Canadian Company Makes Millions Sending Never Unloaded Rail Cars With Biodiesel Back And Forth Across US Border.

Rail cars carrying fuel.A loophole in how biodiesel is tracked and credited by the EPA in the US allowed a company in Toronto, Bioversel Trading Inc., to transport the same load of biodiesel back and forth across the border and make millions. From the CBC:

“Bioversel Trading hired CN Rail to import tanker loads of biodiesel to the U.S. to generate RINs, which are valuable in the U.S. because of a “greening” policy regulating the petroleum industry. The EPA’s “Renewable Fuel Standard” mandate that oil companies bring a certain amount of renewable fuel to market, quotas they can achieve through blending biofuel with fossil fuel or by purchasing RINs as offsets.

Because RINs can be generated through import, the 12 trainloads that crossed into Michigan would have contained enough biodiesel to create close to 12 million RINs. In the summer of 2010, biodiesel RINs were selling for 50 cents each, but the price soon fluctuated to more than $1 per credit.

Once “imported” to a company capable of generating RINs, ownership of the biodiesel was transferred to Bioversel’s American partner company, Verdeo, and then exported back to Canada. RINs must be “retired” once the fuel is exported from the U.S., but Bioversel says Verdeo retired ethanol RINs, worth pennies, instead of the more valuable biodiesel RINs. Bioversel claims this was all perfectly legal.”

You have to read the full crazy story on CBC’s website. [CBC via NY Times]


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Why Would US Auto Dealers Object To Higher MPG Standards?

I have been struggling with this story for a couple of days now – Reuters posted an article, U.S. auto dealers fight Obama fuel rules, and I can’t figure out why auto dealers would be opposed. Maybe they didn’t like how President Obama was able to push these higher fuel standards, a fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025, on the industry in a way no politician has been able to in the past. Or maybe the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) truly believe that the new fuel standards are going to drive the cost of cars up too high for price sensitive car shoppers.

But that doesn’t seem accurate. Any possible car price increase is going to be immediately made up by consuming less fuel with more efficient vehicles. And according to a study by Maritz Research for Ford Motor Company, 42% of the people polled said that fuel economy was an “extremely important” factor in driving new car purchases.

Jubbling’s take: We really don’t care if the automakers or NADA are behind the objection to the new standards but we are sick of the foot dragging, politicizing and special interesting of every decision like this. We felt the same way about the clowns who were part of the whole “Light Bulb Freedom” thing. Sure the Big 3 really didn’t enjoy being held over a rail, nearly bankrupt and in need of bailout money when they agreed to these new standards because they’re used being the ones holding the cards in negotiations with the Dept. of Transportation about fuel efficiency targets. Not only is this no longer the case, but now they also get to deal with the EPA.

So who wouldn’t want to get more MPG’s out of their car? Nobody. So lets move forward with this golden opportunity to mandate higher MPG standards that will benefit future generations. It shouldn’t be a political issue because it’s really about common sense and unfortunately, common sense is not a deep-pocketed special interest group.

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Dear Old Refrigerator, Please Keep Working Until At Least 2014. XO XO Jubbling

Improved Refrigerator Efficiency Standards In 2014Why 2014? Because that’s when the new Department of Energy standards governing refrigerators kick in making them 25% more energy efficient than current Energy Star compliant models. Companies are already working toward this goal – LG is traveling around the country with their new LG LFX31925 which is close to but doesn’t meet the new standard. And General Electric started working toward this new standard in 2010 by investing $432 million to improve the design and manufacturing of refrigeration products.

When 2014 does hit and it’s time to make the move, you can donate your old fridge locally or if it’s on life support, have it recycled through the EPA’s Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) Program. The EPA has partnered with utilities, retailers and manufacturers around the country to safely recycle refrigerators and recover their ozone-damaging refrigerant.

So for now, hug it out with your fridge daily, whisper it sweet nothings, spare it the stress of hot pots of soup and definitely don’t let it know about your plans for replacement in 2014.

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Three Required Green Accessories: Peace Symbol, Politicized Hemp Shirt, And Bible?

Inspired by NYTimes.com article: “In Kansas, Climate Skeptics Embrace Cleaner Energy“.

Nixon vs Gore - Who is more Jubbling?When did politics become so infused into the issue of conservation? Yes, Richard Nixon’s Republican administration kick-started the Environmental Decade in the 1970’s and helped spawn the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Clean Air Act (CAA) amendments of 1970 and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). President Nixon was a tree-hugger but should we hold that against all Republicans?

There was a great article posted in the NYTimes.com about The Climate and Energy Project and how six towns in Kansas rallied around an effort to consume fewer resources and push for renewable energy. Their motivation was not political nor was it about melting polar ice caps or greenhouse gas emissions; according to the article, their motivation was born out of thrift, patriotism, spiritual conviction and economic prosperity. Lessen our dependence on foreign oil and respect God’s earth is basically it. So, what were the results? Over the life of the program which ended in the spring of 2010, the towns reduced energy consumption by 5% when a 1.5% reduction is considered significant.

Sorry Al Gore, Greenzo and Copenhagen – the answer to reducing consumption and finding renewable energy sources may not come from a “shock and awe” message but from efforts that are truly grassroots and definitely not politicized.

Now I do have one last question for the people in these participating Kansas towns – what about all those cool hemp based, peace-sign covered clothing that announces how environmentally aware you are; please tell me you are not giving that all up too. Everyone knows that it’s the best part of being truly green.

[Answer to Who’s More Jubbling – Nixon or Gore? Who Cares.]

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Engine Idle No More Thanks To Micro Hybrid Technology And Micro Hybrid Conversions

Drive a hybrid vehicle and one of the first things you’ll notice is the start/stop feature of the technology. At any intersection or stop light, the engine automatically shuts off and your first reaction might be to restart it. But it’s not necessary because you’re idling with the engine off, running off of the same battery that will propel your vehicle when the light turns green. It’s the start-stop (or stop-start) that is the key component of all hybrids and responsible for reducing CO2 emissions by up to 20% and increasing fuel economy by 5-10%. Adding this feature to your existing vehicle through a micro hybrid conversion might be only 1-2 years away.

From green.autoblog.com

From green.autoblog.com

For city drivers, the micro hybrids start-stop feature has the obvious advantage of improved fuel economy. In addition, the reduction in CO2 emissions and the improved air quality will have a positive effect on city residents.

Micro hybrids are already popular outside of the US and the technology has been implemented into mass-produced cars since 2004. It’s estimated that half of the new cars sold in Europe by 2012 will be start-stop featured micro hybrids. Automakers, including Peugeot/Citroen, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, incorporate micro hybrid technology into their vehicles at the manufacturing stage using start-stop technology from companies like Valeo. But why hasn’t this taken off in the US?

Micro hybrid adoption in the US has been slow and definitely hampered by the EPA’s refusal to credit automakers for installing the CO2 reducing, fuel saving technology. Why else would automakers like Honda, Toyota and BMW build cars with the micro hybrid feature and not sell them in the US? Because the option costs up to $500 more and the EPA’s city driving MPG tests’ only includes one full-stop that will not show any significant gain, a .1 – .2 MPG improvement, by using start-stop technology.

That brings us back to the conversion. According to an article in The Daily Green, new high-performance battery technology from companies like PowerGenix will allow car owners to retrofit their existing vehicles with micro hybrid technology for about $500. From The Daily Green:

About $150 to $200 of the cost of the system is a larger battery to handle the larger load from many thousands of engine starts and restarts. Also necessary is a relatively straightforward belt-integrated starter/generator to replace the alternator.

Whatever way we get there, adding micro hybrid technology to currently owned vehicles seems like a cinch with or without the EPA recognizing the savings to fuel and reduction of CO2 emissions. We’ll post an update on Jubbling.com regarding micro hybrid conversion providers.

And if you are looking at purchasing a new vehicle, you should definitely consider one with micro hybrid technology. The benefits more than likely will not be reflected in the MPG ratings or realized during highway driving but will play out through reduced fuel consumption and emissions.

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US Agencies Toughen Up Energy Star Standards After Embarrassing Lapses

This article originally appeared at BusinessGreen.com, and is reprinted with permission.

From April 16, 2010 – James Murray, BusinessGreen.com – Undercover investigators gain Energy Star accreditation for phony gas-powered alarm clock.

The US Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy this week announced emergency measures to tighten the procedures governing the award of Energy Star certification after undercover investigators revealed the current system was so flawed that made up products were able to attain accreditation.

Energy StarAccording to a report released late last month, investigators with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) were able to obtain Energy Star accreditation for 15 out of 20 fake products that they submitted under the energy efficiency labeling scheme.

The phony products included a gas-powered alarm clock and a “room air cleaner “, which was displayed in mocked up photos showing an electric space heater with a feather duster attached to it.

The GAO report, which was commissioned by Republican Senator Susan Collins, said the practice of approving products based on energy savings data presented by manufacturers themselves left the scheme “vulnerable to fraud and abuse”.

The agencies responsible for the scheme moved this week to address the issue, announcing that effective immediately all manufacturers applying for Energy Star certification would have to submit complete lab reports and results for review and approval by EPA prior to labeling.

The tightened procedure replaces the previous automated approval process that would dish out certification to any product that appeared to meet the necessary criteria.

Gina McCarthy, EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, said the new rules would help to restore confidence in the scheme. “The safeguards we’re putting into effect are essential for the millions of consumers who rely on Energy Star products to help save energy, money and the environment,” she said.

The EPA added that the approval process would be further tightened at the end of the year when new rules will be introduced requiring all manufacturers to submit test results from an approved, accredited lab for any product seeking the Energy Star label.

However, it remains to be seen if the crack down will help restore the scheme’s badly bruised credibility.

The Energy Star scheme covers a huge range of products, including white goods, computers and building materials, and is meant to promote products that are between 10 and 25 per cent more efficient than minimum federal standards.

But it has been widely criticized over the years for failing to adequately police the scheme and update standards as technologies improve – a scenario that in some cases has seen Energy Star labels carried by virtually every product in a market.

The EPA launched a crack down on products that should not be carrying the label at the start of the year, claiming its first victim when LG was ordered to stop using the label on a number of fridges that failed to meet required energy efficiency standards in independent tests.

But the reforms did not come quick enough to halt the latest embarrassing revelations and the EPA is likely to require much more widespread testing if it wants to restore confidence in the scheme.

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