This has been a tough year for DieselGreen and our customers. We’ve seen the price of vegetable oil used to make biodiesel go up by $1.00 and watched as Congress tried to re-enact the $1.00 per gallon tax credit that is currently tied to the “jobs bill”. Also, as some of you know, I outsourced our oil collection to a third party from south of San Antonio late last year. I did this for a number of mostly personal reasons, but the side effect is that our pricing has, since then, been “at the market” rather than being based on our costs plus markup. Because of the unfortunate issues with oil pricing and the tax credit, this led to fuel at the pump as high as $4.95 per gallon.
As of July 1, I took back over the oil collection and severed the relationship with the company I was outsourcing to. This means we are collecting oil in house again, and after jumping through some legal hoops, will be able to offer product that is made from our own collected oil. This will take 2-3 months to be fully realized, as we collect oil weekly but only have fuel produced periodically. In the meantime, we have found a cheaper source of biodiesel that has lowered the price by about 75 cents per gallon, getting us down toward the $4 mark. With the $1 tax credit coming back eventually, our fuel price will be down in the $3 range again.
However, at this time, it is NOT our fuel being sold at Ecowise. There is an unfortunate situation that I need to make you all aware of. I severed the relationship with the oil collection company because they left me short almost $20,000 on the bank loans they had agreed to assume. I have run DieselGreen for almost five years for no pay, but have invested considerably in the business – so this really hurt. Also, this entity has now taken advantage of the retail fuel pricing situation to go around me to Ecowise and sell them fuel. This company is not licensed to sell fuel, has no track record of fuel quality or customer service, and is putting YOU at risk. I have all the legal information to back these statements up, and will be aggressively defending my business and customer relationships.
I am working to restore our standing with Ecowise, bring the price down, and get us back on track. It is hard to see someone try to steal my business after all the hard work and dedication I have put into it. It is hard to see a trusted partner go to a slightly cheaper product without regard to all the things I feel so strongly about. I am supportive of competition, when done fairly and above board; but I cannot sit back and watch someone destroy what I’ve worked so hard to help build. But just like my former business partner turned in a couple of guys collecting and selling oil without a license when they came in illegally and undercut our pricing, I will defend our brand and, more importantly, the quality of fuel that gets sold and used in Austin.
Let me be clear – DieselGreen does not have a retail fuel pump anywhere in Austin or elsewhere. EVERY call that comes in for retail sales go to Ecowise. We offer bulk fuel to a handful of fleet customers with their own equipment, and deliver 500-1000 gallons at a time. So losing this relationship would be a mortal blow to our business.
I will also mention that due to the very high prices from Pacific Biodiesel, our longtime supplier of fuel, our most recent load of fuel came from animal fat biodiesel. While this is not my preferred feedstock, it is a waste material that exists whether we use it or not, and it has a higher cetane rating than diesel, and a higher oxidative stability than fuel from WVO. So in the heat of the summer, it makes great fuel. That being said, if WVO-made biodiesel were available at a better price, I would use it. Once we get our own oil produced into biodiesel again, you can be sure the fuel we sell (and hopefully through Ecowise) will come from used oil collected in the Austin area.
Thank you all for your support, and I look forward to many years of offering fuel in Austin. Please contact me with ANY questions or concerns.