Fast & Easy Chevron was — for a time — the only Davis service station to offer alternative fuel to the community, but then lost that distinction due to external circumstances. Well, those problems have now been solved.
The 24-hour gas station on 1601 Research Park Dr. began providing biodiesel and ethanol in 2009, with DMC Green in Stockton as a supplier. Manager Mirza Javed said on average 10 customers were filling up with biodiesel every day, and around four were with ethanol.
But in less than two years, DMC Green followed Stockton’s financial trajectory, and went bankrupt. This rendered the alternative fueling pumps of the local Chevron — along with gas stations in Woodland, Fairfield and Sacramento — inoperable.
Not only that, Javed had invested money into DMC Green’s operation, $100,000, to be used for land and equipment acquisition.
And he’s not alone if the company’s Facebook page is any indication. It has one post; “POWERING AMERICA WITH GREEN FUEL,” and one response, years later; “I invested in DMC Green, it was a fraud all along. Does anyone know where these bums are now?”
However, as of the beginning of this month, the local gas station’s pumps are once more dispensing alternative fuel. Javed explains:
“When they filed the bankruptcy, they stated that they would be leaving the items as they were. Later, the court decided the people who invested money are allowed ownership of it.
“Now, we’ve gotten all the testing done, with the Air Quality Management board, the Yolo County Health Department. … So they’re back online.”
It’s a sigh of relief on Javed’s part, who was for more than two years having to turn people away because of the situation.
“The customers were in trouble for awhile too, because we had no supplies,” he said. “I had a lot of people coming in, looking for the Flex-Fuel. … But it’s back, available for everyone.”
The local Chevron has yet to recapture all of the alternative fuel-seeking customer base, Javed added, but that’s something he hopes will improve with time. Just having the option in place for motorists who embrace greener vehicle fuels is of importance to him.
Biofuels, such as what the local Chevron offers, are fuels derived from plant matter: corn, seed and sugar cane, and other organic compounds. The basis of bio fuels being carbon neutral is that plants absorb carbon as they grow, offsetting the emissions.
The exact type of biodiesel sold at the Chevron station is called B5, which contains 5 percent biomass (biodiesel) blended with regular diesel. Low-level biodiesel blends such as B5 can be used — with exceptions — in most conventional diesel engines.
The ethanol fuel offered there is E85, which consists of 85 percent ethanol and the rest unleaded gasoline. Ethanol is a grain alcohol, produced from crops such as corn. Several automakers offer Flex-Fuel vehicles that can run on this fuel.
Corn ethanol directly emits 51 percent less greenhouse gas than gasoline does, according to a 2009 study at the University of Nebraska.
“I believe in doing everything to ensure the environment is a healthy place for everyone,” Javed said. “We have to pass it on to new generations, so we should do all we can to protect it.”
— Reach Brett Johnson at email@example.com or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett