Oct. 1 IRS Deadline Passes, Indian Automaker Prepares for US Debut

By Ron Kotrba | October 14, 2009
The Internal Revenue Service's Oct. 1 deadline for producers to pass the Cold Soak Filtration Test in order to continue receiving the federal blenders credit came and went without much interruption or public comment. The original deadline was April 1, but the IRS extended it for six months, presumably to give those who could not meet the new demand the opportunity to make changes to their processes in order to pass cold soak filtration.

Although public discussion was scarce regarding the deadline, I have received a lot of calls and emails from biodiesel producers on the status of the new version of the cold soak test method, ASTM D7501. Several of these inquiries were about whether the new version would be in effect before the Oct. 1 deadline came. I was doubtful then, but now it is clear the answer is "no." As I have written about copiously throughout the past year, most producers do not care for the current cold soak test-it's friendlier toward biodiesel made from some feedstocks than to others, it's not very repeatable or reproducible.

The new method is expected to be a better test all around. It was designed to have different conditions for biodiesels that change states of matter during the chill, leveling the playing field, so to speak. Biodiesel that turns solid will be given extra time during the warm-up phase. Also, the new test method calls for warming up the samples to 25 Celsius to make a uniform fuel without isolated congealment.

My sources tell me progress is being made and the approval process is underway, and if anything is holding it up, it would be that there are certain ASTM protocols that must be followed. This means steps such as establishing "equivalency" between D7501 and the current cold soak method.

On a separate topic, one of India's largest automakers, Mahindra GV, will be tapping into the U.S. light-duty truck market with two diesel models that are expected to be available stateside in February. The exclusive importer and distributor for Mahindra, Global Vehicles USA in Alpharetta, Ga, said it has between 300 and 400 retail outlets agreeing to sell the TR20 and TR40 trucks. Both models are four-wheel drive with four-cylinder common rail diesel engines. Mahindra reported this fall that it had one of the company's largest sales month ever in the domestic Indian market, rising to 12.1 percent to a record 27,431 vehicle sales. I think this is great news for U.S. consumers, and for the continued dieselization of America. Eventually Americans will realize that the diesel vehicles of today are not the diesels of yesterday.
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