Manitoba to require biodiesel blends Nov. 1

| 9/15/2009

Starting Nov. 1, the province of Manitoba will require a 2 percent blend of biodiesel in diesel fuel sold for trucking and agriculture.

First proposed in 2007, the biodiesel mandate amounts to a pooled average for the province which allows the amount to fluctuate depending on location and time of year. Summer production may contain up to 5 percent biodiesel, while winter production could contain down to 0 percent.

The pooled average and the likelihood of fluctuation have the Manitoba Trucking Association concerned.

MTA General Manager Bob Dolyniuk said biodiesel blends up to 5 percent are not a cause for concern; however, the province's eventual goal of mandating a 5 percent blend could lead to fluctuations up to 10 percent

“For those reasons, we certainly feel that the province should be ensuring the pumps are marked and people know what they’re buying,” Dolyniuk told Land Line on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

The issues don’t stop there. The MTA has urged the province to extend fuel-tax and sales-tax exemptions on biodiesel that benefit the consumer. Manitoba chose not to extend the exemptions, but instead awarded 14 cents per liter in grants to the producers.

“The question one would ask is, where is that money coming from?” Dolyniuk asks, adding that it has to come from tax dollars that should go toward other things.

Dolyniuk said the MTA is also concerned that a biodiesel mandate does not apply to railways.

Lastly, the biodiesel mandate needs a quality assurance program to ensure truck engines don’t gel up.

Manitoba is the first Canadian province to implement a 2 percent biodiesel mandate.

Jim Rondeau, provincial minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mines said the mandate will be equivalent to taking 11,000 cars off the road annually.

The province is hoping to increase the mandate to 5 percent biodiesel, Rondeau said, once there is a Canadian federal standard in place.

– By David Tanner, staff writer