Feb 16, 2011

Bring on the B-5 biodiesel

Effective April 1st, 2011 all diesel road fuel sold in the state of Oregon will contain a 5% biodiesel blend.

The state of Oregon has achieved a biofuel milestone by reaching an annual production of 15 million gallons of biodiesel. Reaching this goal has set into motion the next phase of the Oregon Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) which mandates a minimum of 5% biodiesel to be dispensed in all diesel fuels sold in the state. 

This increases the current biodiesel mandate of 2% biodiesel (98% petroleum) blend. This measure not only assures the sustainable production of biodiesel fuel in the local Oregon economy, but also shows the state's logistical approach in addressing the need to lower our carbon emissions.  

Exceptions to this mandate include:

1.) railroad locomotives
2.) marine engines
3.) home heating applications

Jan 30, 2011

Biofuels Tax Credit
How to claim the Oregon Biofuels Tax credit for B-99 and E-85 fuel blends

It's tax season and we've had a few requests for more information on the biofuels tax credit for Oregon residents. 

Passed in 2007, Oregon House Bill 2210 allows Oregon residents to claim a tax credit of up to $200.00 per year for purchasing B-99 biodiesel, and E-85 ethanol fuel blends. 

"Governor Kulongoski, provides a package of measures to encourage greater development, distribution and use of agricultural and forest material for biofuels, for electricity and for other forms of biomass energy use.  The bill expands property tax incentives for biofuel and certain fuel additive production facilities, establishes a new tax credit for producers and collectors of biofuel raw materials, based on Btu content of feedstock, and creates an income tax credit for consumer use of biofuel "
courtesy of Oregon.gov

How to claim the tax credit:

(For our example we will be using the standard 2010 Oregon 40 form.)
*click on form to download*

Claiming the biofuels tax credit is a pretty straight forward process. One quick thing to note is that a tax credit is not the same as a tax deduction. A tax deduction is an expense that lowers your total taxable income. In this case with a biofuels tax credit, it is a specific dollar amount that you can subtract from your liability to the state. In short, it's less money that you have to pay the state or more money that you would get back from the state.

1.) Gather all receipts for B-99 or E-85 fuel purchased in Oregon in the 2010 calendar year and add up the total amount of gallons purchased.
*If you purchased these fuels @ the SeQuential station in Eugene the receipts should have a dollar amount per gallon as well as a gallon amount that is specific to the thousandth of a gallon.
Ex: "10.132 gallons"

2.) B-99 tax credit is $.50 per gallon & the E-85 tax credit is for $.42 per gallon.

3.) Multiply your total gallons purchased by the appropriate credit for each fuel type.

4.) Go to box #39 on the 1040 form and plug the total into the box.
                     "Biofuel Consumer (code 744)"

5.) This is the total that you subtract from your debt to the state or money that the state may owe you as a refund depending on your individual situation.

6.) That's It!

Please note that the tax credit is ONLY for B-99 and E-85 fuel blends at this time. 

The tax credit is eligible up to a maximum of $200.00 per vehicle registered in Oregon.

The tax credit is a consumer tax credit and does not fall under the business expense category

*If you are preparing your taxes on-line, most services already have the necessary information built into the program for you to fill out.

Jan 11, 2011

New E85 flex-fuel station app for Android smart phones

The Renewable Fuels Association has released a free and useful mobile phone app for the Android smart phone line.

As many of you know, biofuels aren't always the easiest fuel to track down, especially when you're traveling or just in an unfamiliar area. This new app provides users with E85 station locations, prices, phone number, and most importantly -- directions.

I recently spent the holidays w/ my family in Arizona where we had rented a flex-fuel vehicle from the airport. I had installed the app a few days earlier and was excited to see it in action when I fired it up in a big city with hundreds of fueling stations. Within seconds a full map appeared on the screen displaying the stations in the area with an E85 pump.

With the mobile app becoming a growing standard in our daily lives, it is exciting to see an application designed specifically for the biofuel markets. No word yet on a biodiesel specific application, but I think it's only a matter of time until one is released.

“Being able to provide America’s consumers with more access to flex-fuel stations is helping raise awareness of the increasing amount of alternative fuels that are available to them,” said RFA Market Development Director, Robert White. “As more Americans fuel up with domestic fuel, we can reduce our dependency on foreign oil and increase energy security.”


Dec 13, 2010

Zeachem Inc. secures financing for completion of Oregon cellulosic ethanol refinery

Zeachem Inc, a leading developer for producing cellulose-based fuels, has announced that their new biorefinery will be completed on schedule and within their budget. 

The news comes after the company recently secured a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) for the construction of the refinery and a $25 million grant from the US Department of Energy. The new 250,000 gallon facility broke ground this summer in Boardman OR, with fuel grade cellulosic ethanol expected come on-line in 2011.


Dec 3, 2010

Convenience Store News - Oregon bans alcoholic energy drinks

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) has banned certain alcoholic energy drinks - effective immediately after a 4-1 vote at a special meeting last week.

These drinks have made recent headlines in the Eugene area with many UO undergraduates reportedly landing themselves in  the emergency room after consuming several of the 24oz cans in one night.

“The OLCC has been concerned about the health risks of these products for some time,”says OLCC Chairman Philip Lang. 

“It’s unfortunate that so many young people around the country were hurt by these products. We’re glad that we can play a role in preventing that from happening here in the future.”

Health experts confirm that the high level of caffeine can mask the effects normally felt from consuming alcohol in large volumes and the consumer therefore drinks more and more. Some cans have as much as 12% alcohol by volume, which puts one 24oz can equivalent to 4-5 regular sized beers. Combine that with the caffeine content and you are essentially drinking 4 beers and 2 cups of coffee at one time.

Why are we reporting on this? 

Because "traditional" or "regular" convenience  stores are the main retail locations for this controversial beverage. The drink is targeted at the youth market & people with smaller disposable incomes.  It directly promotes rapid intoxication at the low cost. 

These drink choices have no socially redeeming purposes & only go to illustrate the lack of ethics in convenience store management across the country. Just because you can make a profit off of something, doesn't mean that it's ok to sell it to your local community.

We're trying to be a better convenience store.

Our SeQuential retail station has adamantly refused to carry such products in our store because of these negative impacts of the drink.  We love our community and there are so many better beverage choices that are readily available the Northwest. We feel this one is a no brainer because it only takes a little more effort to provide your customers with higher quality choices at different price points. 

A short video by the Associated Press:


Nov 14, 2010

Real time info-graphic by the National Biodiesel Board.

Nov 7, 2010

2011 Ford diesel truck engines fully compatible w/ biodiesel blends

Ford's new and improved 2011 Power Stroke®  V-8 turbocharged diesel engines are tested and approved to run on B-20 biodiesel.

The new engine design has performance improvements across the board in comparison to older heavy duty diesel engine models. Even more exciting is the news that this engine has lower overall emissions + greater flexibility in fuel choices with the capability of running B-20 biodiesel blends at high performance levels. To put it simply, It's a whole lot of truck with decreased environmental impact.

This increased biodiesel application in the new heavy duty engines increases biodiesel's use in industrial applications and passenger vehicles. This is an encouraging sign because vehicle and engine manufacturers hold a responsibility to biofuels enhancement as an on-road & off-road vehicle fuel of the future. We don't have much say in how an engine is built, but we can have the buying power to choose what type of fuel source we want to operate it with. After market modifications can always be made, but those usually come with downtime & significant costs to the consumer.

Biodiesel's natural ability to blend with petroleum diesel in any percentage is simple and beneficial common ground for engine manufacturers and consumers. I've personally met hundreds of die-hard B-20 drivers at the station who use and can attest to the performance & choice that B-20 has already given them. It's not just an easy way to go green, it's a proven way to get the job done.

I love the fact that Ford is promoting their new engine with a new Power Stroke® B20 emblem directly on the trucks. Hopefully we'll be seeing more of this is next year's models.

Ford Media Page w/ full engine info
Ford's green technology website
National Biodiesel Board 
Edmund's review: 2011 Ford Super Duty
Ford's 2011 Super Duty website