Free biodiesel deliveries are now available for Ashland residents through a collaboration between Medford Fuel, Rising Phoenix Biofuels and local restaurants.

Free biodiesel deliveries are now available for Ashland residents through a collaboration between Medford Fuel, Rising Phoenix Biofuels and local restaurants.

"Until now, the people of Ashland had to drive to Phoenix or get a card lock account with Pacific Pride to use local biodiesel," said David Tourzan, Rising Phoenix manager. The deliveries used to be about $65 per hour.

The recycled biodiesel can fuel cars, farm equipment, home heating systems and all diesel machinery, at a price of $2.99 a gallon, delivery included, according to Tourzan.

"We decided to do this because we had a terrible year, we lost half of our sales," said Tourzan. "If prices are the major factor, we are just going to cut the prices."

Phoenix Organics, an eco-building, garden and farm center, is the first regular customer of this new offer.

"It works more efficiently in our vehicles and is easier for maintenance," said Abraham Harris, Phoenix Organics general manager. "For us it is more cost effective than regular fuel. It is a good green alternative."

After eating at participating restaurants, customers' food waste is being used to clean the air and water, and collection companies buy the used cooking oil at a competitive rate, to convert it into biodiesel that is then sold at the Rising Phoenix station at I-5 Exit 24 and at Medford Fuel at I-5 Exit 19.

Customers can get 10 cents off per gallon if they go to those restaurants or go online at www.oregonb99.com and print a coupon.

With a small deposit, 55 gallon drums and 250 gallon totes are available. Call 324-6695 for ordering deliveries and information. Card lock account applications are available via Medford Fuel, the Rogue Valley's oldest family-owned fuel companies, by calling them at 773-7311.

"This investment in domestic fuels keeps all our dollars within our local economy," said Tourzan. "It's better to invest in your local community than to invest overseas in foreign dictatorships."

Moreover, Tourzan encourages in the press release "fleets and municipalities to make the switch to low biodiesel blends before the state mandate requires it in 2009".

The City of Ashland is not interested in biodiesel at this time.

"We tried biodiesel a few years ago and we had more problems with our kind of engines," said Mike Morrison, maintenance supervisor of the City. "Maintenance was a lot more expensive. Firefighters and the hospital need something that they can trust at 100 percent."

Whether or not free deliveries find clients among Ashland residents, Rising Phoenix and Medford Fuel will eventually extend the free deliveries service to the whole Rogue Valley, Tourzan said.