From: Nicholas Ledden, The Macon Telegraph, Ga.
Published January 11, 2004 12:00 AM

Biodiesel could be Headed to Georgia's Midstate Gas Stations

Jan. 11—Macon residents could see competitively priced biodiesel being sold in commercial gas stations within the next

few months, according to Dennis Burnett, the alternative fuels manager for Davis Oil in Perry.

Davis Oil is waiting for the Internal Revenue Service to finalize a registration system for biodiesel producers so they can

begin taking advantage of a $1 per gallon tax credit.

Though the tax credit was passed as part of the American Jobs Creation Act in October and companies were supposed to be able

to begin filing for the tax credit Jan. 1, the IRS has not told producers in detail the tax credit's conditions.

The IRS published a notice outlining some rules and registration guidelines in December, but the final document is not

expected until March or April.

The tax break is designed to improve the environment by making biodiesel competitive with petroleum diesel.

Biodiesel, in its unmixed form, is an organic fat- and oil-based compound. The most common variation, B20, is a combination

of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel. It requires no engine modification.

The $1 tax credit applies only to biodiesel produced from virgin fats and oils. Biodiesel made from recycled fats and oils

will earn a 50-cent per gallon tax credit.

Burnett says his company is ready to start converting pumps from regular diesel to a biodiesel blend as soon as the IRS puts

its registration system into place.

"We plan to convert existing stations to handle biodiesel," Burnett said. "Infrastructure will be the only problem. The

product will be available and it will be competitively priced."

The Macon Vehicle Maintenance Department, which uses biodiesel in some of its vehicles, is currently the only retailer in

Macon. It sells to about 20 customers, according to Tim Stewart, the director of the city's Vehicle Maintenance Department

and chairman of the Middle Georgia Clean Cities Coalition.

"We decided to do this because we already use it in our trucks and we are committed to reducing pollution and dependance on

Middle East oil," Stewart said.

The maintenance facility has no plans to stop selling biodiesel to the public until a commercial filling station begins

providing it, Stewart said.

Some Macon residents are ready to take advantage of biodiesel retail stations as soon as they open.

"I was glad to hear it's available, I've been trying to figure out where to buy it for about a year now," said diesel car

owner and biodiesel enthusiast Jim Ellington.

Ellington said he originally became interested in biodiesel when he found it made his cars run better. Ellington now uses

biodiesel in his 1984 Mercedes-Benz, which has 89,000 miles on it, and plans to start using it in his 1981 Mercedes-Benz,

which has 230,000 miles.

"It's better for them, it cleans their systems out," he said. "Biodiesel is a good alternative, the emissions are a lot safer

than regular diesels."

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