Companies Say California Customers Are Wooed by Biodiesel

Propel Fuels and Solazyme Inc. have gathered data and informal customer feedback following a 30-day retail pilot program where biodiesel was offered at the same price as tradition diesel at Propel's ‘Clean Fuel Points’ in Redwood City, San Jose, Berkeley and Oakland, Calif. The companies say consumers ‘prefer its environmental benefits compared to conventional fuels, would purchase more of it if it was widely available and would even pay a premium for it.’

SoladieselBD, which is derived from algae, was introduced in a B20 blend at the California locations. In a consumer survey, 92% of participants noted that they would be more likely to purchase algae-derived fuel for its environmental benefits; 70% indicated that they would purchase the fuel more frequently if it were derived from algae; and nearly 40% of customers indicated they would pay a premium for algae-derived fuel. There was a 35% volume increase at Propel stations offering the algae-derived fuel over area sites not participating in the pilot.

‘Our fuels have already been successfully demonstrated in fleet vehicles, corporate buses, military applications and the first U.S. commercial flight on biofuel,’ says Bob Ames, vice president of fuels at Solazyme. ‘The successful pilot program with Propel further exhibits strong consumer appetite for the superior performance and environmental properties of Soladiesel.’

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