Fuel: An Influential Factor
After the spike in oil and gas prices in 2008, many parties began looking for alternative forms of fuel. Research on biofuel had begun long before 2008, but consumers finally felt the pinch at the pump and called for other forms of energy. Since the peak prices in 2008, the price of crude oil has fallen drastically but is projected to increase to $100 per barrel by 2018.
As seen in the past, when the price of oil rises, the price of gas is often soon to follow. If the projections are correct and oil prices do rise, consumers will again alter their behavior to save money. Many people began riding a bicycle or the bus to work to keep from paying for gas. Others began carpooling or looking into hybrid and "smart" cars. This will likely continue in the future if gas prices continue to rise and the government focuses on more environmentally-friendly alternatives.
Research on biofuels has also increased as prices rose and the environment was on the forefront of public policy. If the use of biofuel in the United States surpassed that of gasoline, the price of oil rising would not have as large of an impact on consumers. However, the price of biofuel would have to be significantly less than that of gasoline to make consumers switch. "Significantly less" may be defined differently by different consumers.
BioSAT has taken today's fuel concerns into consideration when creating the BioSAT model. BioSAT utilized up-to-date diesel price data (U.S. Energy Information Administration) when computing the costs of biomass usage. The Fuel Reduction Cost Simulator (FRCS) spreadsheet application is used to estimate cost for fuel reduction treatements.
The U.S. Forest Service reguarly updates the FRCS Models and User Guide for the newest version of FRCS and additional information click here
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