10/04/2005

Minnesota Acts First

The squeeze on the pumps has sparked consumers’ interest in other resources for fuel. As the price of gas continues to increase there is an ever more urgent search for an alternative to keep Americans moving. In an article found on cnn.com Minnesota has become the first state to require that diesels use a mix of diesel and biodiesel. The mix only has to have 2% biodiesel but it is a step in the right direction. But the major hurdle this industry will have to leap over is getting their costs down to where they are more competitive with fossil fuels. I wonder how long it will take before we are all driving cars powered by something that was grown by a farmer.

9 comments:

American Lung Association of Minnesota said...

The "first step" of the statewide B2 mandate has already yielded progress toward renewable, cleaner burning fuels in Minnesota. Biodiesiel blend of 5%, 10%, 20% and higher are now available at both the wholesale and retail outlets through the state. Sales and demand of these fuels are up, as is sales and demand for E85 (85% ethanol) fuel.

See more at www.CleanAirChoice.org

Bree said...

Using farming fields instead of oil fields to fuel our traveling seems great but.... if its so great how come the rest of the nation hasn't jumped on it? At this time when gas prices are out of control, why haven't we heard much more about this biodiesel alternative? Too good to be true? I'm sure there are down sides to this whole story so I wouldn't hold my breath on it!

Liz said...

I sure hope that we figure something out soon. I figure that once there is a discovery of another form of energy that the oil companies will be forced to lower their prices since there will be substitutions for gasoline. They won't be able to charge whatever they want without people just buying something else.

Connor said...

Why has biodiesel not received much publicity? I seriously wonder if the oil companies are paying off the media to keep this new product less visible. My brother back east knows of people spending around $1 per gallon for biodeisel. Yet, society as whole knows very little about it and continues spending close to $3 per gallon for regular gasoline. Liz brought up a great point concerning substitutes. Once we have various substitutes to choose from, I also believe that the cost of gasoline will be brought back into check.

American Lung Association of Minnesota said...

Glass half empty or half full...I have seen a lot on biodisel in the press lately. but of course I look for stories on the topic...If you drive a gas burner (as I do), than biodiesel won't help us fight pain at the pump. The trucking industry fought like hell against the MN mandate (fear of the unknown, I guess) and got soundly beat.

Biodiesel is growing faster (much faster) than ethanol fuel...we don't have sales figures yet, but I expect they will be jawdropping. Big ag businesses like Cargil and ADM are jumping into biodiesel in a big way, they certainly smell of profit.

Best thing is, it moves us closer to cleaner-burning, renewable fuels.

Morgan said...
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Morgan said...
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Morgan said...

I think it is great that Minnesota is taking the initiative to improve the current energy crisis that has been looming over us. While, I'm happy that Minnesota has made some progress, why haven't more states adopted similar policies? Personally, I believe that politicians, and big oil execs have too cozy of a bond with each other. There is undoubtedly a payoff for both parties involved if oil policies remain as they are. Politicians can enjoy funding from the oil giants, while oil companies can continue to roll around in cash. The sad part is that when R&D measures for alternative methods of energy remain relatively stagnant, the whole economy is impacted. When the dominant source of fuel goes up in price, those costs are passed on to all drivers, including those that transport necessities such as food, and clothing, etc., thus raising the prices of all commodities. With a country as advanced, and industrialized as the United States, why isn't more being done to improve the methods, and prices of energy?

Dr. Tufte said...

-1 on Savannah's post for an uninformative link.

I think the post gives this away as a get-rich-quick scheme for politically connected farmers. Think about it: in farm country, bio-diesel is still more expensive than regular diesel, so they have to require people to buy it! This is little more than legalized theft.

Liz, you're suspicious of the wrong people. It is the bio-diesel people who are charging whatever they want for their product - and they've got government muscle behind them to make you buy it at the price they set. The oil companies are the competition that would either push them out of business, or force them into using their political power to get business that they can't get on their own.

Connor is telling the truth that bio-diesel can be very cheap. This is largely a result of it being unregulated in many states. It also isn't legal to take it across most state lines, because of differences in environmental regulations. In our area, there are problems with ranchers from Arizona preferentially using U.S. 89 instead of I-15 because there is less chance of getting caught using fuel that pollutes too much.

Both Morgan and Conner are missing the big picture. Big oil has a distribution system that cost a lot to build, and they have the advantage of being able to have their gas on your corner. The alternative with bio-diesel is to drive out into the sticks to Jim Bob's pig farm and hope he has bio-diesel for you that day. The point is that bio-diesel is not a viable alternative because the opportunity costs are too high. With bio-diesel, you pay for most of those out of pocket. With big oil, they are all included in one fixed price, which is and will continue to be lower than the alternatives.