industry insider, who prefers to remain anonymous,  predicts…

“Total U.S. biodiesel capacity will be at less than 50% utilization in 2007, which will effect planned delays in several new plant construction projects as well as some complete plant shutdowns; marketers and retailers will benefit from good pricing.”

Some 80% of on-road diesel is sold at public fueling locations. So will Big Oil help make biodiesel available? American Petroleum Institute President Red Cavaney, in an exclusive interview with EnergyWashington senior editor Peter Rohde, says…

“You have got to remember, when you get down to retail only 5 percent of the retail stations are owned by the oil companies or the refiners. The rest of them are owned by individual businessmen or women. Some of them are jobbers, but a lot of them are just independents. Those are the ones that make those decisions. So they have got to see in their community enough demand to make them feel comfortable, and the government is going to give them credit so they can factor that in and all, and I am sure to a degree that will help a lot of people in their decision, but at the end of the day it is individual business men and women that are going to make these decisions. So the oil company is not going to decide this.”

So all the biodiesel demand side pull will come from mandated RFS laws? Or will a true, ground up market develop? Of course, this could all change if crude reaches $85/bbl and stays there. But this doesn’t seem likely in the near term, given the market’s new-found ability to withstand the same events that shocked crude up $5 a day back in ’05 (like Nigerian oil worker kidnappings or threats of war against Iran).

We expect biodiesel wholesale prices to squeeze in 2007 and beyond. The producers with control over feedstocks will be in the best position to ride out the storm (Cargill, West-Central, etc).

What does this mean for biodiesel users? Frankly, don’t expect Big Oil to offer biodiesel at the pump anytime soon. They have nothing but upside should biodiesel producers fail. Like any true market, the answer will come from businesses serving a demand that really exists. Propel will continue to target biodiesel outlets at business and communities that are willing to pay for the benefits of biodiesel. In fact, they just may end up paying less in the end.

Biodiesel Blog Roundup 12/12/06

Eric Case Biodiesel Propel Biodiesel Blog

Of note in the biodiesel blog world:

And a special note unrelated to biodiesel:

A loss for words: Thank you Leslie Harpold. Leslie has been an ongoing inspiration and confidant. Read more about Leslie’s profound impact on people everywhere.