This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

July 09, 2003

Indiana Fuel Terminal Offers Biodiesel, Easing Distribution

A move to offer metered blending of biodiesel at a fuel terminal in Jolietville, Indiana, may mark the first step in a wider acceptance of this fuel among farmers and consumers. Retail gas stations and farmers often rely on small petroleum distributors for their fuel supplies, and those distributors, in turn, fill up at regional fuel terminals. The decision by Indiana's Countrymark Co-op to offer biodiesel at one of its fuel terminals may encourage local distributors to deliver biodiesel blends to their customers, making it easier for farmers and consumers to fuel up on biodiesel. Currently, most biodiesel fuel must be trucked in directly from the biodiesel producer. The Indiana Soybean Board supported the installation of Countrymark's biodiesel blending system, and the company plans to expand the operation to its other three terminals if the Jolietville installation is successful.

In the past year, biodiesel has helped fuel the concert tours of Bonnie Raitt and the Indigo Girls, but this summer it has gained the attention of two decidedly harder rock tours. Both Lollapalooza 2003 and the Vans Warped Tour are using biodiesel to power generators during their summer tours, showing that even alternative-rock and punk bands care about the environment. And while it may come as no surprise that Berkeley, California, is fueling all its city-owned diesel vehicles with biodiesel, the U.S. military is actually the largest single purchaser of biodiesel in the country. For the contract period spanning 2003 to 2004, the military's Defense Energy Support Center plans to buy 5.2 million gallons of biodiesel. See the National Biodiesel Board press releases and home page.

While the biodiesel industry looks to the future, a group of college students spent part of their summer finding out how few and far between biodiesel supplies are in most of the country. Fortunately, their biodiesel bus also ran on used vegetable oil, and they were able to make their way across the United States relying largely on fast-food restaurants. Termed "Project Bio Bus," the alternative-fueled vehicle arrived safely in Conway, Washington, on June 11th, less than a month after leaving Middlebury, Vermont, for a wandering tour of rock-climbing venues and media appearances. Having finished their journey, the intrepid travelers sold their bus on eBay for $2,375. See the Project Bio Bus press release and home page.