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The Trucking Side of the BioDiesel Mandate

With so much talk about biodiesel and the mandated 10% (B10) in Minnesota, I thought I would use this column to make clear my opinions on it.

There are some end of biodiesel that are very much in favor of using it and they talk about all the benefits of the fuel. Simply, there are many users of biodiesel that would use the product regardless of the mandate.

I have said that biodiesel has had the opportunity to mature its market over the past 10-plus years and for the most part it has.  Now it is time for the product to stand up and be self-sufficient on its own while not requiring the mandate.  We are at a time with this product that we should be reducing the mandate not increasing it.

I have been watching the pricing from Minnesota and its counter parts, mostly focusing on border locations. Since states have different tax brackets, I looked at the pricing net of tax and there is a steady 4-5 cent increase in Minnesota fuel on B5.  Now that the mandate is B10, I will be watching to see if this increases.  My gut tells me it will.

There are many interesting facts about the mandate that only us getting kicked are willing to talk about.

  1. Many industries have been excluded from the mandate; this makes it optional for them to buy biodiesel.  The trucking industry and your automobile are not excluded.  This leaves truckers and you to carry the mandate.
  2. The proponents will talk about the renewable energy.  All of us enjoy seeing success of domestic production of energy.  The reason this is the first topic is because they want to mask the pricing concerns.
  3. Many point to cleaner air and the clean burn of the biodiesel product, but the reality is that the Federal Government has already restricted truck manufactures into better trucks that clean drastically cleaner.  The bio portion of the fuel is a very small measurement to what the trucking industry is doing without Biodiesel.
  4. Money spent on keeping traffic moving would have a more efficient effect on society and would reduce omissions from time our equipment is idling in traffic.  Not to mention, it will allow us to stay more efficient with our rates that get passed down to the consumer.
  5. The industry is very concerned with its winter cloud point of the product and therefore they are very willing to allow the mandate to drop to B5 in the winter.  For those needing a little more information, biodiesel’s cloudpoint (point at which it gets thicker/freezes) is higher than normal diesel fuels.  This makes it more likely to have issues with our trucks on cold winter days.  Or, it requires very expensive treatment additives to work with the product.  Either way, it is lots of effort and expense to truckers.
  6. Many of us that can, avoid using Minnesota based diesel because it is expensive and we don’t need to carry the burden of mandate and the after effects of it.  Think for a moment what this actually does.  Instead of routing our truck to stop in Albert Lea and my driver buying lunch and goodies in their store, we route him to Mason City, IA and as a result of that – he is now buying Iowa goodies and supper and the taxes collected from this sale go to Iowa.  As a proud farmboy from Minnesota, it feels so wrong to avoid fuel where the accessorial sales benefit this state.  The reality is:  I compete with people from all over the country and that competition requires me to go to where the least expense is.

I don’t think you will find that the trucking industry will stand on its head to talk against Biodiesel.  In fact, many of us like the sound of domestic energy.  Minnesota Truckers are tired of carrying the torch.  We think it is unfair, expensive and wrong.

Speak Your Mind


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