Norwich general store offers biodiesel fuel

05/03/06 12:00AM By Betty Smith-Mastaler
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(Host) It was out with the old and in with the new this afternoon at Dan and Whit's General Store in Norwich.

VPR's Betty Smith was there.

(Man) "Shall I pump her up here, George?"
(George) "Sure, help yourself."
(Man) "All right, thanks."

(Sound of biodiesel pump)


(Smith) Owner George Fraser's enthusiasm wasn't dampened by the rain this afternoon as he tied green and white balloons to the old kerosene pump out front. It's just been modified to provide B20, an alternative fuel blending 20% biodiesel with 80% petroleum diesel.

(Fraser) "Well, we're trying some of this Bio-20. There were some requests and the town energy committee was interested in promoting something other than just plain gasoline. We've done well with the five-gallon containers of the 100% bio. But we wanted to give it a try ."

(Smith) Ames Byrd was one of the first to pull in for a fill up. He's a member of the Norwich Energy committee and encouraged Dan and Whit's decision to add bio-diesel to their service.

(Byrd) "I'm here to support bio-diesel here at Dan and Whit's. B20 runs on any unmodified diesel engine. In town here we've got the town trucks running on B20. That's part of the town budget as of this year. For me the value of the bio-diesel is in reducing global warming emissions, so that's why I think it's a positive thing for everyone."

(Smith) So far Dan and Whit's is one of only a handful of stores in Vermont to offer B20, but they may not be for long. Thanks to recent gas price increases, at $3.21-a-gallon B20 is becoming competitive with regular diesel fuel, and gas mileage is roughly comparable. Still, it did mean that in Norwich at least, the old kerosene pump is now a thing of the past.

For Vermont Public Radio, I'm Betty Smith.
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