I am going to put on my investigative reporter hat this week and see what I can find out about where the gasoline I buy at our local gas stations comes from. According to our rules we'd have to use used cooking oil or bio-fuel from Canola Oil produced in Eastern Washington. This hasn't been an option for us so we've gone to one vehicle as a compromise to limit our consumption of fuel, but we're still going to gas stations and pumping gas of unknown origins into our tank.
I'm wondering if we can't do better. Is there any way for us to make a more meaningful decision in where we buy our gas and who we buy it from? Are there any independent gas stations left out there that might feed the local economy more than the national brands? Is it possible for us to at least buy fuel that comes from domestic sources? If people were presented with this as an option would they be willing to pay more for it? I probably would.
My only data point so far is that there is a fuel pipeline (Yellowstone Pipeline operated by Conoco) that runs from Billings Montana, through the heart of the Spokane Valley, all the way to Moses Lake. I found this out by riding my bike through the industrial district of Spokane Valley on my way to the Master Food Preserver class. Here's a picture of the pipeline.
You might notice on the map that there is a big gap in the pipeline over the Flathead Indian Reservation. I guess the tribe didn't like the 3.5 million gallons of fuel that spilled during it's use. They now truck the fuel over that section. I'm guessing there is a refinery in Billings and the oil for refining is coming from coal sands in Canada, which are being transported by the blue crude oil pipeline indicated on the map - but just a guess. So does that mean if we buy fuel from Conoco that it has Canadian origin?
Does anyone know anything about this subject? Have any insights on making choices about fuel consumption? Any help would be appreciated.