A promissing story over at AutoBlog, on a French owned Agri-Business starting large scale production of Bio Diesel. I'd like to see more American owned business take this leap, and I think we will. The unique oportunity we may see here, is that companies not ordinarilly associated with fuel production, can use what would be natural byproducts of their operations to help in the production of alternative fuels. Just think Anheiser Bush or Miller Beer could be filling your tank? Or how about Purina, the makers of animal feed? It's not such a stretch when you realize they have half the infrastructure in place, and it gives them a way to diversify with little risk.
The large oil companies can't be trusted to volutarilly make the switch to bio fuels, it would be like asking a crack dealer to switch to candy. So maybe what the US needs is legislation to incentivize bio fuel production and distribution. I had read recently that Ford Motor Company was lobbying in Washington. If Brazil and Sweeden can do it, why not the US?
I'm not so naieve as to believe that a sudden availability will slash our dependance on foreign oil over night. It will take years for our current vehicles to reach the end of their lives and be replaced by new ones. But with government tax breaks for owners and manufacturers to convert some older vehicles for Ethanol or E85, and the fact that Diesel vehicles require no retrofit at all. It could be possible within 10-15 years to cut our use of foreign oil by as much as 50%. It's going to be a cumulative effort of alternative fuel production and distribution, more fuel efficient powertrains, partial retrofit of existing vehicles and education of consumers.
I'm sure that E85 retrofits for older classic cars would be minimal and performance could be improved.