Schoharie Pit Stop adds bio-diesel pump


By David Avitabile

A partnership that included farmers, local businesses, state officials, educational leaders, and local government officials has resulted in only the third biodiesel pump available to the public in the Capital District as well as a pilot program to use the fuel in Schoharie County vehicles.
The pump at the Pit Stop Service Station and Ottman and Enders on upper Main Street in Schoharie will offer B20 biodeisel to the public. The only other known public pumps are in Troy and Oneonta, officials said at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
The fuel, which is a mixture of 20 percent pure biodiesel and 80 percent traditional diesel, can be put in most diesel vehicles with few or no modifications, officials said. In the winter, the distributor, John Ray & Sons of Troy, is expected to deliver a B5 blend with less pure biodiesel.
Blends greater than B20, officials said, act more like a solvent and have caused some filter clogging problems.
State Senator James Seward, Assemblyman Peter Lopez and others said there were numerous winners in the pilot program for the county and the open-to-the-public pump.
Steps have to be taken to break our country’s dependence on foreign oil, Senator Seward said.
“There’s a need for fundamental changes,” he said.
“This is a big step forward…We need more announcements like this.”
Mr. Lopez, who uses the biodiesel blend in his Jeep, said that the station and pilot plan is “just one piece of the puzzle.
“What we do in ‘little Schoharie’ matters. It’s a small step. We’re the agents of change.”
Schoharie County Board of Supervisors Chairman Earl VanWormer said “this is a multi-win situation” and farmer Richard Ball said biodiesel gives farmers more options and is a way for the state for become self-sufficient.
Bradd Vickers, the president of the Chenango County Farm Bureau, said biodiesel is good for the environment and the country.
“No matter what happens to foreign oil,” he said, “it (biodiesel) will grow, and grow and grow.”
Biodiesel, said a producer from Bainbridge, said he produced the fuel from soy beans, cotton seed, coconut oil and algae oil. It can also be produced from waste vegetable oil.
Biodeisel is slightly more expensive than regular diesel but Ken Ray of John Ray & Sons said the company is subsidizing the cost to keep the price for the biodiesel the same as regular diesel at the pump.
Diesel currently sells for about $4.59 a gallon, he said. The price had not yet been set at the Schoharie station.
The new fuel will be used in some county buses, Mr. VanWormer said. A state grant will help the county pay for the price difference between biodiesel and regular diesel.
If the program works well, the fuel will be used in other county vehicles, Mr. VanWormer said, including vehicles in the public works department.
Mr. VanWormer said that once the fuel is accepted by consumers and the “novelty wears off,” more people will buy the fuel and eventually it will lower the cost of production.
Jeff Palmer, owner of the Schoharie service station, said it was nice to give more choices to consumers.
He said he is giving out information about the new biodiesel fuel.
The fuel has been tested and certified at the national level, officials said.
The fuel, officials said, is better for diesel engines since biodiesel contains more lubricants and is cleaner for the environment since it has fewer harmful emissions compared to regular diesel.