April 30, 2006

April 2006 Digest

This April, the ethanol distribution infrastructure buckled as many oil refiners decided en masse to switch from petroelum-based MTBE additives to ethanol to meet seasonal blend requirements. It was abruptness of this quick demand decision that caused high prices of gasoline as lack of blended product led to shortages in several American east coast states.

When prices topped $3.00 for Regular the hard reality and future implications could not be ignored. Mass transit started looking better and better to consumers while politicians scrambled to appear that they had a "better way" to minimize the problem. They earned a cynical response.

Here is a Digest of articles posted on the BioConversion Blog during the month of April, 2006.
General Topics--------------
UC/Berkeley Study: Reducing U.S. Oil Dependence
ACE's State-by- State Ethanol Handbook
Green Jobs for America: Two Reports
Visionary Investors Cast Their Eye on Ethanol
ACORE's Biomass Coordinating Council Workshop (BCC)
Earth Day 2006 - Clean Energy: Time to Get Practical
The Next Green Revolution
U.N.'s FAO to manage International BioEnergy Platform
FAQ: BioConversion Blog

Vehicle Technology---------------
Plug-in Partners National PHEV Initiative

Book Reviews--------------
A Thousand Barrels a Second by Peter Tertzakian
Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday

Around the Nation--------------
CALIFORNIA: Bioenergy Action Plan - NEVC Recommendations
CALIFORNIA: Cal/EPA Climate Action Team Report Released
CALIFORNIA: Are New Taxes a Viable Option?
CALIFORNIA: Bioenergy Action Plan - Final Released
CALIFORNIA: Gov. Directs State Agencies to Expand 'Bio-Fuels'
CALIFORNIA: Gov. Schwarzenegger's Biofuels Executive Order
FLORIDA: Farm to Fuel Program
WASHINGTON: Washington State Approves New Biofuels Requirement

Around the World--------------
U.N.'s FAO to manage International BioEnergy Platform
China, Ethanol, and the NY Times
BOOK: Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday
Central America: Biofuel Investment Update
AFRICA: Growing Biofuel

Worldwide trends for renewable fuel development have never been better. With high gas prices, the motivation and earnings potential are strong. But, as Alex Steffen writes in "The Next Green Revolution" article for Wired magazine, education of some reactionary environmentalists needs to take place. Their strident demonstrations against progressive technological change frustrate investors, labor unions, and local governments and prolong the threatening and toxic status quo.

Noticably frustrated by the slow rate of change is California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger whose Bioenergy Action Plan has led to enactment of Executive Order S-06-06 which directs state agencies to take major steps toward the widespread use and production of biofuels. We'll keep an eye on how this impacts pending state legislation.

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stickboy said...

Hi, I am also in Souther California.
Where can I go to get ethanol for my car in SoCal? I drive a 2000 VW Beetle, and have read that it only costs about $200 to get my car ready for ethanol. Is this correct? I thought I had to have a diesel engine to do this. You can email me at jtrcmca@yahoo.com :)

C. Scott Miller said...

Keep your money in your pocket.

There are only about four pumps dispensing E85 in California. You can view the list at http://www.e85fuel.com/database/locationsplain.php?state=CACalifornia&PHPSESSID=4b6a8aad3573e31146d1796822697e30 .

The reason is that, in spite of the fact that the Golden State consumes 25% of the nation's production of ethanol, it only produces 5% of what it uses. Almost all of it is used at oil refineries to blend into gasoline as an oxygenate. The likelihood of seeing E85 pumps in California anytime soon is not too high.

Still, when I buy my next car it will be flex-fuel compatible. Why? Why not... it won't cost any more than other a non flex-fuel version, but it will enable me to run on E85 when it becomes available which will affect operating costs and resale value.

Thanks for writing.