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Eastern North Carolina has little access to biofuels

By Staff
More farm equipment than cars in area make use of biofuels
By DAN PARSONS
Staff Writer
Although many commodities from which biofuels are made are grown in eastern North Carolina, area residents wanting to make their cars go green will find it inconvenient at best to fill up their vehicles’ fuel tanks.
There are about two dozen locations in the state that offer biodiesel. Beaufort County has two of them — Clark Oil Company in Belhaven and Potter Oil and Tire Company in Aurora. They don’t sell the fuel for use in automobiles.
Shane Hubers, an employee with Clark Oil Company, said the biodiesel the company sells is for farm use only.
Biodiesel is a clean-burning alternative fuel produced from domestic, renewable resources. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend, according to the National Biodiesel Board’s Web site. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications, according to the Web site.
Ethanol, another biofuel made primarily from corn, is scheduled to become a permanent element of Beaufort County’s economy. Although the project has been delayed about two years, Agri-Ethanol Products is planning to construct a 108-million-gallon ethanol plant in Aurora.
Plant construction has been delayed because of design issues and construction-material costs, according to Thompson. When completed, the plant will add $185 million to the county’s tax base and benefit all of eastern North Carolina by purchasing an estimated 40 million bushels of corn, he said.
Ethanol is a high-octane, clean-burning renewable fuel, according to the American Coalition for Ethanol’s Web site. It is most commonly sold in E10 form, a 10-percent blend of ethanol and gasoline that can be used in any automobile. It is also available in E85 form, an 85-percent ethanol blend for use in Flex Fuel vehicles, according to the Web site.
There are 12 retail sellers of E85 in North Carolina, with the nearest retail outlets in Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Durham, according to the Web site.