California makes home biodiesel production cheaper

By Kris Bevill | September 16, 2008
Web exclusive posted Oct. 8, 2008 at 10:36 a.m. CST

A bill signed into law by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sept. 26 lowers the fee that private individuals must pay before being lawfully able to collect yellow grease from institutions for the purpose of producing biodiesel.

California law requires that anyone collecting waste oil for biodiesel production must register first with the state's agriculture department. The legislation reduced the $300 registration fee by 75 percent for private users.

Assemblyman Anthony Adams, R-Hesperia, Calif., introduced Bill 1846 earlier this year, proposing to eliminate all fees charged to individuals who collect waste oil for biodiesel production. He told Biodiesel Magazine that the fee for private individuals to obtain such a license in California was only $75 until early this year when the state legislature voted to raise the fee to $300. That was what spurred him to submit the bill, and he's pleased the fee has been lowered to its original cost. "We've got these small-scale users who are using [yellow grease] for personal use and they're trying to do what they believe to be environmentally-conscious work and they're being smacked around by the state," he said.

Adams was prompted to submit the bill by a local group of private individuals known as the "Good Earth Grease Haulers" who use waste vegetable oil to fuel their vehicles.

Adams doesn't think lowering the fee for individuals to collect waste oil will affect California's commercial biodiesel industry. Any negative impact would have happened already, he said, before the fee was raised by the state less than a year ago. By encouraging individuals to make their own biodiesel, public awareness of biodiesel will be increased, he added.

Adams also believes that a cheaper registration fee will lessen instances of grease theft. He views the bill as a stop-gap measure until technology catches up and the industry can supply more fuel to consumers. Until then, Adams is trying to ensure that those who want to and are capable of making their own biodiesel can do so "in an affordable way," he said. "It makes no sense to beat down someone who's trying to help the environment."

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