A Penny for Your Soybean?

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If you know me, or if you’ve read some of my blog posts you probably know I’m a big fan of diesel engines. In particular I’m quite fond of biodiesel. I’ve often preached that while OPEC continues to shaft us on the price of crude oil making gasoline and petroleum based diesel unreasonably expensive, biodiesel should decrease in price as the process used to produce it becomes more advanced and cost effective.

So, you can imagine my dismay when I drove by the local station which sells B99 expecting to see that it’s price continued to hover around $3.30 per gallon, only to see that it was well over $4 per gallon. What gives?! Biodiesel was supposed to be the stable and reliable alternative to petroleum diesel, and here it is trumping the price of petroleum diesel by several cents per gallon.

Well, I forgot one important point. Biodiesel is not just about the process required to produce it, there is also the feedstock required for the raw vegetable oil. Turns out, the price of soybean oil has increased dramatically this season. This in turn has made biodiesel prices mirror petroleum diesel prices.

Now, I suppose this should have been an easily foreseeable problem based on the rules of supply and demand, but somehow I’m still disappointed. This is leaving me with a lot of doubt over what had previously seemed like a rock solid and obvious conclusion of buying diesel vehicles or converting my existing ones to diesel. Where I had thought I’d want to buy an Excursion, I think the wife is going to get her way and we’re going to get an Acura MDX. And where I had thought I’d like to convert my Ford Explorer to some sort of diesel power plant, I’m seriously considering modding my existing motor. I don’t suppose I’ll get the same kind of fuel economy, or performance in either case but at least I can predict that the price of my fuel will steadily rise until I’d rather walk than drive, rather than being at the mercy of a new fuel and a new industry.

I’m actually in no particular hurry to change anything, so I suppose I’ll just wait to see how things pan out, and maybe I’ll end up doing what I’d initially planned. But for now, consider me dejected and sad.