Chasing Down Biodiesel

Biodiesel in VermontWhen we picked out our Dodge Ram 2500 pickup truck, one of our requirements was that it had to have a diesel engine, so that we could run biodiesel or straight veggie oil (SVO) in it. We wanted to offset our footprint by buying such a large vehicle. So we took a class on Making Your Own Biodiesel, learned the ins and outs of producing and buying it, and set off on this trip with the hope that we would find it in lots of places. Eventually, we’ll make our own, but for now, we have to rely on Biodiesel.org to tell us who’s selling it and where.

So far, it seems that biodiesel was a little easier to find in the Midwest. Close proximity to farm and soy fields I suppose. As we got to New England though, it became apparent that biodiesel isn’t as easy to find. According to the locals, this is partly due to the cold climate (biodiesel and SVO doesn’t do well in it), and that it’s still a new concept here. The Left Coast is always so much ahead of the rest of the country, but Vermont is catching on, one woman told me.

We are finding it here, but it’s either a very low grade, or access to it is difficult. What I mean by this is, when all you have is an address of a filling station to go on, you must keep your eyeballs glued to your surroundings. Many of these stations are little podunk stops, not big fancy Citgo or Valero stops. And if you miss one, well, you can’t exactly slam on your brakes and flip a u-turn. Remember, RVs are huge rigs and need all the stopping room they can get. Twice in the last 100 miles, we missed the only two biodiesel stops, because there wasn’t enough time to stop, or room to to turn around within the first few miles. We just had to keep moving on, unfortunately.

We finally found it here in Manchester, but they are only stocking B5. And, they are a cash only business. Talk about making it difficult for people. Well, better than nothing I suppose But I’ve really just come to the conclusions that;

– trying to find a station when hauling a trailer sucks. It’s so much easier to look for the station when we are just driving the truck around.

– until it’s made more widely available through mainstream retailers, few laypeople are going to take advantage of it. Until then, it’ll just remain a curisoity to most Americans.

I’m super envious of our cyber friends Sara and Matt, who are driving around an SVO powered rig. They go from stop to stop, finding restaurants and taking the grease off their hands. Might seem like a hassle, but consider this; they’ve spent ZERO on fuel in two months. Well, you don’t want to know what we’ve spent. Let’s just say that as soon as we land somewhere, I will definitely be investigating a fuel conversion kit for the ol’ Dodge, because fuel bills suck.

7 Responses to “Chasing Down Biodiesel”

  1. Right on, Biodiesel Info looks great. Of course I’d love to brew our own. Do you have a unit that will fit on the roof of our 24′ 5th wheel? 😉 When we get a stick house some day, I’ll be looking ya up.

  2. Very cool, if you ever have any biodiesel questions feel free to contact me or visit my site. I build biodiesel processors which turn waste vegetable oil into biodiesel. It is really amazing how simple the process is, as well as saving the customer $2-3 per gallon at the pumps. Algae biodiesel looks even more promising.

  3. Hi Rene …

    This is Ariadne from the Simple Living forums (the one who used to live in Cutten) … we’ll be on the road ourselves next year, tho not full time. We’ve bought a fifth wheel and Diesel pickup … and are using biodiesel too. Here in Boise Stinker stations carry B5, and Pacific Pride carries B20. However, since Pacific Pride is commercial only, we had to join a consortium to get a card, but it’s well worth it! And we had to agree to use it only for biodiesel, which is no problem. However, in DH’s searching he’s found that most Pacific Pride stations across the nation do not carry biodiesel, so I guess we’re pretty lucky here. There is a biodiesel plant in New Plymouth, Idaho, “just down the road”, so perhaps that’s why we can get B20. He’s done a lot of searching on the biodiesel site as well. Don’t know that we’ll ever make our own, tho as “old hippies” at HSU (then HSC) you never know what we might decide to do … 🙂

    Really really enjoy reading your blog. You’re such an inspiration! Write on!

  4. Never mind hoarding the grease for us! We won’t be converting to straight greasel any time soon! At least not on this trip while there is a quite vital fifth wheel hitch and tool box in the back of our truck! Perhaps once we land somewhere, René might be able to convince me to replace the toolbox with the auxiliary tank required for SVO. Perhaps.

  5. Rene, I have only found one retailer of Biodeisel near us in NJ and it is in center city Philadelphia. Luckily it’s only about 20 minutes away. So we can hook you up here. Should we start stockpiling Vegie oiil??

  6. Hi Rene,
    Thanks for the comment on our blog. Sara and Matt told us about your site, and I just added a link to ours as well! We’ll enjoy following your journey, and who knows…maybe our paths will cross this year! Good luck to you both,
    Laura

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