I posted a while ago that the CFN station where I'd been buying B20 closed down. Well the other day I was in the area of the next-closest BD station (also a CFN) to my normal "stompin' grounds" and needed fuel. So I figured "great, I'll just swing in and fill up on some bio!"
Parked at the pump and went over to the card reader to activate it with my credit card and got a major shock! They were selling B99 and it was priced at $3.29 a gallon! I had been used to seeing B20 for about a nickel to ten cents a gallon LESS than straight #2. From the pump where I had parked my truck I could see the sign for the Flying J a half a block away and regular #2 was only $2.85 a gallon!
Now logic would lead me to think that if bio is enough cheaper than #2 that mixing it 4:1 with #2 lowers the per-gallon price by 5 or 10 cents, then B99 ought to be around 5x that much cheaper - like a quarter to fifty cents a gallon LESS than straight #2. Everything I've read says that even making it from virgin oil, straight bio should be cheaper than petro-diesel. What's more, there have been a couple of large bio plants built up here in the great NorthWest in the last year or two, so transporting it shouldn't add much to the cost. And to add insult to injury, the CFN had a note tacked up there by the card reader bragging about how they are passing the full bio-fuels renewable-energy credit on to their customers! Do they really think their customers are that STUPID?
I mean, $0.44 a gallon is a pretty hefty premium. I did a little quick math in my head and figured out that a couple of gallons of B99 per tankful of fuel would get me about a B10 mix, but would cost me an extra 88 cents per tank. Heck, DieselKleen only costs me about a buck per tank full of #2, so at that price, bio isn't really even cheaper as a lubricity addative!
So what gives? Is this station just taking advantage of the poplarity of the bio fuels craze and using it as an opportunity to rip people off, or what?!? Well I can tell you for sure they didn't rip ME off. I hopped right back in my truck and drove the half-block to the Flying J to fill up - just on principle and because I was so ticked off!
Yep....And it's gonna stay that way for awhile. The suppliers know that "greenes" will pay the extra for a "green fuel" so don't expect it to go down soon. I have a customer that raises canola and crushes it for Imperium Biofuels in Seattle, they pay him $2.38 per gallon plus transportation costs.
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From what I've seen in the commercial market. The biggest thing that makes a difference is the taxes. The blenders, those that mix #2 with bio. get a $1.00 a gallon excise tax credit for biodiesel blends when using virgin oil. The thing is, that credit is only good up to a B20 mix (I think). When this was passed, the commercial biodiesel producers raised the price of their B100 to the blenders. B100 is almost always more expensive than #2. The difference is made up with the taxes. That's why they sell B99 instead of B100. Try and find a place that has B20. It 'should' be cheaper than the #2, and the B99. Just a thought, it was one of the reasons that kept me from going commercial. Heck, I'd have to hire a near full time accountant to keep up with the government paperwork!
I know here in vegas the sinclair gas stations carry B-5 and most the time its anywhere from 5 to 10 cents more per gallon.
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Tukwila Interurban, B20 from Pacific Pride. Same old great price. Near the Harley dealership/Penske/drive thru Starbucks off of I5. North of Southcenter, south of Boeing field exit. Pettit has a deal with getting the same card. Much more civilized here in Tukwila than stinky Seattle
Oh, Safeways in West Seattle should you ever be up there also has B20 for an acceptable price.
The price of a product isn't set by adding up all the costs to make it. it's set by what the market will bear. if you've got greenies who are willing to pay more, then the fuel retailers are only to happy to let them.
that's not price gouging, that's simple retail economics.
if you want to talk about price gouging, try bottled water, or brand name pharmasuticals.
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