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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- A Sioux Falls Kum & Go convenience store and gas station has begun selling the diesel equivalent of ethanol, reported the Associated Press.
Biodiesel, promoted by soybean farmers, is a cleaner-burning, renewable alternative fuel that can be produced from any fat or vegetable oil. It contains no petroleum but can be mixed with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend.
Craig Johnson of the South Dakota Soybean Association said soy biodiesel already powers some farm equipment, and availability for trucks and autos is a natural progression. "Now, we are promoting it for the trucking industry, as well as the average pickups and cars that run on diesel," Johnson said.
The blend sold at the Kum & Go store on the city's west side contains 2 percent soy and 98 percent diesel.
Joe Van Ballegooyen, the store's general manager, said between 1,500 and 2,000 gallons were pumped during a three-hour promotion that offered customers $25 cash rebates. "We don't expect to keep selling it at that pace, but we think it is something that will increase in popularity," Van Ballegooyen said. "We wanted to be the first in town to sell it."
Candace Walters of Sioux Falls filled the tank of her diesel-powered Chevy pickup truck with some of the new blend, which costs $1.89 per gallon. She was drawn in by the rebate deal but later said the fuel appeared to be doing its job. "The truck is still running," Walters said. "I'll probably use it again."
Soy biodiesel currently costs about 10 cents per gallon more than regular diesel, as it does not enjoy the tax incentives offered to ethanol.
"That's one of the things we are working on," Johnson said. "Right now, there are several bills in Washington that would make that happen."
But Johnson added that the blend is still worth the price difference, as it increases lubricity, offers higher performance and reduces emissions. "It's better for the vehicle and better for the environment," Johnson said. "It's definitely worth it."