Category Archives: Green Business

Hope to find a Koenigsegg on Easter

The only egg I want to find in my Easter basket is a Koenigsegg supercar—specifically, the CCXR or the new One:1. Not to be picky, but both of these ultra-performance vehicles run on E85 or E100. And what’s a sports car without a high-octane fuel?

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Koenigsegg One:1

Koenigsegg, the Swedish manufacturer of these high-performance sports cars, proudly touts its development of “green technology.” The CCXR was the first Hypercar in the world designed and calibrated to run on high ethanol blends (E85 or E100), as well as regular petroleum gasoline.

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Koenigsegg CCXR

The One:1 is following in the CCXR green tracks by also running on E85.

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Koenigsegg One:1

If you’re wondering about the name, here is what Koenigsegg has to say:

The hp to kg curb weight ratio is an astonishing 1:1. This is the  “dream” equation previously thought impossible. On top of this the One:1 is the first homologated production car in the world with one Megawatt of power, thereby making it the world´s first series produced Megacar.

I might not fully appreciate the engineering ramifications of this ratio, but I am throughly impressed regardless. Learn more about the CCXR and the One:1 at the Koenigsegg website.

Looking for a more sensible vehicle that can still run the same high-performance, high-octane fuel as these supercars? Check out our list of E85 vehicles.

Biodiesel-powered breweries bring together two of our favorite things

That would be beer and biodiesel.

As more breweries invest in sustainable practices and green initiatives, biodiesel is a preferred fuel for use in delivery trucks, generators, tractors, and other brewery vehicles. A recent Biodiesel Magazine article provided an informative list of several breweries utilizing biodiesel in one capacity or another—including a couple California breweries. And I’ve tacked on a couple more sustainable breweries to the list.

Sierra Nevada

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Based out of Chico, California, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has been using biodiesel blends for the past six years. According to the company website, Sierra Nevada acknowledges that “getting beer from our brewery onto store shelves is no small feat. We recognize the toll it takes on the environment and we’re doing what we can to minimize our impact.” Biodiesel fuel is used to power both long-haul and local delivery trucks as well as the tractors working the eight acres of hops and gardens in Chico.

Ryan Arnold, Sierra Nevada communications manager, told Biodiesel Magazine, “At the brewery we’re always striving to essentially close the loop, and biodiesel helps us turn what could be a waste product into something useful.The trucks perform well. With up to B20, we don’t see much change in mileage.”

Stone Brewing Co.

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The 10th largest craft brewer in the United States, San Diego’s Stone Brewing Co.  strives to use stainable methods in all aspects of its business. According to Biodiesel Magazine, “The company has a fleet of 40 box trucks, one hybrid truck, two Sprinter vans, and four single axel daycabs that all use B20.” In addition to using renewable biodiesel fuel, Stone also produces energy from rooftop solar panels, repurposes “spent grain” in their gardens, composts some kitchen waste, and offers electric car charging.

New Belgium Brewing Company

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This Colorado brewery has an extensive sustainability program that focuses broadly on reducing New Belgium’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in all aspects of the operation. And this includes using low-carbon “biodiesel made from recycled restaurant grease to fuel trucks and generators for its famous Tour de Fat, a philanthropic “bicycle, beer and bemusement” event that will travel to 10 cities this year.”

Red Lodge Ales

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According to Biodiesel Magazine, this Montana brewery “has used biodiesel for almost 10 years in its small fleet of delivery vehicles. The company collects waste grease from its restaurant customers and trades it for finished fuel from a local supplier. Other efforts include a large solar thermal array that heats water, and a system that introduces outside air into a cold storage during the winter months, reducing refrigeration needs.”

Steam Whistle Brewing

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Our Canadian neighbors are on the sustainable bandwagon too. Steam Whistle touts on their website that it has been using biodiesel to power their delivery trucks since 2006. Steam Whistle partners with local biodiesel producer, Canada Clean Fuels, to fill up all of their delivery trucks with Biodiesel B20 overnight, making filling with renewable fuel hassle-free for Steam Whistle’s truck drivers.

Milwaukee Brewing Co.

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This Midwest gem proclaims that is was “founded on principles of crafting and creating beers using the best local ingredients and suppliers in a sustainable, creative and innovative environment.” And in order to adhere to these principles, the brewery hunts out sustainable operation processes—including, of course, using biodiesel.

One of the company’s boilers is designed to burn oil, so, according to the website, “the brewery scoundrels engineered a process to burn vegetable oil in that boiler. Waste vegetable oil from the Milwaukee Ale House and other local restaurants is used to provide VOC-free energy. In 2011, this furnished about 30% of the heating needs, and we continue to seek new sources of dirty vegetable oil. Fortunately, Milwaukee enjoys fried food, and the staple Friday Fish Fry alone could fuel the brewery for years to come.”

We’re thrilled to see so many brewers taking on a variety of sustainably measures, including the decision to seek out biodiesel fuel as a way to reduce petroleum oil use in the transportation and production of tasty, tasty beers.

kettle-beerAlso, if you’re looking for a crunchy treat to accompany your green-brewed beer, opt for Kettle Brand chips. They turn 100% of the waste vegetable oil from their production process into biodiesel. Plus, all of their inventive flavors are downright delicious.

2014 Geneva Motor Show diesel vehicle round-up

European auto shows tend to deliver on the diesel front, and this year’s Geneva Motor Show was no disappointment. I just hope these models make it to American showrooms in the future!

Below are my favorite diesels from the show. Basic specs and pics courtesy  of Autoblog Green.

Audi TT

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The third generation of this sporty little two-seater was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show with the exciting news that “Audi is offering a trio of engines for the new TT, including a 2.0-liter turbodiesel powerplant that’s good for 184 horsepower, 280 pound-feet of torque and an excellent 56 miles per gallon.” Unfortunately, the the TDI option is currently unconfirmed for the US market. Here’s hoping!

Volkswagen Multivan Alltrack Concept

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The luxurious VW T5 MultiVan would take the vagabond-travel lifestyle to a whole new, classy level — or at least make hauling kids around in a van more appealing. The “nautical themed” van features an All-Wheel Drive system and a seven-speed transmission powered by a 177-horsepower diesel engine.

BMW X3

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Great news, this diesel will be available in the US! According to the Autoblog report, “in addition to the 2.0-liter turbo-four and 3.0-liter turbo-six, BMW will now offer an X3 xDrive28d, fitted with – you guessed it – the 2.0-liter turbodiesel inline four-cylinder engine found in the 328d sedan. Output for this engine is rated at 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, and BMW says this oil-burning mill will help the X3 reach 60 miles per hour in just under eight seconds. The automaker hasn’t released any information about real or predicted fuel economy figures for the diesel X3, as yet.”

Bentley SUV diesel

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Ok, so most of us will never be able to afford a Bentley, let alone a premium diesel model, but it warms my efficiency-loving heart to know that the option will be available for those who can. This wasn’t technically on the floor at the Geneva show, but Autoblog had the inside line from the a convo with the CEO. The luxury SUV is slated for production in 2017 and the possibility of offering a diesel engine option is currently in the works. In addition to the potential diesel option, the vehicle will be designed from the get-go as a plug-in hybrid. Hopefully, this Bentley will get the best of both efficiency worlds.

Volkswagen T-Roc Concept

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Autoblog is confident that VW plans to build a Golf-sized crossover that would nest under the existing, larger Tiguan and it will look something like the T-Roc Concept a “with its flexible new MQB architecture and a diverse family of suitable powertrains that include gas, diesel, compressed natural gas, plug-in hybrid and pure electric models.” Lots of options, that’s what we like to hear. Now just make sure at least the diesel option ends up Stateside.

Ok, you’re probably thinking, enough of the European diesel options. What about some sweet, super efficient diesels I can get in the good ol’ US of A? Look no further than our recent post on the Chicago Auto Show.

Audi gets behind renewable gasoline made from sugar

Audi  sees renewable biofuel alternatives as an integral part of the future of motor fuels—in fact, according to a recent report from Wired, the automaker is investing in gasoline made from sugar. This sweet fuel can run in any gasoline-powered vehicle, without modification!

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Audi has partnered with Global Bioenergies, a French company creating bio-isooctane by fermenting sugar with specially engineered E. coli bacteria. This reduces production cost and increases efficiency.

“Bio-isooctane can be used as a direct replacement for gasoline, or blended with conventional gasoline much like ethanol. The company has demonstrated the process in a lab, and is in the process of building two production plants. The goal is to produce more than 100,000 liters of gasoline annually — a pittance from a global perspective, but the program is a working proof-of-concept, and that’s where Audi’s investment comes in.”

Bio-iooctane is not the only “drop-in” fuel headed to the pump. Renewable diesel made from tallow and other renewable oils is in production and ready to replace petroleum diesel in the near future. And it just so happens that Audi has several turbo diesel models on the roads and more on the way—looks like Audi is on board with renewable fuel and ready to offer drivers choice at the pump.

Read more from Wired.

Producer Spotlight: New Leaf Biofuel

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Driving with Propel biodiesel in Southern California? Here’s a look at the amazing people & process behind your favorite fuel. New Leaf Biofuel based out of San Diego California has been producing high quality biodiesel with pride and purpose since 2005.  Started by a group of innovative recent college grads, New Leaf has a mission firmly grounded in their San Diego community: to enhance air quality, sustainability, and strengthen the local economy.

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The high quality biodiesel produced by New Leaf starts off as fryer grease and waste oil from local restaurants, hotels, schools, hospitals, and other businesses. New Leaf collects the used cooking oil and brings it back to their production facility, which is conveniently located right in San Diego. Once at the plant, the waste grease is filtered, purified, and cleaned up–all to prepare for the processor that turns the oil into high grade biodiesel ready to be distributed to fleets and retailers, like Propel Fuels!

“The best thing a potential consumer of biodiesel can do is to find a manufacturer who is strict about control,” said CEO Jennifer Case in a Union-Tribe San Diego article highlighting New Leaf. “We are trying to make a product that is going to be accepted in the marketplace. Therefore we have to be really strict about our quality standards. If everybody else who makes biodiesel did the same thing, we would be able to go into the next level and become a fuel that people used commonly and that states, cities and commercial fleets were confident that it wasn’t going to harm their engine.”

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The waste-grease-to-biodiesel-fuel is win-win setup on several levels. First of all, instead of paying  to dispose of waste grease, businesses and organizations with industrial kitchens have a reliable revenue stream from selling their used cooking oil New Leaf. Secondly, as a domestic (really, hometown) facility, New Leaf creates valuable industrial jobs that support the local economy. And, last but not least, New Leaf produces a cleaner-burning fuel from renewable resources for use in diesel engines across San Diego.

Creating value for business. Supporting the domestic economy. And helping to make a healthier, more sustainable community. All in a days work. Nicely done, New Leaf!

Fill up with New Leaf’s biodiesel at select Propel locations in Southern California.

Learn more about Propel’s renewable fuel producer partners.

Top 3 Diesel Commercial Van Options

Businesses looking for a smart way to keep costs down, fuel economy up, and carbon emissions low have long looked toward diesel commercial vehicles  for their fleet. And who can blame them?

1) The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

Equipped with a turbo diesel engine, the Sprinter has reined supreme among commercial van choices in recent years. The large sizes, custom options, and versatility make the Sprinter an ideal option, especially for businesses looking to maximize fuel economy.

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Judi’s Cleaners uses Propel for their diesel Sprinters.

But while the Sprinter has been the go-to vehicle for fleets and small businesses looking to haul efficiently, two new commercial vans — both boasting the latest in clean, fuel efficient diesel technology — are bringing an element of much-needed competition to the marketplace. And we have to admit: these vans go in style.

2) The Ford Transit Connect.

2015 Ford Transit Connect

You may have seen these compact commercial vans delivering and moving goods around your city. Currently, all the Connects are gasoline-only (not even a flexible fuel model!). However, this is soon to change with the introduction of the 2015 Transit Connect  3.2L I-5 Power Stroke Turbo Diesel. AND, for those looking for E85 compatibility, the 2015 Transit Connect will also have a Flexible Fuel model option. Look for both options to begin appearing at a dealership near you by Summer 2014.

3) The Ram ProMaster Van.

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This is the first Chrysler group foray into commercial diesel vans since the split with Daimler (when the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter went its own way). The ProMaster sports a 3L EcoDiesel V-6 with a selection of body styles – Cargo Van (pictured above), Chassis Cab, Cutway, and Window Van. In short, an option for the contractor, the cupcake caterer and everyone in between.

It’s fantastic to see a more diverse selection of diesel commercial vehicles on the market here in the US of A. As enthusiasts far and wide can already attest, diesel drivers experience great performance with better fuel economy — and, of course, the option to run any diesel vehicle on cleaner-burning, American-made biodiesel is never a bad thing.

Does your business run on diesel? Comment below and let us know why you choose diesel for your fleet. And be sure to visit us online to learn more about biodiesel for businesses or to find a biodiesel station near you.

Ethanol proves to be a sweet opportunity for California farmers

Most of California’s sugar mills have closed up shop in recent years, leaving sugar beet farmers without a market for their crop. But now ethanol derived from sugar beets is providing a new opportunity for these farmers and their communities.

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Farmers in the small community of Mendota, California are leading an effort to bring back the once widely-grown sugar beet crop. In 2008, Spreckels sugar plant was shuttered, leaving many residents without a job and farmers without a purchaser for their beets. In a stroke of ingenuity, the seed company suggested the community grow beets for ethanol. Thus, the Mendota Bioenergy company was formed!

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According to a recent report from California public radio, “Mendota Bioenergy has a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission – and the partnership of university experts from UC Davis and Fresno State – to complete the test site. It should be up and running this winter and, if all goes as planned, the company will then build the nation’s first commercial sugar beet biorefinery in Mendota by 2017.”

Mendota Bioenergy will not only produce a domestic alternative to petroleum gasoline, but the ethanol plant itself will also have a sustainable focus with measures in place to let nothing go to waste. Plus, beets grow well on marginal lands and require very little fresh water. Overall, ethanol produced from California-grown sugar beets and processed in the Mendota refinery will have a much lower carbon footprint than petroleum gasoline, lower even than typical corn-based ethanol. Now that sounds like a sweet deal.

Read more from The California Report.

More Californians choose diesel vehicles

That’s right. Californians, purveyors of the hippest trends, are choosing diesel vehicles more than ever. As reported by the Diesel Technology Forum, data complied by R.L. Polk & Co shows registration of diesel cars and SUVs in the state have increased 55% from 2010 to 2012. Not too shabby, fellow trend-setters. And the rest of the country is following suit, albeit at a slower pace, with diesel vehicle registrations up 24%.

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Total number of diesel vehicles in the U.S.  is over 6.6 million vehicles. While that may seem like a large chunk, that’s only 3% of all vehicle registrations. However, according to Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, “Auto analysts and market researchers virtually all agree diesel sales are going to increase significantly as the number of new diesels made available domestically will more than double in the next two years. Some analysts predict diesel sales will reach 10 percent of the U.S. market by 2020.”

Why is diesel making a comeback?
(1) New clean diesel technology. Diesel engine technology has cleaned up its act. No longer are diesel vehicles the smoggy, smoke-belching clunky truck of grandaddy’s day. Thanks in part to California’s strict emission standards implemented decades ago, dirty diesels were forced out. In their place, we welcome Mercedes BlueTec engines, Volkswagen clean diesels, and countless more eco-friendly diesel vehicle platforms.

(2) Awesome fuel economy. Efficiency is the name of the game, and diesel engine technology is a winner. In 2009, Volkswagen’s Jetta TDI won “Green Car of the Year,” beating out other high-mileage technology platforms like electric and hybrid vehicles.   Then another diesel took the top billing in 2010, when the Audi A3 TDI was named the greenest ride.

(3) Biodiesel! The best reason of all? Diesel vehicles can run cleaner burning fuel made right here in America from renewable resources.  Learn more about running biodiesel and find a biodiesel station near you.

Also, we should note, before diesel-loving Californians get too cocky, Texas is #1 in Total Diesel Passenger Vehicles, SUVs, Pickup Trucks, and Van registrations…

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Looking for diesle vehicles options? Check out the Diesel Forums comprehensive list of clean diesel vehicles currently available in the U.S.

Super Efficient Diesel-Electric Plug-Ins Abuzz at Geneva

To our delight, several manufacturers unveiled diesel-electric hybrid models at the Geneva Autoshow, including Volkswagen’s XL1 diesel-powered plug-in hybrid, touted as the “world’s most efficient car.” Reminiscent of a tictac on wheels, the XLI is a spacey, futuristic-styled two-seater claiming a whopping 261 miles per gallon fuel efficiency.

volkswagen-xl1-geneva-2013No word on how many of these snazzy little diesel-sippers will go into production or what the price tag might be (rumors suggest over six-figures), but we like the direction VW is headed.  For more information, check out autoblog’s report.

Ready for more diesel-electric thrills from Geneva?

Subaru showed off the Viziv diesel hybrid crossover. A concept vehicle that is the poster child for Subaru’s  “Vision for Innovation,” the Viziv offers a glimpse into future design and technological direction for the company.

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Mitsubishi also brought a diesel-hybrid concept to the spotlight in Geneva: the Concept GR-HEV, a Sport Utility Hybrid Truck. According to Autoblog, “the vehicle’s drivetrain is good for CO2 emissions of 149 grams per kilometer. For comparison’s sake, the global 2012 Ford Ranger emits 264 g/km when equipped with the 3.2-liter turbo-diesel engine and a six-speed manual transmission.” Nice.

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Learn more about current diesel vehicle options and cleaner fuels for diesel vehicles at www.propelfuels.com.

Photo Credits — Autoblog.com

American Ethanol and Propel Attend NASCAR Sonoma

Propel was ecstatic when our friends at American Ethanol invited us to attend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway in June. A proud supporter of both America’s heartland and the addictive sport of stock car racing, American Ethanol is a non-profit organization that is teamed up with NASCAR to increase education and awareness around ethanol as a cleaner, greener, American-made transportation fuel. For the 2012 season, all cars competing in NASCAR run on E15, a blend of 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline that is gaining more traction with individual drivers and consumers across the nation thanks to its widespread compatibility, cleaner emissions, reduced petroleum content and support of American jobs.

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Once at the races, American Ethanol Sponsorship Manager Carrie Emert and Growth Energy VP Kelly Manning surprised Propel with a behind-the-scenes tour of the garages, a one-on-one chat with RCR pit crew member Aaron Schields—who grew up on a corn farm and now holds one of the most important jobs in the sport!—and the once in a lifetime chance to present the American Ethanol Special Award to driver Greg Biffle during Opening Ceremonies.

Big thanks to American Ethanol for hosting such a unique day at the track and for all your support spreading the word about the benefits of ethanol. We had a great time!

For more information on American Ethanol, check them out online or visit their Facebook page.

Propel Fuels Partners with Econation Green Transportation Service in California

Just in time for the New Year, Propel is making new friends in the fleet world, including our latest fleet customer, Econation – a global ground transportation company that exclusively employs the use of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles in its fleets.

Econation driver Teddy fills his Suburban with Propel's Flex Fuel E85 in Arcadia, CA.

Econation will fuel its fleet of Flex Fuel vehicles at Propel locations in the greater Los Angeles area with renewable E85 fuel – a cost-effective blend of 85 percent high-performance, American-made ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. As a business member of Propel’s proprietary CleanDrive® program, Econation will also be able to track the environmental impact of every gallon of Propel fuel pumped, including pounds of CO2 reduced, barrels of oil displaced and more.

“Today more than ever, travelers appreciate being able to do something better for the environment while still experiencing the comfort, luxury and affordability they associate with a leading transportation company,” said Econation Managing Partner Ben Bloch. “We view this new partnership with Propel in the same light. We’re able to fuel our Flex Fuel vehicles with the sustainable, American product they were designed for without sacrificing quality, performance or cost. And Propel’s CleanDrive reporting program complements emissions data reports that we offer our clients. It’s a natural marriage.”

The CleanDrive system is an integrated carbon emission reduction tracking platform that tracks and displays the carbon emission reductions from the use of renewable fuels purchased at Propel stations. CleanDrive graphically displays the positive impacts of renewable fuel use including: reductions in CO2, barrels of oil displaced and reductions in foreign oil consumed. The system tracks fuel usage across Propel’s network of fueling stations, enabling businesses and government fleets to quantify the positive impacts of their decision to use low-carbon fuels, and in some cases meet mandated or voluntary fleet emission reduction goals. (You can have your own personal CleanDrive account, too! It’s free to register.)

“We’re proud to work with Econation who is setting high standards in green transportation and introducing sustainable fuels to an entirely new sector,” said Propel CEO Matt Horton. “Together with great fleets, individual drivers and better choices at the pump, we are making progress at reducing our dependency on imported oil and helping meet our nation’s emission reduction goals.”

So who exactly is Econation?

Econation is a global “green” alternative to traditional ground transportation (taxi’s, Town cars, limousines and buses). Offering an assortment of the most cutting edge hybrid and alternative fuel based sedans, utility vehicles and buses, Econation provides corporations and individuals with a way to be environmentally and socially conscious without sacrificing price, comfort, or dependable service. Econation was the first alternative fuel and hybrid firm to win Limousine, Charter and Tour (LCT) magazine’s 2011 Operator of the Year award, which measures chauffeured ground transportation firms on categories including innovation, safety and operational excellence.

To learn more about Propel Fuels, visit us online on from your mobile phone at propelfuels.com. More information on Econation is available at www.econation.com.

Major Commercial Airlines Launch Biofuels Flights

Two commercial airlines are taking biofuels to the skies, and with a bit of competition in the air, biofuels for aviation are becoming a reality.

Just this morning, United Airlines launched the first commercial US flight operated by biofuels. Powered by Solazyme Solajet fuel, flight 1403 (a Boeing 737-800 Eco Skies aircraft) departed from Bush International Airport in Texas en route to Chicago O’ Hare International Airport in Illinois. The Solajet fuel used was a blend of 60% biofuels and 40% conventional petroleum-derived jetfuels.

Meanwhile, in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska Airlines plans to launch its first regularly-scheduled route powered by biofuels this Wednesday, November 9. The carrier’s passenger flights from Seattle-to-Washtington, D.C. and Seattle-to-Portland will both be regularly fueled by a 20% used cooking oil-based biofuel blend from Dynamic Fuels. In total, Alaska (and its sister airline Horizon) will operate 75 biofueled flights over the next few weeks.

“This is a historic week for U.S. aviation. The 75 flights that Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air will fly over the next few weeks reflect our longstanding commitment to environmental responsibility and our belief that sustainable biofuels are key to aviation’s future,” Alaska Air Group Chairman and CEO Bill Ayer was reported as saying in an article from Biofuels Digest. “What we need is an adequate, affordable and sustainable supply. To the biofuels industry, we say: If you build it, we will buy it.”

To learn more about the future of biofuels in commercial aviation, read the full article at Biofuels Digest online.

“Love, the Bus” Loves Biodiesel!

Here at Propel, we love a renewable-fueled tour bus. But what we love even more is a renewable-fueled tour bus that loves us back. Enter: Love, the Bus.

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Love, the Bus is a cross-country charity project incepted by Maine natives Tyler Dunham, Seth Brown and Corey McLean — a trio with a mission to bring their youthful energy and creativity to local organizations across the nation.

Said Kelsey Aroian of the Love Bus crew, “We’ve been touring the country on a huge ‘adventure for good,’ spreading a message of optimism and environmental sustainability. We’re proud to spread the good word about alternative fuels on our journey.”

Fueling their mission is the Love, the Bus bus, itself — a behemoth in green powered by none other than waste veggie oil (WVO) — and the occasional reserve of biodiesel, which is necessary to heat up the team’s WVO system. Propel was happy to host the bus at our Wilmington, CA, Clean Fuel Point when it rolled through Southern CA yesterday.

“We received our first batch of biodiesel in California from Propel Fuels and heard about their fantastic CleanDrive program.  We’re excited to join with them in their efforts toward cleaner fuels and a healthier planet!” said Kelsey.

Along their travels, the Love, the Bus team has been documenting their journey through daily video updates that viewers can interact with online. Every week, the group completes a new challenge to creatively fund local organizations near where that challenge is completed. All of their challenges, most of the money they distribute, and their general tour road map, is dictated by viewers and fans.

To play your part in the Love, the Bus project, and to view fresh episodes of Tyler, Corey and Seth’s travels, visit www.lovethebus.tv.

New engines maximize ethanol’s power and MPGs

Most drivers like the power, price and renewable benefits of E85, but are looking for ways to increase MPGs. Engines designed with gasoline as the primary fuel are not maximizing ethanol’s potential, which can often lead to mileage penalties. However, new  technology from manufactures like Ricardo is geared toward running efficiently with ethanol’s higher octane rating.

In a recent interview with Fleet Owner magazine, Robert Kozak, president of Atlantic Biomass Conversions pointed out that, “Such engine designs tap into the positive ability of ethanol to resist early ignition, thus regaining much of the previous fuel economy loss,” Kozak explained. “Higher octane ethanol makes an internal combustion engine operate more efficiently – up in the 30% to even 40% range – while it’s also priced lower than gasoline, on the order of 10 to 15%, because of its lower Btu or energy content.”

The goal is to produce direct injection engines that perform equal to if not more efficiently than current gasoline engines. And this is what Ricardo engine product group has developed in their ethanol boosted direct injection platform.  According to Rod Beazley, director of Ricardo, Ethanol’s higher octane rating allows the fuel to withstand compression rates closer to that of diesel engines. The higher the compression rates the better an engine can translate energy into power.

These first steps toward boosting ethanol efficiency in heavy-duty engines opens the door for continued technology innovation and helps solidify ethanol as a desirable choice for drivers.

Read more from Fleet Owner.

B20 Biodiesel powers land speed record

This is not your granddady’s diesel pickup truck. The Hajek Motor’s Ford F250 Super Duty powertrain truck recently broke the land speed record for diesel vehicles on the Bonneville Saltflats–then they filled ‘er up with Biodiesel B20, turned around, and broke the record again!

The previous speed record was set by a BMW motorcycle at 130 mph. The Hajek Ford F250 had slight modifications to upgrade the fuel injectors, fuel system, and turbocharge, but was otherwise mostly stock. Running petroleum diesel, the truck reach over 177 mph, but with biodiesel B20 they smashed the record, reaching speeds over 182 mph.

Depending on the feedstock, biodiesel delivers greater energy density than petroleum diesel. According to the National Biodiesel Board, the B20 used by Hajek was produced by a Missouri biodiesel plant and purchased and donated by the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council.

Read more from Autoblog.

The new Propel Fuels website is here!

Drumroll please! After months (on our end) of anticipation, we’re excited to announce that PropelFuels.com is now easier to use and more community-driven than ever:


Informative content, enhanced navigation.
We know your time is valuable. With the new PropelFuels.com, you’ll also find quick access to dedicated sections for:

  • Vehicles: Millions of vehicles on the road today can run renewable fuels. Can yours?
  • Resources: Access third-party studies, fuel FAQs, the truth about biofuel myths and more
  • Fleet & Commercial: Find customer solutions, exclusive fleet savings and real user testimonials
  • Owners & Operators: All our questions abou bringing clean fuels to your station answered

Propel Partners with PC&F to Expand Renewable Fuel Access Across Western U.S.

Propel Fuels' Redwood City, CA, Clean Fuel Point

Last week, Propel Fuels announced a multi-year agreement with Pacific Convenience & Fuels (PC&F) to co-locate Clean Fuel Points (renewable fuel stations) with PC&F gas stations and convenience stores throughout the Western U.S.

The largest deal of its kind, the new agreement will provide renewable fuel choice to America’s most underserved market. According to Matt Horton, CEO of Propel Fuels:

“This first of its kind agreement allows us to quickly scale our business, opening the door to renewable fuel access across the Western U.S., America’s most underserved market for renewable fuels. And with U.S. automakers significantly increasing production of Flex Fuel and diesel vehicles, we will give customers true choice at the pump, making progress towards reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil and lowering carbon emissions.”

Propel and PC&F have identified more than 80 potential locations for Clean Fuel Points throughout PC&F’s network of 300 stations in California, Washington, Oregon and Colorado, which operate under various brands including Chevron, 76, Conoco and Circle K. Propel’s partnership with PC&F will provide consumers and fleets across the Western states with greater access to renewable fuels and enable both companies to accelerate expansion plans.

To expand public access to renewable fuels, Propel is working in coordination with the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission on station development programs such as California’s Low Carbon Fuel Infrastructure Investment Initiative. As advanced biofuel production facilities break ground in California, Propel’s agreement with PC&F will provide the next phase of fueling locations crucial to meeting the goals of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard.

Learn more about Propel Fuels and PC&F online at www.propelfuels.com and www.pcandf.com, respectively.

Chevy to offer diesel Cruze in US

Tired of having limited options in diesel passenger cars? We’ve got great news from GM. Chevrolet announced plans to bring a diesel model of the popular Cruze compact to America in 2013. Diesel versions of the Cruze are already offered in Europe to great success. This will finally bring some competition to Volkswagen and other European vehicle manufacturers that offer diesel passenger options in the US.

The gasoline version of the Cruze is already a hot seller, touting an EPA-rated 42 miles per gallon on the highway. The diesel model will no doubt provide even higher fuel economy and allow drivers the option to fuel with biodiesel.

While the Cruze will be Chevy’s first diesel passenger vehicle, the automaker is famous for a variety of diesel pickup trucks, as well as a range of flexible fuel vehicles designed to run on American-made Flex Fuel E85. To see a list of Chevrolet Flex Fuel Vehicles, visit Propel’s Drive E85 page.

Michigan Sheriff’s Fleet Saves with E85

Low price at the pump combined with limited MPG-loss combine for significant savings.

Huron County Sheriff’s Office began an experiment last March that had the department testing blends of Ethanol from E50 to E85. The goal: saving the county money through its fleet of 12 flex-fuel vehicles.

Sheriff Kelly J. Hanson found that as long as ethanol prices are less per gallon than the price at the pump for unleaded fuel, it would result in a significant cost savings. “As it turns out, our patrol fleet, which is mainly Chevrolet Impala cars, averaged between 1.5 miles to 2 miles less per gallon on E85 as opposed to unleaded,” said Hanson.

The Department also experimented with E50 and found that there was just about a one mile per gallon difference.

“When we basically went and took a pencil to it, it was determined that as long as pricing patterns remained the same, E85 would be the better choice,” he said. “Obviously, we are going to have to continuously monitor price differences in order for the county to benefit.”

If the price difference (with unleaded fuel costing significantly more) remains the same between E85 and unleaded, Hanson said the department stands to save nearly $1,000 per 25,000 miles.

“When you take into consideration our office puts on more than 400,000 patrol miles in a year, our county could benefit from the use of ethanol,” he said.

But access to the fuel can be an issue. Because Bad Axe and Harbor Beach do not have ethanol stations, Hanson said those patrols vehicles that start out of Bad Axe and Harbor Beach will frequently be forced to use unleaded fuel.

“Our deputies are being encouraged to purchase ethanol if they are in the vicinity of an ethanol station and their vehicle could use fuel,” said Hanson. “It would be pointless to specifically drive several miles in order to just buy ethanol.”

Full Story

Delivery giant moves to biodiesel

UPS is delivering a change for the better with the recent installation of a biodiesel fuel tank and fueling station at its most prominent hub: the Worldport facility in Louisville, KY.

The 30,000 gallon biodiesel tank and accompanying fuel dispenser will allow operators to fill the facility’s 200 vehicles and diesel-fueled equipment with varying blends of biodiesel from B5 to B20,which are compatible with any existing diesel engine.

Said Scott Wicker, UPS Chief Sustainability Officer, in an article on DomesticFuel.com:

“There is a finite amount of petroleum-based fuel available from our planet so it is important that UPS and other companies invest in ways to use alternative fuels and technologies, including biodiesel. This project helps us reduce our dependence on fossil fuels with the added benefit that it will also reduce air pollution and carbon emissions.”

UPS’s swap to biodiesel at Worldport was described as “monumental” by Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board. The massive facility, which is equivalent to 80 football fields in size, loads 100 planes per day and processes 416,000 packages per hour.

Learn more about the delivery giant’s switch to biodiesel at Domestic Fuel.

Propel Fuels Opens Station in Hometown of Redwood City, CA

Propel Fuels' Redwood City Location

Residents and passersthrough of CA’s Bay Area Peninsula have a new choice in fueling with the Grand Opening of Propel Fuels’ newest renewable fuel location in Redwood City, CA.

Home to Propel’s corporate headquarters, Redwood City’s strong sense of community, central location between San Francisco and San Jose and growing population of alternative fuel vehicles makes it an ideal partner for Propel’s Bay Area expansion.

“As a country, we face a lot of pretty serious challenges. And most of us as individuals can’t really impact those big problems,” said Propel CEO Matt Horton. “One of the most important of those is our nation’s dependence on petroleum. All you have to do is look at the price of gasoline to see how big of an impact that has on our country and our economy. One of the challenges for consumers is that it’s not really their fault because we’ve never really had choices at the pump, people haven’t been able to put anything in their vehicles other than petroleum. With this grand opening, we’re very excited to show consumers there is something we can do today to start to decrease our dependence on petroleum.”

Representatives from San Mateo County and the City of Redwood City brought out their own alternative fuel vehicles, include a City of Redwood City Flex Fuel police cruiser, to help celebrate the station opening.

One of Redwood City's own Flex Fuel police cruisers pulls up for the Inaugural Fill

Propel CEO Matt Horton thanks Redwood City Mayor Jeff Ira

“You can see as soon as you come into Redwood City that it’s something we strive for: to be very environmental, to be very green — and to have this station here is very, very exciting for us,” said Redwood City Mayor Jeff Ira. “Propel is a dynamic leader, and we’re really looking forward to having more stations, and certainly having more stations here in Redwood City as well.”

Added Karen Schkolnick of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, “When you consider that over 40% of air pollution and 50% of green house gases in this region come from the transportation sector, you begin to understand the huge health and global climate benefits can be derived from alternative fuels.” She continued, “That is why it is great to be here with Propel for the launch of this station, and hopefully many more in the Bay Area.”

As with all its CA stations, Propel’s Redwood City location offers both Flex Fuel E85 (an ethanol-based fuel compatible with all “Flex Fuel” vehicles) and Biodiesel (compatibile with all diesel vehicles).

To see more coverage from Tuesday’s event, be sure to visit Domestic Fuel online and The San Francisco Business Times, or visit Propel Fuels  to learn more about advantages, compatibility and availability of renewable fuels.

Car buyers get efficient. Diesel sales up 46% as gas climbs.

According to a recent report by Baum and Associates, diesels, hybrids and smaller vehicles are selling like hotcakes–sales have surpassed the rest of the auto industry’s overall growth for the first quarter of 2011.

2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI

The sales of diesel vehicles soared up by 46% compared to March of last year.  Gasoline prices are to blame according to Baum. As pump prices continue to climb, the superior fuel efficiency of diesel engines is attracting attention. And the best part about driving a diesel? Using clean, American-made biodiesel to power your ride. Learn more about running biodiesel.

Baum stresses: “The trends are clear: vehicle sales are strong, and consumers want hybrids, small cars and crossovers, and are shying away from pickups and SUVs.”

Source: Baum & Associates, Green Car Congress, Autoblog Green.

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:

Volkswagen puts diesel in the hybrid mix

Volkswagen recently revieled the XL1 Prototype, a diesel-electric plug-in hybrid with a mind-blowing 261 miles per gallon fuel economy.

The vehicle’s extreme efficiency is achieved using light weight parts, including a small two-cylinder diesel and electric plug-in engine. While VW will only be producing the XL1 for a very limited run, there are reports the manufacturer is working on a producing a slightly bigger, more conventional hybrid, the Up mini-car, which could achieve 95 miles per gallon.

Read more.

World Business video examines US green economy

A new piece from World Business reviews the policy challenges facing the US cleantech industry while nations such as China and Germany increase their cleantech efforts and exports.

As a leading retailer of renewable, American fuels, Propel Fuels is actively seeking to maximize consumer adoption of clean energy in the US. According to Propel CEO Matt Horton, “The stability of policy is far more important than very attractive policy in a lot of ways, because it is the volatility of policy that really hurts from a business planning standpoint.”

Adds Nancy Floyd, founder of cleantech venture capital firm Nth Power and chairman of Propel’s board of directors, “The venture capitalists are going to be placing their dollars maybe in companies that aren’t headquartered in the United States where there is stable, favorable policy.”

To maintain its edge in providing renewable fuel infrastructure, Propel has found it advantageous to build out what will soon become an expansive network of retail Clean Fuel Points within CA before continuing to build in other states.

“There’s a great policy environment [in California],” Horton says. “California has always shown real leadership.”

But that’s just one piece of the national picture.

“Because of the lack of policy,” he continues, “I do think the United States is going to start falling behind.”

To learn more, view the video above, or contact Propel Fuels to hear from Matt firsthand.

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.

Propel Featured in Ethanol Producer Magazine


Hot off the presses! The February issue of Ethanol Producer Magazine includes a spotlight article on Propel Fuels and the company’s mission to provide the retail infrastructure necessary to bring renewable fuels to the consumer, now and in the future.

In the article, author Kris Bevill details Propel’s unique business model – which includes fostering a symbiotic relationship where Propel leases space on which to build their Clean Fuel Points from existing fuel retailers  – as well as the funding, support and partnerships that CEO Matt Horton says are so elemental to Propel’s current and future success.

“Rebuilding the nation’s fueling infrastructure takes time, but we need to understand as an industry that it’s more than just making a pump available,” Horton is quoted as saying. “We need to treat this issue holistically and make sure we’re addressing all the key drivers for success.”

Today, Propel offers biodiesel at its stations in WA State and both E85 and biodiesel at its stations in CA. Additional plans to expand locations and product offerings in accordance with market demand are in the works.

For more info, check out the full article from Ethanol Producer Magazine
or visit Propel Fuels.

Propel Hosts First Stop of EcoTREK’s “Best of America Tour”

EcoTREK is driving 10,000 miles crosscountry in an American-made Flex Fuel vehicle, powered with cellulosic ethanol provided by POET — all with the goal of increasing awareness of the economic, environmental and national security benefits of domestically grown biofuels.

Tom Holm, Executive Director and intrepid driver for EcoTREK, made Propel’s Oakland Clean Fuel Point the tour’s first destination. Propel CEO, Matt Horton welcomed Tom to the station and shared his enthusiasm for EcoTREK’s goal. “Today we got a preview of ultra-low carbon fuels from non-food sources, representing the next level of sustainability for fuels that can run in our vehicles today. Propel, EcoTREK and POET each represent critical pieces to reducing our dependence on petroleum; widespread consumer access, advanced vehicle technologies, and the next generation of renewable fuels.”

POET’s cellulosic ethanol is produced from corn cobs and light stover (leaves, husks, some stalk) at a pilot pant in Scotland, South Dakota. Work is underway at Project LIBERTY, POET’s planned 25 million-gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol plant, which will be built in Emmetsburg, Iowa.

Read more about EcoTREK’s Propel visit.

Follow Tom’s journey on the EcoTREK blog.

EcoTREK in Oakland

Music: Quiet Life hailing from Portland, OR. Check out their music.

Check out new 2011 Flex Fuel Vehicle models

Find out if you can drive E85 Flex Fuel! Propel Fuels has updated our website with the current list of Flex Fuel-compatible vehicles, including new 2011 models — and your car, truck, van, crossover or SUV could make a difference. Made in America from renewable resources such as corn, switch grass and agricultural  waste, E85 Flex Fuel helps to:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Support American jobs and farmers
  • Decrease the need for imported oil
  • Strengthen the domestic economy

Check our Flex Fuel Vehicle List today to see if you can help drive America’s future with clean, E85 Flex Fuel — or, for more information on E85, visit www.PropelFuels.com.

A sampling of 2011′s new Flex Fuel vehicle offerings:

Ford Fusion
Take advantage of versatile size & surprising power with the Fusion’s Flex Fuel-compatible 3.0L Duratech V6.

Ford Super Duty F250
One of the most clean fuel-friendly vehicles on the market, the 2011 F250 is available with either a Flex Fuel-compatible gas engine OR a burly diesel engine that can accommodate biodiesel blends of up to 20%!

Dodge Challenger
What’s more American than classic, American muscle? American muscle FLEXing its power with clean, renewable, American fuel!

Dodge Charger
Higher-octance Flex Fuel E85 feels right at home with the Charger’s track-inspired styling.