Biodiesel tax credit not expected to spread alternative fuels in region

You may have heard a tax credit for bio diesel was rolled into the “fiscal cliff” bill Congress passed.

Those who sell the fuel are not predicting it will cut the price at the pump.

If you want biodiesel in Philadelphia there is only one station on Vine Street. If you need a fill-up in New Jersey, there are only a handful.

Norm Woolley of Woolley Fuel Company in the North Jersey suburb of Maplewood has been pumping the alternative fuel for four years.

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He says most of the diesel he pumps now contains a mixture of 30 percent alternative fuels, such as soy in the winter and vegetable oil in the summer.

“During the Sandy storm it created our biggest switchover because the regular diesel pump wasn’t working so everyone had to use biodiesel, and when the regular pump started working again people stuck with the biodiesel fuel,” he said.

Woolley says biodiesel costs about five cents less a gallon, but he doesn’t think tax credits to those who make the fuel will help. He says if states mandated a blend of bio and regular diesel, that would.

“Even it it were one or two percent that we knew that the fuel was manufactured or made from recycled vegetable oil or soy stock,” he said.

Woolley says customers drive out of their way to come to his pump.

The credit that was included in the fiscal cliff bill retroactively restores a biodiesel tax break that expired at the end of 2011.  Producers of the alternative fuel say the credit could encourage some to expand their operations.  

Many people who use biodiesel regularly are enthusiasts who make their own fuel from recovered cooking oil.

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