Congress nod on biodiesel bill would speed up patronage

The optimism was raised recently as the company’s district office here disclosed that more Filipino motorists have been attuned to using bio-diesel, inspiring Filipino-owned oil distributor, Flying V, to put up new stations in Mindanao and elsewhere and opening up another market for local coconut farmers.

Flying V President, Ramon Villavicencio, said lawmakers have been indicating that they would pass the bill despite the objections and resistance put up by those in the industry opposing the law that would require all oil dealers to dispense the coco-methyl ester (CME), or biodiesel.

“Maybe, they [lawmakers] would try to pass it by September, but it would be this year,” Villavicencio said.

Edwin Clapano, Flying V district manager for Visayas and Mindanao, said the motorists’ public acceptance to “blended diesel”, or the bio-diesel, which is already blended with was “relatively fast than what we expected in our timetable.”

“Let us say, what we are supposed to achieve next year, we achieved it this year in the current utility in blended diesel,” Clapano said, saying that all diesel users going into their four pump stations in the city and the Davao region would ask for the blended diesel.

“There are no more questions asked or inquiries for background on the biodiesel program. They just stop at the blended diesel pump,” he said.

Clapano said that vehicle owners here immediately began using, after the company introduced it here in November last year. Three months later, motorists here already consumed an average of 120,000 to 150,000 liters of CME monthly. By June this year, “we achieved the 100 percent usage of the biodiesel,” he said.

Each Flying V station in the city has an average supply of 50,000 liters of all types of petroleum products that would usually be used up in at least three days. Industry estimates would place diesel at 65 percent of the total supply.

He described the biodiesel utility as “overwhelming” that it partially helped Flying V to decide to put more stations elsewhere. The company has already begun its expansion program in Mindanao alone of ten more pump stations. These would be located in mostly rural areas “to bring biodiesel right where the motorists are travelling or based”.

These would be found in Pantukan, Compostela Valley, Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte, Sta. Maria in Davao del Sur, Bukidnon, Alamada and Tulunan towns in North Cotabato, Surallah in South Cotabato, General Santos City problacion and in Ecoland and in Calinan in Davao City.

Villavicencio said the company has 120 stations nationwide and only about 80 have 100 percent public acceptance on blended diesel. He said the rest of the Flying V stations would follow soon.

The bulk of the Flying V stations are located in the national capital region and scattered in the rest of Luzon, following by Mindanao, with 12, excluding the ten expansion this year, and Visayas with eight.

Clapano said that the fast patronage for biodiesel would be good news for the coconut industry, of which Mindanao, especially the Davao Region, is a main producer.

He said the reluctance of the three major oil companies to provide blended diesel would be compensated by the participation of some local governments in environmental advocacies, like the World Bank-initiated Clean Cities Program, which promotes use of environment-friendly renewable energy sources like the CME and the natural gas.

Clapano said Flying V is still the lone provider of biodiesel in the market, but he believes that Davao City, a member of the Clean Cities Program, has helped in the patronage of biodiesel. He said the Flying V’s biggest users of biodiesel are city government vehicles.

Biodiesel had been proven to promote better combustion leading to reduced smoke emission and increased mileage of ordinary diesel by as much as 15 percent. This would lead to longer life of the engine due to a lessened wear and tear action.

Diesel is mixed with only one percent of the CME. (MindaNews)