Category Archives: News Links

Diesel hybrid from VW finally on the market (in Europe)

Back in 2011 we posted about this space-agey diesel-electric hybrid concept from Volkswagen dubbed the XL 1. At the time, the XL1 was just a prototype and not strictly “street legal.” However, as reported by Inside Climate News, the auto manufacturer has followed through on its promise to produce a small run of the hyper-efficient two-seaters, and Volkswagen is now selling a limited run of 250 models in Europe.

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Most impressively, the car is still reported to get 260 miles per gallon. According to Inside Climate News:

The XL 1′s fuel economy comes partly from its hybrid engine, and partly from its light and aerodynamic design. The car weighs 1,800 pounds, less than half the typical U.S. car. Its tires were slimmed down and its engine was shrunk and turbocharged to get more power. Even the body paint is extra thin. Like most hybrids, the XL 1 is particularly fuel efficient in stop-and-go or city driving, while its diesel engine excels on highways.

There are some performance tradeoffs to achieve this efficiency—the XL1 doesn’t go faster than 99 mph and is slow to reach highway speeds. (Though lead-foot driving isn’t good for fuel economy or safety. )

The XL1 has a hefty price tag of $150,000, even when compared to Tesla’s Model S, which runs upwards of $100,000. Regardless of cost, we won’t see the VW XL1 for sale in the US anytime soon. Guess we’ll have to stick with the regular ol’ Volkswagen TDIs, but with their great fuel economy and more affordable price, we’re not complaining!

Read more about the XL1 limited release.

Audi RS5 TDI Concept

It’s an exciting time for diesel vehicle enthusiasts—Audi is celebrating 25 years of the TDI engine! And how does a car company celebrate a milestone like this? By unveiling an awesome new concept car, of course.

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Audi RS5 TDI photo credit: autoblog.com

According to Autoblog, Audi is set to unleash the RS5 triple-turbo-charged diesel concept at the Leipzig Auto Show this month. And by “triple-turbo-charged,” I mean to say that the 3.0-liter V6 is a twin-turbo diesel engine with an electric supercharge tacked on just for kicks. Super fast kicks. The RS5 ramps up from 0 – 6o mpg in about four seconds flat.

And what’s better than going super fast, super quick? Super efficiency! Thanks to the diesel engine, the RS5 uses only five liters (~1.3 gallons) in 100 km, which translates to about 47 miles per gallon.

While this is only a concept car, Audi does have several other diesel options the available today, including the A6, A7, A8L, Q5, and Q7 TDIs, plus other models from previous years.

Fuel innovation: Ethanol from CO gas

So, where’s your fuel coming from next? Out of thin air. Scientists around the country continue to innovate new fuels that reduce dependence on petroleum and improve air quality. And this development caught our attention.

Ethanol from Carbon Monoxide Gas
No corn, sugarcane or switchgrass needed. Stanford University scientists have developed a method to produce ethanol out of carbon monoxide gas.

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As quoted in a recent Ethanol Producer magazine article, Matthew Kanan, an assistant professor of chemistry at Stanford and coauthor of the ethanol study says, “we have discovered the first metal catalyst that can produce appreciable amounts of ethanol from carbon monoxide at room temperature and pressure – a notoriously difficult electrochemical reaction.”

Unlike current ethanol production, this method does not require fermentation of biomass, typically corn, sugarcane or other starchy crops. The technique is similar to a process that reduces water into hydrogen—but in this case, reducing carbon monoxide into liquid ethanol.

While petroleum will only get more difficult to find and more costly to produce in the future, alternative fuel sources will increase, improving upon existing renewable fuel methods and inventing new and diverse sources.

Read more about the Stanford study.

Trident Inceni: A speedy sporty diesel

The word “diesel” usually brings to mind a big, loud, rumbly truck and probably not a very fast truck. The Trident Inceni turns this idea on its head. This sports car is smokin’—and no I don’t mean the exhaust. There’s no hint of clunky, puttering truck in this vehicle. trident-iceni Here’s the low down from Auto Blog:

Billed as “the world’s fastest and most fuel efficient diesel sports car,” the Trident Inceni is styled in the grandest of British tradition. But it’s what’s under that classical sheetmetal that makes it stand out. Where you’d expect to find a gasoline-burning engine, the Trident Inceni packs a 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 good for an entirely respectable 395 horsepower and a time-bending 700 pound-feet of torque. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission (there aren’t a lot of gearboxes out there, after all, that could handle that much twist), the Inceni is said to be good for a 3.7-second 0-60 time and a top speed in excess of 190 miles per hour. All that with a range of 2,000 miles and the ability to run on mineral or bio-diesel.

Did you catch that last part there? The ability to run on BIODIESEL. Now that’s my kind of sports car. trident-iceni-09-1 Maybe you don’t have a cool $160k to drop on the biodiesel car of your dreams. Luckily, there are a few more accessible options on the market. For example, check out our post on the VW Golf Sportwagen.

Beloved VW Jetta TDI SportWagen, no more.

As of 2015, Volkswagen’s popular and much-loved wagon sedan model, the Jetta TDI  SportWagen will be replaced—or, more accurately, filed under a new genus as the Golf  TDI SportWagen.

Phew. Hope I didn’t have you worried there.

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image: auto blog green

Still in the concept phase, the all-wheel-drive TDI Clean Diesel Golf SportWagen is scheduled to debut in the US at the New York Auto Show later this month:

Volkswagen of America, Inc. will debut a concept version of the latest SportWagen model that features a 4MOTION® all-wheel drive system and the new EA288 TD®I Clean Diesel engine at the New York Auto Show. The concept previews the all-new Golf SportWagen that goes on sale in early 2015. Based on the new MQB (modular transverse matrix) architecture, the Golf SportWagen will continue the trend introduced by the seventh generation Golf whereby it is lighter, bigger, roomier, more fuel efficient and more powerful than the outgoing SportWagen model.

Just the mention of an all-wheel-drive diesel wagon has me daydreaming of rallying up mountain passes, blasting by chain control, all on one tank of biodiesel. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the SportWagen models bound for the US will feature the 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system. More information to come after the New York Auto Show. Stay tuned.

Read more about the Golf SportWagen from Auto Blog Green.
Find more diesel vehicle options.

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.

EPA aligns with CA emission standards, calling for cleaner cars and cleaner fuel

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released the finalized “Tier 3″ standards for vehicle emissions levels. The standard promises to “quickly and effectively cut harmful soot, smog and toxic emissions from cars and trucks” and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles on the road today, while bringing more fuel-efficient cars and trucks to market. The new standards closely align with emission levels and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions set forth by the California Air Resources Board, allowing carmakers to focus on meeting one cohesive standard for the entire country.

Together, the federal and California standards will maximize reductions in GHGs, air pollutants and air toxics from cars and light trucks while providing automakers regulatory certainty, streamlining compliance, and reducing costs to consumers.

Tailpipe emission standards will phase in gradually starting in model year 2017 though 2025. The focus is on limiting emissions of non-methane organic gasses (NMOG), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particular matter (PM) for light-duty and some heavy-duty vehicles. All told, the tailpipe standards represent an 80% reduction from today’s average.

In addition, starting in 2017, gasoline refiners will be required to reduce sulfur content to no more than 10 parts per million on an annual average basis. That is a reduction of 60% from the current levels. According to the EPA, the “new low-sulfur gas will provide significant and immediate health benefits because every gas-powered vehicle on the road built prior to these standards will run cleaner – cutting smog-forming NOx emissions by 260,000 tons in 2018.”

The ultimate outcome of the standard will benefit consumers’ pocket books as well as overall public health. The changes promise to save Americans “more than $8,000 by 2025 over a vehicle’s lifetime” in fuel cost—and that adds up: “the fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards covering model year vehicles from 2012-2025 are projected to save American families more than $1.7 trillion in fuel costs.” Plus, by cleaning up air pollutants and harmful emissions, “once fully in place, the standards will help avoid up to 2,000 premature deaths per year and 50,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children.”

Renewable fuels play a part in the program too—the program finalizes standards for E85 as an emissions test fuel (for the first time) in Flexible Fuel Vehicles and calls for the standard test gasoline to contain 10% ethanol by volume.

Read more about the EPA’s finalized Tier 3 emission standards.

New Diesels debut in Chicago: Smaller trucks, wagons and powerful sedans

Since diesels reappeared with ultra-clean emission standards in California showrooms in 2008, the options keep coming. And there were several new diesel vehicles making an appearance at the recent Chicago Auto Show.

One of the noteworthy debuts was Nissan’s Cummins-equipped Frontier “concept” truck. Looking for a diesel truck that’s smaller than your first apartment? Here it finally is. (Will Chevy respond? read on…)

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Nissan Frontier – photo: autoblog

This so-called “concept” vehicle is really just the Frontier DesertRunner 4×2 sans gasoline engine. Instead of the standard gasoline engine, the truck features a 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbo diesel. Though,  according to Autoblog, it might be a few years before the concept is market ready.

BMW showed off their diesels too. The 2015 X3d is getting a new diesel option and the 740Ld xDrive sedan, a 3.0-liter turbodiesel. These models add to BMW’s growing lineup of diesel-powered options, including the 328d, 535d, and the X5d.

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740Ld – photo: autoblog

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X3d – photo: autoblog

Plus, the seventh-generation Golf vehicle line will be getting a refresh as the Golf SportWagen (the Jetta SportWagen will be incorporated into the Golf line) and it will definitely have TDI diesel option.

photo: autoblog

VW Golf SportWagen Variant – photo: autoblog

Not to be outdone by the likes of Nissan and Volkswagen,  Chevrolet is releasing both a midsize diesel-powered truck and a sporty turbodiesel sedan.

By 2016, the Chevy Colorado pickup will have a 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder diesel engine. And the 2014 Chevy Cruze TD is already cruisin’ the streets with its super efficient 2.0-liter turbodiesel. Chevrolet is a major supporter of renewable fuel options and proudly supports the use of Biodiesel B20 in its new diesel models.

photo: autoblog

Chevrolet Colorado – photo: autoblog

There are a few more diesels on the horizon that we will further investigate in the future, such as the Jeep Wrangler and the Frontier’s big brother, the Nissan Titan. It is encouraging to see so many diesel options coming to market. Renewable fuels, like biodiesel, are an integral part to helping meet California’s Low Carbon Fuel goals, so the more diesel options out on the road, the better! Just make sure to fill ‘em up with biodiesel.

For biodiesel locations, please visit propelfuels.com/locations.

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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image: audi

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.

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel rated most fuel efficient pickup

In a recent report issued by Motor Trend, the EPA has released fuel efficiency numbers for the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel placing the full-size pickup at the top of its bracket for fuel efficiency. The rear-drive Ram 1500 with its EcoDiesel engine boasts a 20/28/23 mpg city/highway/combined, which as earned it the title of Motor Trend’s “Truck of the Year.”

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According to Motor Trend, the impressive mpg rating is “thanks to features like active grille shutters, an adjustable air suspension with an ‘aero’ mode, and a segment-exclusive eight-speed automatic transmission.”

And just to note, the B20 biodiesel-approved EcoDiesel engine is the same fuel-efficient workhorse powering the diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Read more on the Ram 1500 from Motor Trend.

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.

World Record for fuel economy goes to a diesel!

Ladies and gentlemen, once again, diesels are cleaning up on the podium. This time it is a Guinness World Record for the best fuel economy. The Volkswagen Passat TDI, driven by a two-man team for 8,122-miles across America, achieved 77.99 miles per gallon. A full 10 miles per gallon better than the previous record! And it flew passed the hybrid record by a whopping 13 miles per gallon.

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Drivers, Wayne Gerdes and Bob Winger, purchased only 104.94 gallons of diesel fuel for the entire distance of their tour. The duo used common hyper-miling techniques like steady acceleration after stopping, utilizing momentum, and sticking to the speed limit. Doesn’t sound too tricky! Even without any fancy driving techniques, the Volkswagen Passat TDI is rated an EPA estimated 43 miles per gallon on the highway.

Read more about  record setting VW TDIs  and  history of their awesome fuel economy.

Photo credit: Autoweek.com.

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.

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.

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.

Wired Magazine Debunks Top Five Ethanol Myths

We couldn’t help but repost this succinct and well-written piece from Wired Magazine’s Forrest Jehlik — guest contributor extraordinaire and mechanical engineer for the US Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory’s Transportation Technology R&D Center.

While there is no single super-solution to all the world’s energy needs, ethanol-based Flex Fuel E85 is a domestically produced, sustainable fuel that is readily compatible with millions of vehicles on the road today, no conversion or modification required. (See a list of current Flex Fuel vehicles here.)

As Jehlik writes, he’s spent a lot of time at Argonne researching ethanol (though an editor’s note clarifies that he remains energy-neutral). In the article, Jehlik quickly debunks the following five ethanol myths, with legitimate sources to boot:

>> READ THE FULL ARTICLE FROM WIRED.COM

Myth #1: Ethanol requires more energy to make than it yields.
Myth #2: Ethanol production reduces our food supply.
Myth #3: Ethanol crops and production emit more greenhouse gases than gasoline.
Myth #4: Ethanol requires too much water to produce.
Myth #5: Cars get lower gas mileage with ethanol.
(Currently, there is some truth to this last one, but modern engineering could significantly improve fuel economy and further increase a cents-per-mile advantage for ethanol.)

Jehlik’s piece is a reminder that ethanol is an alternative fuel that can be readily used to help relieve our dependence on petroleum today – and next generation ethanol fuels will only increase in sustainability and energy efficiency.

Be sure to check out Jehlik’s full write-up at Wired.com, or for more information on ethanol as a fuel, visit the Argonne National Laboratory Transportation Technology R&D Center and the Renewable Fuels Association online.

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.”

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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.

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.

From Biofuels Digest: The Faces of Biofuels

It starts with having a choice. As those who have chosen renewable fuels over petroleum, you are a crucial part of helping our country meet its economic and environmental goals. This week, the industry’s leading online journal, Biofuels Digest, has provided a fine microphone to share your voices with their first installment of the new series “The Faces of Biofuels.” With a little help from you, this piece featured a whole crew of consumers all happy to be filling their rides with clean, American-made Flex Fuel E85.

Read the full article and meet all of this week’s “Faces”!

Kai, a self-proclaimed "Ethanol Fuel Enthusiast," fills her standard Honda Civic with an E85/petroleum blend

American Patriot Trey fills up his Flex Fuel Ford F-150 at a Propel Clean Fuel Point in Rocklin, CA

CA's former Secretary of Technology, Trade and Commerce fuels up his Chevy Suburban with Flex Fuel E85 at Propel's Folsom location

Thanks to Biofuels Digest for capturing this enthusiasm — and to the growing community of clean fuel drivers everywhere: thank you for your commitment, your businesses and your voice. Every fill with renewable fuels encourages freedom from harmful emissions, petroleum usage and foreign oil dependency, so keep up the good work!

Do you, or does your business, fill with Propel’s clean E85 or biodiesel? Submit your story to Propel Fuels.

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.

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.

Flex Fuel E85 Locator for the Android

The Renewable Fuels Association recently unveiled the Flex Fuel station locator app for the Android smartphone platform.

The app equips users with all the necessary tools to quickly find stations offering Flex Fuel in their area. The program provides directions, fuel pricing and contact information for each E85 location. While on the road, the app allows users to find the Flex Fuel outlet in closest proximity. Users can compile a list of frequently visited locations with the Favorites feature.

The Android application pulls from a database of over 2,400 Flex Fuel outlets developed by the Alternative Fuels & Advanced Vehicles Data Center and the U.S. Department of Energy. The app is free to download from the Android Marketplace. Or scan the bar code to deliver the application straight to your phone.

Read more from the Renewable Fuels Association.

Waste fats into renewable Dynamic Fuels

In Geismar, LA, Dynamic Fuels’ production facility is converting non-food grade tallow and other animal fats into ASTM-certified renewable diesel fuel.

The production facility, a joint venture of Syntroleum Corporation and Tyson Foods, Inc., began processing fuel in early October and is currently producing 2,500 barrels a day.

Dynamic’s diesel fuel is made from renewable sources, reducing carbon emissions by  75%. What’s more, the performance specifications outshine petroleum diesel, boasting cetane rating of 88, more than twice that of regular diesel.

Read more from Syntroleum.

Propel announces Bay Area Network launch, 75 stations to come

During a grand opening event at the Bay Area’s newest renewable fuel station in Oakland, CA, Propel Fuels along with partners from the California Department of General Services, California Energy Commission, CALSTART & East Bay Clean Cities, formally launched Propel’s Bay Area operations, which will include more than 20 stations across the Bay, with up to 10 open by the year’s end.
The event also announced a $10.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and California Energy Commission (CEC) to build and operate 75 retail renewable fuel stations throughout California over the next two years.

From Left: Director Joel A. Ayala Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Matt Horton, CEO, Propel Fuels. Steve Sokolsky, represents both East Bay Clean Cities and CALSTART. Commissioner Anthony Eggert, California Energy Commission

The station development project, know as the Low Carbon Fuel Infrastructure Investment Initiative (LCFI3), has the potential to create more than 450 green jobs in California, while displacing 39 million gallons of petroleum and 187,500 tons of CO2 emissions per year.
Propel’s Oakland Clean Fuel Point is one of four new stations already pumping fuel in the Bay. Propel also has six locations open in Sacramento, CA–with more on the way!
For a list of locations and stations coming soon, visit Propel’s Station Locator.

Heavy-duty Ford trucks gain efficiency

With a free computer upgrade, Ford gives its 6.7-L PowerStroke V8 turbocharged diesel engines an added boost of fuel efficiency. This translates to a 20% increase in efficiency for the 2011 Super Duty diesel pickups over last year’s models.

Ford is providing upgrades free for all current owners of a 2011 Super Duty diesel pickup. The upgrade will entail a 30 minute software adjustment by a dealership service department–customers will receive information in the mail regarding the upgrade beginning August 31st.

Want another added bonus? Ford supports the use of Biodiesel B20 blend in all new 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 turbocharged diesel engines.

Read more from Green Car Congress.

Air Force Base adds Freedom to its Fuel

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is helping to create independence from imported oil, providing security to our nation in a whole new way. The base has announced the addition of E85 Flex Fuel, a change that positively affects our economy, our environment and our security.

Government Flex Fuel vehicles are required to use E85 to help meet Federal renewable fuel goals. An executive order states that federal agencies need to reduce energy intensity by 3 percent each year, leading to a reduction of 30 percent by the end of 2015.

“Ethanol is a much safer source of fuel for our environment,” said 1st Lt. Delwyn Campo, 87th Logistics Readiness Squadron, fuels management flight commander. “Along with implementing biodiesel in 2003, E85 is just another great step JB MDL is making toward a long-term environmental change.”

The joint base has two E85 fuel tanks – a 12,000-gallon tank at McGuire and a 10,000-gallon tank at Lakehurst – that are available for flex-fuel government vehicles. There are currently 261 vehicles at McGuire and 43 vehicles at Lakehurst that are E85 capable.

“It’s important for us as a country to start moving away from our dependence on petroleum-based fuels,” said Col. Gina Grosso, JB MDL commander. “This is a big step in that direction, and the joint base is now a model for this initiative.”

Read More

Find Flex Fuel E85 on your iPhone

Find, edit and update E85 retail locations–all from your iPhone.

The Renewable Fuels Association recently released a new iPhone App, E85 Fuelfinder–view in iTunes Preview–to help drivers locate E85 access nation-wide.

Users can add favorite stations, get driving directions, and view or update fuel prices. The application costs $1.99 and is available from the Apple App Store.

Read more from DomesticFuel.com.