Manitoba biodiesel still not flowing

WINNIPEG — Apparently it takes more than the long arm of the law to turn on the biodiesel taps.

According to local media, four months after Manitoba’s mandate was put in place for biodiesel blends to be sold in the province, most diesel sold in the province is still bio-less.

Despite the slow start however, provincial officials and producers of the fuel are confident the mandate’s targets will be met. And technically, there’s still time.

Originally planned as a B5 mandate – a blend of 5 percent biodiesel with regular diesel fuel – the province scaled back to a B2 mandate to go into effect Nov. 1, 2009. The province cautioned that biodiesel might not be widely available until the summer of 2010, as production facilities adjusted to the mandate.

To allow a bit of time for the transition to biodiesel, the provincial regulations call for an average of a B2 blend of biodiesel sold in the province between Nov. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2011.

A story in the Winnipeg Free Press reveals that none of the major fuel companies in the province are offering biodiesel yet, which has drawn criticism from the province’s opposition party, saying the government jumped the gun on the mandate.

And the trucking industry is concerned as well that they’ll be forced to fill up with higher blends as the industry plays catch-up.

"We anticipate that there is going to be higher percentages for longer periods of time during the year to make up the average mandate," Bob Dolyniuk, executive director of the Manitoba Trucking Association, told local media.

"Perhaps they (the government) should have waited until everything was in place and then introduced the (two per cent blended fuel) mandate," he added.

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