BioFuel Oasis

Not a Gas Station Zine

Not a Gas Station:

A History of the BioFuel Oasis and How to Create Your Own Biodiesel Filling Station”

By Jennifer Radtke

110 pages, $15 plus $3 shipping

The book is a personal account of co-founding the BioFuel Oasis, a biodiesel filling station in Berkeley, California. It combines the entertaining stories of starting the Oasis with the practical information to start your own station.

Use the button below to buy a book from Jennifer’s Paypal account.

Table of Contents: Page #:

Introduction 1

Create, Don’t Replicate 1

PART I: Biodiesel Basics 6

Why Diesel Engines Rock! 6

Starting a Diesel Engine 7

Diesels in the EU 7

Running Your Car on Biodiesel or Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO) 7

Benefits of Biodiesel 9

Cautions of Using Biodiesel in Your Vehicle 11

Overview and Chemistry of Making Biodiesel 12

Main Reaction 12

Side Reactions – Making Soap 13

Cleaning the Biodiesel 14

Homebrewing Resources 14

PART II: How I Fell in Love with Biodiesel 15

Biodiesel – Nectar of the Gods 15

Baptism by Oil 16

March 18 Speech 16

Not at a Gas Station! 18

Birthing the Business 19

A Biodiesel Fairytale 19

Journey to the Emerald City of Ames, Iowa, August 2003 20

PART III: Beginnings: Excitement, Idealism, and the Best Laid Plans 22

Timeline of the Oasis 22

The BioFuel Oasis Vision 22

The Anti-Gas Station 22

Integrity 23

Community 23

Short Concentrated Hours 23

Above Board 24

Creating Your Own Vision 24

Questions to Ask Yourself When Visioning 25

Cooperation, Not Competition 26

Location, Location, Location – Summer 2003 26

Business Type 28

Sole Proprietor 28

Partnership 29

Corporation 29

Non-Profits 30

Get Professional Advice 31

Business Plan 31

Day-to-Day Operation 32

Your Market 33

Financials 34

Just Do It 34

Funding 35

The Nitty Gritty Paperwork 37

Employer Identification Number from IRS 37

Fictitious Business Name (FBN) Statement 37

Credit Union/Bank Account 37

Seller’s Permit 37

Web Domain 38

Logo 39

General Liability Insurance 40

California DMS Variance

(Department of Measurement Standards of the Department of Food & Agriculture) 41

PART IV: Red Tape: Fall 2003 to FALL 2004 42

Zoning – August 2003 42

Opening – December 9, 2003 43

Building Permit – January 2004 44

Hazardous Materials/Toxics Department 44

Fire Department 45

Business License 46

Weights & Measures 46

Tips for Understanding and Working with Bureaucrats 47

Our Pump Grand Opening – November 13, 2004 48

PART V: Running the Business 51

A Day at the Oasis 51

“Marketing” 52

The Press 54

Biodiesel: Our #1 Product 56

Why We Don’t Make the Fuel We Sell 56

Fuel Procurement 57

Where to Get Fuel From 57

Fuel Quality 58

Making Biodiesel Issues 59

Storing/Handling Biodiesel Issues 60

Testing Biodiesel 61

Frozen Biodiesel, No Thanks 62

How do You Check a Delivery for Gelling? 63

Running Out of Fuel 63

Lessons Learned Around Fuel Procurement 64

Merchandise 67

Burn-out 68

Our Customers 69

Becoming a Women Owned & Worker Owned Cooperative 69

No Bosses! 70

Making Decisions, or How to Have Productive Meetings 71

Why Are We All Women? 72

More New Members 72

Getting Along 73

Taxes on Biodiesel 75

Accounting/Financial 78

Cash Register 78

Monthly Profit & Loss Statements 80

QuickBooks 81

Balance Sheets 82

Budgets/Planning 82

Income Taxes 83

Payroll service 83

Getting Rich 83

Our Truck 84

Big Spill Disasters 86

Two Lessons Finally Learned 87

“Change the Fuel Filter” Mantra 87

$150 Consultants 88

Fuel Filter Changing Workshops 89

Event Series: Biodiesel, Driving Still Sucks 90

Future Dreams 92

Afterword 93

Appendix A: Business Startup Checklist 95

Appendix B: Equipment (including Diagrams) 97

Tanks 97

Containment 99

Plumbing 100

Public Pump 100

1 Micron Filters 101

Biodiesel Handling, Storage, and Compatibility 102

Plumbing for Beginners 102

Proper Storage of Biodiesel 103

Appendix C: Fuel Filter Changing Instructions 105

Volkswagen TDIs (1996-2006) Fuel Filter Changing Instructions 105

Mercedes (1978-1985) Fuel Filter Changing Instructions 108