Thursday, August 24, 2006

Collins Views Biodiesel Sales

Collins views biodiesel sales
by Lori Glenn

MOULTRIE — Candidate for the U.S. House District 8, former Congressman Mac Collins, stopped by Moultrie Wednesday to speak with the manager of Farmers Fuel Services about its recent move to stock biodiesel.

Farmers Fuel, located on Fourth Avenue Northeast, has been selling biodiesel for three weeks now with great reviews.

“We looked at it and said, ‘Why not?’” manager Greg Manley said.

Farmers Fuel blends B100, a soybean biodiesel, bought from a Rome distributor, into diesel fuel. At present, since consistent supply is not yet available, the retailer blends it at a level of B10. The retailer could use three loads a week, Manley said, but now it’s only getting two loads every eight to 10 days. As the B100 becomes more available, Manley plans to increase the biodiesel content to B20.

Biodiesel is an excellent additive for the new low-sulfur engines, Manley said. It runs cleaner with less friction. The initial downside is that fuel filters had to be changed out often in the transition, because the biodiesel begins to clean up injectors and polishes out the engine, Manley said. He, his staff and customers report they have realized about a mile to the gallon savings, which would translate into anywhere from 8 to 15 cents a gallon.

“The farmers are all for it, because they’re supporting each other. Not only that, they’re getting performance out this too. It will make us more self-sufficient, and that is a plus,” Manley said. “... We’re looking at an agricultural revolution so to speak, because we’re going to put people back to work farming and land back into production.”

“We’ve got to do something to get away from this dependency on foreign oil, and with ag being the primary business in this part of the state and many other states, it’s the thing to go to,” said Collins.

“Yes, sir. No doubt,” Manley said. “I think you’re going to see all these fallow fields from tobacco and CRP pines, I think you’re fixing to see people going back to the farm who want to farm and make a living at it.”

Manley said a Citgo representative told him this week that the U.S. is running on a six-day supply.

“If the refineries shut down, we’d be out of fuel in six days. It’s just as simple as that,” he said, frustrated at the lengthy permitting process that was later streamlined by the last Energy Bill.
Collins, who sold out his trucking business to his sons last year, supports drilling in the Alaskan wildlife refuge and more offshore drilling to increase domestic supply plus streamline the permit process for refineries without compromising environmental regulations to encourage oil companies to build more refineries in the U.S. It’s a national security issue, he said.
Collins said Congress must look at ways to encourage distribution of alternative fuels. The former congressman, who served on the Ways and Means Committee for a decade, said alternative fuel retailers ought to be able to write off capital investments in that year or in the short term.