Maui Business

Pacific Biodiesel Reduces Prices

July 19, 2016, 12:05 PM HST
* Updated July 19, 12:09 PM
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Maui County Council Vice Chair Don Guzman, who proposed the tax exemption, shows his support for the biodiesel price rollback earlier today with Kelly and Bob King, Pacific Biodiesel founders, and Councilmember Don Couch. Photo credit: Pacific Biodiesel

Maui County Council Vice Chair Don Guzman, who proposed the tax exemption, shows his support for the biodiesel price rollback earlier today with Kelly and Bob King, Pacific Biodiesel founders, and Councilmember Don Couch. Photo credit: Pacific Biodiesel

Pacific Biodiesel rolled back the retail price of its Maui pump station biodiesel by 9 cents per gallon at the beginning of July—the amount of the on-road biodiesel fuel tax Maui County eliminated from its fiscal year 2017 budget.

Previously, Maui County had increased the County Road Tax on biodiesel by 9 cents per gallon; this year the mayor’s budget requested an additional increase to 11.5 cents per gallon.

The Pacific Biodiesel team welcomed county legislators along with several customers and community biodiesel supporters as they rolled back the price of the renewable fuel to match the amount of on-road biodiesel fuel tax exempted by Maui County for the 2017 fiscal year budget. Photo credit: Pacific Biodiesel

The Pacific Biodiesel team welcomed county legislators along with several customers and community biodiesel supporters as they rolled back the price of the renewable fuel to match the amount of on-road biodiesel fuel tax exempted by Maui County for the 2017 fiscal year budget. Photo credit: Pacific Biodiesel

After reviewing the potential revenue to the Maui County budget and learning that the biodiesel gallons sold on Maui are relatively insignificant compared with the immense volumes of petroleum, Maui County Council Vice Chair Don Guzman proposed the elimination of the tax altogether.

During public testimony, Pacific Biodiesel President and Founder Bob King emphasized how eliminating the tax would send a strong message of support for renewables here in Maui and throughout the state, where other counties have ongoing tax exemptions for biodiesel.

Rick Miller, vice president of operations for Maui Disposal, talks with Pacific Biodiesel President Bob King during today’s event as one of his trucks fuels up at the Pacific Biodiesel pump in Kahului. All Maui Disposal diesel vehicles run on biodiesel. Photo credit: Pacific Biodiesel

Rick Miller, vice president of operations for Maui Disposal, talks with Pacific Biodiesel President Bob King during today’s event as one of his trucks fuels up at the Pacific Biodiesel pump in Kahului. All Maui Disposal diesel vehicles run on biodiesel. Photo credit: Pacific Biodiesel

“In Maui County, increasing the tax on biodiesel to 11.5 cents per gallon would have generated less than $50,000 in annual revenue—that’s a drop in the bucket of the county’s budget,” said Bob King. “With the effects of climate change already upon us, it’s taxing the renewable fuel solution and not the problem—petroleum emissions. Our state is committed to a renewable energy future and Maui needs to step up.”

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Pacific Biodiesel employees welcomed Council Vice Chair Don Guzman and Councilmember Don Couch along with several customers to the company’s Kahului pump for a ceremonial changing of the biodiesel prices on its price display board.

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Guests who attended the event expressed their support for biodiesel and the tax elimination, including Pacific Biodiesel customer David Sellers, a local business owner, former staff of The Nature Conservancy, and longtime biodiesel advocate.

“Biodiesel is the best thing for our environment,”Sellers said. “And the money stays here on island and helps our community. As a business owner, I like to spend money locally. I’ve been a Pacific Biodiesel supporter for years and I run biodiesel in generators, boats, trucks—you name it.

“We’re fortunate to have this as a resource here in Hawai‘i,” Sellers continued. “And anything that can be done locally to lower the price to make it more adoptable to other people is a good thing. Price doesn’t make a big difference to me personally because I’m committed to seeing it move forward and become more mainstream.

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“But for those people we’re trying to convince that this is the right thing to do, not just environmentally but also financially, today’s price rollback and Maui County’s elimination of the biodiesel tax is a huge step,” Sellers concluded. “This is what we need to be doing.”

“Immediately reducing our prices on the first day of the fiscal budget honors the support of the council and reflects the intent of the tax exemption,” said Pacific Biodiesel Vice President and Co-Founder Kelly King. “Competing against fossil fuel— arguably the most heavily subsidized industry in the world—is extremely difficult, especially now that petroleum prices are so low.

“If we as a community want to encourage renewable energy companies and renewable energy users, our lawmakers and public officials need to take supportive action,” said King. “I’m proud that we can once again partner with our County Council in the effort to make Maui part of the climate solution.”

Founded in Maui in 1995, Pacific Biodiesel established and operated the very first retail biodiesel pump in America, and for the past two decades has built a solid reputation as an industry leader while staying true to its company mission: to promote a clean, sustainable energy future through the community-based production of renewable fuels.

Learn more at www.biodiesel.com.

 

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