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Houseman talks about renewable fuels

By Staff | Jun 18, 2010

If renewable fuels are the future of Iowa – and the nation – then Estherville Rotarians Thursday got a good look into a crystal ball.

Rick Houseman of Houseman Oil/Riverside Sinclair told Rotarians how his family owned company has been at the forefront of offering renewable fuels to Estherville area residents for over 30 years.

Bunny Houseman, father of Rick and Bob, who run the company today, started Houseman Oil Company in 1946. Riverside Sinclair, one of a few remaining full-service stations in the region, opened in 1971.

Houseman Oil Company and Riverside Sinclair pioneered offering gasohol to the public in 1978, one of the first 15 service stations in Iowa to do so. In 2006 the company started selling E-85.

As expected, Rotarians had a lot of questions about renewable fuels, particularly from a consumer standpoint.

Consumers pay less for gasohol than regular unleaded since the wholesale cost reflects the retail price.

Houseman did note a negative impact by the failure of federal lawmakers to extend the biodiesel tax credit. He said a number of biodiesel plants have shut down since the credit ended.

Houseman handed Rotarians some information about biodiesel:

n Biodiesel has similar fuel consumption, horsepower, torque and haulage rates as regular diesel fuel.

n Biodiesel has superior lubricity.

n Biodiesel has no sulfur emissions.

n Biodiesel is the safest fuel to use, handle and store and it’s biodegradable.

n Biodiesel is the moss energy-efficient fuel to produce. For every one unit of fossil fuel energy used to produce a gallon of biodiesel, three and a half units of energy are generated.

Biodiesel blends typically range from B2 (2 percent biodiesel and 98 percent petroleum diesel) to B20 (20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel). Special applications such as cruise ships and mining equipment, use up to B99.