Manitoba officially begins pumping out biodiesel

WINNIPEG — Manitoba has become the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement a biodiesel mandate, requiring a two percent biodiesel blend in the province’s diesel pool.

Requiring a biodiesel blend in diesel fuel sold in Manitoba builds on a previously announced regulation in 2008 requiring the licensing of biodiesel manufacturers and the adoption of fuel quality standards in an effort to ensure the integrity of the province’s fuel supply.

“This mandate is one of the building blocks of our clean energy plan, an important climate-change initiative that will see the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions in Manitoba,” said Premier Greg Selinger. “As a result of the two per cent biodiesel blend with diesel, it is expected greenhouse-gas emissions will be reduced by 56,000 tonnes or the equivalent of removing more than 11,000 cars from the road annually.”

Part of the mandate will provide support for local biodiesel production by replacing the current fuel tax exemption with a 14-cent-per-litre, five-year production grant for biodiesel produced in Manitoba.

While biodiesel became government mandated on Nov. 1, biodiesel is already being used in Manitoba by some vehicle fleets, such as Manitoba Hydro, Winnipeg School Division and Canada Safeway. It is expected biodiesel will be widely available to consumers by summer 2010.

The trucking community however, is still sceptical about the actual amount of biodiesel that will be in diesel fuel at the pump.

One common misconception regarding the rule is that fuel retailers will be required to sell biodiesel directly at the pump. As is the case in B.C., which is likely kicking-off its B5 mandate in January 2010, fuel companies need only to produce a provincial "pool average" of B2.

Effectively, as this exclusive Today’s Trucking feature revealed earlier this year, that means that the actual blend at the pump is left free to vary based on customer demand. So, some customers with buying power can demand zero B content, leaving the supplier no choice but to deliver blends higher than B2 in other regions.

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