Biodiesel on the road


I couldn’t believe how hard it was to find biodiesel in the south.
At first it was smooth sailing. We fueled up at a rather anonymous gas station called the Go Go Mart in Tucson. Then we scored at a station in Austin. In Lousiana, we were led on a biodiesel treasure hunt in the town of Broussard, finally getting a tankful of virgin soy (boo) at an apocalyptic industrial zone fueling station. From then on it was all B20. That’s 80% petro diesel. It really sucks, because it’s warm in the south, no need to blend the biodiesel.
In Florida we had to beg for B20, and finally got so disgusted we bought a bunch of corn oil outside of Gainsville. Like 30 1-liter containers. Bill said, “Somehow, with diesel at $3.50 a gallon, spending $5 a gallon on corn oil seems cheap.” In North Carolina we got some B50, and a good thing because it was snowing by the time we left (biod gels at freezing temps).
In Mississipi, we stopped at a gas station with a home-made sign that said “Bio-Diesel”. I knocked on the door, interrupting the elderly owners’s lunch. “Do you have biodiesel?” I asked.
“Nope. The petroleum industry has stopped biodiesel in Mississip,” the gray-haired lady said. Then she went back to eating her greens. Damn. New Mexico was the same, even though the Bill Richardson is trying to promote biodiesel. The highest blend was B20 in Santa Fe. We bought oil again in Las Vegas, NM. Finally we got biodiesel in Phoenix–enough to get home.
Next road trip story: Urban farming in New Orleans.

5 responses to “Biodiesel on the road

  1. Well, I dunno about all those other places, but in North Carolina, you really must have asked the wrong people, because it’s fairly abundant. Piedmont Biofuels has this link for the “B100 Community Trail”:
    http://biofuels.coop/nc-b100-map/
    which I think certainly shows that good biodiesel is quite readily available in most of the major areas of NC.

    Now, admittedly, if you check the links on here:
    http://www.biodiesel.org/buyingbiodiesel/retailfuelingsites/
    you do figure out that there aren’t as many in the South as the Midwest, and those that are there are more likely to be B20 stops… but better B20 than none, and lots of places start with B20 and then move on to B99 or B100 as the market develops. Be kind to those who are trying, and realize just because you didn’t find it doesn’t mean it isn’t there…

  2. Man, you are so lucky to have bio diesel. It is illegal here in France, because they are so intertwined with the oil shieks and want their taxes on petrol. I hope some day that law will change (it has to). We have a diesel car and would love to use biodiesel (and make it!)inside of relying on petroleum.

  3. You find mostly B20 because of the auto/petrol industry convincing folks that that is the “safe” level to run in automobiles. It is pretty ridiculous. To get anything over B20 in Nashville, we have to go in with a bunch of other folks in a collective and buy B99 in bulk. But, you have to buy 250 gallons at a time, which is beyond our budget.

    As for France, I am surprised to hear that comment. It is my understanding that all diesel run in Europe is actually a minimum of B20. I might be wrong on this one, but I don’t know. The Germans have really gone far with making high quality conversions for diesels to run on pure veggie. And, several of the French car manufacturers are now introducing diesel hybrids, so you can run veggie and electricity. I think that is the way to go in the future.

  4. Germany and Luxembourg and Switzerland all have tons of biofeuls. There are 2000 bio stations in Germany alone.

    It’s just France that is behind the times though our regular diesel already has 5 to 10percent bio in it. It’s illegal to make it or to sell it any higher to the general public. I think that tractors and govt vechicals can use it. We are mostly farmland.

    The other EU countries sell diesel at 30percent bio minimum at the pumps and you can buy 99 percent if you want. A lot of French people cross the borders to buy gas! They just did a big report on the news about it two nights ago.

  5. Novella Carpenter

    oh, yeah, katuah, we did scored b50 in asheville, nc. and it was snowing, so we were glad it was blended.

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