Tag Archives: Green Business

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Clean Fuel Point is now open in Sacramento – Try Propel fuel for FREE!

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Come get your fill of Flex Fuel E85 and Biodiesel B20 at Propel’s new Clean Fuel Point in Sacramento @ Mak’s Valero station, 1101 Broadway. During the Grand Opening event, try $10 of Flex Fuel E85 or Biodiesel B20 for FREE!

The Grand Opening celebration goes from Tuesday, September 11 through Friday, September 14, 10am – 7pm. Hope to see you all there!

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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.

2012 VW Passat TDI ranks #1 for fuel economy over hybrids

Consumers don’t often consider full-size options when on the hunt for fuel efficient vehicles; however, there is a new class of roomy sedans boasting better fuel economy than previous generations. Motor Trend put three of these super efficient sedans in a head-to-head comparison to see which would come out on top in a miles-per-gallon competition.  The three vehicles compared include two hybrids, 2011 Hyundai Sonata and 2012 Toyota Camry, and one diesel, 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI. After comparing road test mileage, driving experience and design, the VW Passat won hands down.

While the article had positive things to say about both the Hyundai and the Toyota, the Passat took first place by a long shot. With a highway rating of 40 mpg, on one tank of fuel the Passat can cruise the interstate for 740 miles without needing a pitstop. Add in a six-speed manual transmission and that range shoots up to 43 miles per gallon and 796 miles per tank. Overall, Motor Trend concludes that the superior trunk space (no pesky batteries infringing on storage capacity), “the first-rate steering and taut, lively suspension deliver a rewarding, responsive drive that can’t be matched in this group.”

Read more from Motor Trend.

The best part about diesel vehicles? You can run clean, American made biodiesel without any conversion. Find a Propel biodiesel location near you.

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.

Propel’s gone mobile!

We are happy to announce the launch of Propel Mobile. Visit propelfuels.com from your smart phone to get started.

The new Propel Fuels mobile site has everything you need to find and fill with Propel renewable fuels. In addition to the great features above, now you can:

  • Contact Customer Service with the touch of a button
  • Get the facts about our clean fuels
  • Add Propel to your home screen for quick, app-like access on the go
  • Easily access our main site for our full suite of online resources

“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.

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.”

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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.

Ethanol Producer Magazine: Propel discusses fueling infrastructure’s role in reducing petroleum imports

Earlier this month. President Obama announced a a goal to reduce petroleum imports by one-third by 2025. As reported by Ethanol Producer Magazine, Propel Fuels discusses the role of fueling infrastructure in President Obama’s plan.

“The key to both fleet usage of the fuels and meeting President Obama’s goals is infrastructure,” Propel CEO Matt Horton is quoted as saying in the article. “We’ve got the vehicles today for high blend ethanol, we just need more incentive to build out the infrastructure and we’ll be there.”

To check out the full story, visit Ethanol Producer Magazine. Curious if you can help offset imported petroleum by filling with E85? Visit Propel’s Flex Fuel Vehicles page online, or find a Clean Fuel Point near you.

VW to Offer Beetle TDI for 2012

If you’ve been following news regarding the new 2012 Beetle, you may have already heard rumor that the updated styling will echo that of the first generation “bug.” New to us, however, was learning that this retro-inspired ride will now be available with a 2.0L TDI engine – great news for Beetle bums, MPG mavens (VW is touting an estimated 40 mpg highway!) and biodiesel diehards alike.

Stylewise, the 2012 Beetle doesn’t disappoint. With a lower profile and a front windshield that’s been nudged back a bit, the Beetle does more closely resemble its 1949 predecessor, while a standard rear spolier, split-folding rear seat and slightly larger footprint offer modern day form and function.

As announced at the 2011 New York and Shanghai Auto Shows this week, the 2012  Beetle will be available in the US in September.

For more information, images and video, check out the full story at Insideline.com.

“I believe in biodiesel because…”

Why do you believe in biodiesel? As this montage of video testimonials compiled by the National Biodiesel Board demonstrates, there are countless reasons to stand behind this renewable fuel. Biodiesel is clean. Sustainable. Green. American. It supports the domestic economy and creates green jobs. It’s the fuel the diesel engine was designed around. And according to biodiesel enthusiasts, the list goes on!

Do you believe in biodiesel? Let us know by sharing your comment, below — or, to learn more, including where you can find biodiesel near you, vist Propel Fuels or the National Biodiesel Board online.

USDA visits Propel, highlights 10,000 pump plan

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

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

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

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

More on Administrator Canales’ visit to Propel:

Nuts for biodiesel!

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

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

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

Read more from the New York Times.

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.