Traders fueling profits

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by Ed Zwirn
Originally published in the NY Post – Aug 15, 2010. Read the original article here…

BIODIESEL Yo no soy.

The only green being made in the “green energy” biodiesel market appears to be by traders who never touch the fuel.
Biodiesel is a fuel mixture of soy and diesel, which according to federal officials burns cleaner than straight diesel fuel in cars and trucks.

The world economic slowdown and the expiration of a $1-a-gallon federal excise tax exemption at the end of last year have combined to hit the industry hard.

Experts estimate that no more than 300 million gallons of fuel will be produced in 2010, down from the peak of 700 million in 2008.
Despite this production plunge, federal renewable fuel standards require the blending of 650 million gallons of biodiesel into the nation’s fuel mix this year.

But without the tax credit, and with energy traders driving up the futures market in biodiesel production, fuel producers trying to fill the federal quota are finding no buyers for their product.

Biodiesel produced in Idaho currently fetches about $3.20 a gallon, while diesel produced by nonrenewable petroleum unloaded in New York Harbor goes for $2.20. That means biodiesel blenders are losing money, though traders are not.

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About Ed Zwirn

Ed Zwirn is a journalist/editorial professional with a focus on financial trends and practices. He lives out in the woods in Bethel, NY, not far from where the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival was held in 1969. As a financial writer, his work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, CFO Magazine and news services including Dow Jones Newswires and Informa Global Markets. Ed also spent three years in Ukraine, where he ran an English-language news service. He now divides his time between his freelance journalism, song and poetry writing, and barbequing and lawn-mowing on his 2.5 acre property.