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Happy Solstice from Holy Solar! This year has seen an amazing growth of alternative energy, real action from Washington and credible promises of much more to come from what may prove to be the administration which solves the energy crisis.
We’ve been away for a couple of months performing seasonal agricultural work on the Coast, and just now completed our regular migration to the Southwest. The price of biodiesel has not been as fast to fall as it was to rise, and remains up to twice the retail of petro-diesel.
Fortunately, we were able to navigate the 1000 miles of highway without resorting to dinosaur diesel, thanks largely to the four fueling stations we depended on, and several contributing riders. By pooling fuel costs, were able to complete the trip at a personal cost of $.15.mile.
We made our usual stops at the Biofuel Station in Laytonville and the Real Goods pump at the Solar Living Institute in Hopland (map). The BioFuel Oasis in Berkeley (map) saved our schedule by staying open late (8pm) and by selling easy-to-use 5-gallon jugs. This extended our range to cover the distance to Los Angeles non-stop, where ConservFuel provided the best price and hours of the entire journey.
The bad news came a few days later-ConservFuel in West LA, where we had just purchased 47 gallons, was discontinuing biodiesel. For those who travel long distances on biodiesel as well as local consumers, this essential oasis has been the only 24-hour provider of B99 in Southern California.
This was the e-mail we received from Kent at Socalbug.com:
The owner of the ConservFuel Station in West LA/Brentwood has decided to stop selling biodiesel !!!
See the explanation on the http://www.conservfuel.com/ website.
Write Dansk a letter and or email them @ email@example.com include firstname.lastname@example.org ( Kris Moller ) as a cc: in your email.
However don’t be too harsh, we do not want them to get sour on biodiesel as Dansk also owns the Palisades Gas-N-Wash which is still selling biodiesel.
Do your part to keep biodiesel for sale at ConservFuel.
Write your letter, spread the word and take action.
Here is what we had to say about it:
Dear Biodiesel Providers:
We were most saddened to hear of the closure of the biodiesel pump at Conserv fuel, especially after our recent fill-up just last week, when we purchased what will apparently be our final tank of hard-to-find biodiesel there.
On our seasonal trips from Arizona to Oregon, Conserv is a critical stop. We usually arrive at odd hours and the end of our tank. I honestly do not know how we will manage our next trip, as there is a huge void of biodiesel throughout that stretch of 1-10.
Many people do not understand why we use biodiesel, even when petro-diesel is cheaper. There are many reasons, from socio-political, to environmental, but the at the bottom of it all is a belief that biodiesel is a superior alternative which must be supported even at a higher cost. We are not wealthy people, but there is no compromising on this for us. We resort to petro-diesel only in the gravest emergencies, when there is literally no possibility of obtaining biodiesel.
We are cognizant of the difficulty of maintaining an unprofitable product, but urge your reconsideration of this move. The year has been a turbulant one for fuel prices, and next year may become more so. Biodiesel may again become a strong and profitable product as breakthroughs in algae and jatropha feedstocks swell supplies.
Please be aware that this closure is a major inconvenience, not merely to the local population of committed biodiesel users, but to travelers on the nation’s highways who lack other oases of supply. This issue is quite serious; we are quite literally stranded without a 24-hour station.
We may not have been contributing to your company’s coffers as well as consumers of cheaper fuels, but biodiesel users are dependant on the West Hollywood B100 pumps, and without them, the journey toward a greener future is detoured.
We urge your reconsideration.
Holy Solar Alternative Energy Bus
And we were pleasantly surprised to see this response:
After careful reconsideration and deliberation, Dansk Investment Group has decided that the loss our valuable biodiesel customers is not worth the potential increase in profits that would be gained by switching to the lower cost diesel #2. In large part, due to the numerous, well articulated emails we have received regarding our customers reaction to our removal of biodiesel, Dansk has decided to bring back biodiesel (B99) to Conserv Fuel in West Los Angeles!
Your emails are testament to the exceptional loyalty that Conserv Fuel biodiesel patrons have demonstrated regarding your commitment to purchase biodiesel. Conserv Fuel will once again continue to be the sole retail supplier of biodiesel (B99) in the greater Los Angeles area. Please note that our higher biodiesel sales price relative to diesel #2 is due to our higher wholesale supply costs. There is currently a lack of biodiesel supply in California which has resulted in biodiesel selling at a premium price to diesel #2.
We appreciate you taking the time to express your sentiments and would like to inform you that your voices have been heard. We understand that your loyalty to Conserv Fuel is linked to our supply of biodiesel, so we will be switching back to selling biodiesel (B99) hopefully by December 20th, 2008. We will keep you updated on our return to biodiesel at www.conservfuel.com
We appreciate you for your continued support
Dansk Investment Group, Inc.
Ours was merely one of many letters that surely led to this reversal, and this demonstrates the importance of expressing the importance that alternative energy makes in our lives to those deciding whether to provide it.
If you use biodiesel in LA, or expect to ever need to, please send a brief letter of thanks to the folks at Dansk Investments…and stop by the ConservFuel station to fill up often once biodiesel is restored there on December 20.
Dansk Investments & SoCal Bug jointly share this weeks “Green Leap of Faith Award” for believing in biodiesel through these rocky times.
ConservFuel can be contacted through email at email@example.com
They are open 24 hours a day, located at
11699 San Vicente Blvd
West Los Angeles, Ca 90049
(Click for directions to ConservFuel)
To find directions and more information about biofuel stations and availability in your area, Holy Solar recommends consulting NearBio – www.nearbio.com
The Holy Solar crew trucked down to Hopland, California, for the annual SolFest celebration at the Solar Living Institute & left with this song and video.
Solar Living Experiment
For those of you who’ve never been
It’s so amazing as to be a sin
Right along scenic highway one-oh-one
There’s a magical place, mostly about the Sun
We’d heard about the Redwoods, so we came to see,
What it felt like to be under all of those trees
We weren’t the first to hear their call
Hundred foot Redwoods dwarfing any wall
Under their canopy you might feel a little small
Until you give one a hug and feel part of it all.
With towering trees and ancient ferns
Restoring the forest each time it burns
Once again, we’re headed down to the Solar Living Institute in Hopland California to take part in the annual Solfest gathering. For those who are not familiar, the Solar Living Institute is one of the most active and established sites using green technologies and earth-friendly land strategies since 1998.
Associated with the Real Goods Eco-store, the Solar Living Institute is one of our favorite places on Earth. Featuring the largest array of solar panels in Northern California, SLI’s Solar 2000 module grid produces more than 160,000 kilowatt hours of power annually. Since 2003, anyone traveling Highway 101 has been able to top off their biodiesel tank while visiting this historic landmark of the future.
A leader in alternative energy information, SLI sponsors ongoing workshops in the Bay Area and along the North Coast throughout the year, but SolFest brings together speakers on topics from straw bale building construction and permaculture to biofuels and windmills.
And, of course, solar energy. The entire event will be powered by the many solar panels which adorn the venue year round, and experts in grid-tie applications, tax incentives, and off-grid solar photovoltaics will be making presentations, as well as being on hand to answer questions.
Year-round interns care for and eat from the organic farm and permaculture displays, leaving with an intimate knowledge of Earth-friendly techniques to bring into a world in desperate need of solutions. Each year, the volunteer staff joins them to help produce a zero-waste event using all-natural biodegradable plates, bottles, and utensils.
We’ll be volunteering there as well as signing up folks for our new newsletter- which will be launching sometime next week with our experiences and inside view of the event. We’ll also be trying to get a hold of a video recorder so that we can make a brief documentary about SLI, Real Goods, and SolFest, hopefully with interviews and some good shots of one of the most innovative villages on Earth.
*The Solar Living Center picture was provided by anotheremily