Envision pulling into a gas station and having the option to get a car wash with your order, use your reward points, or offset your car emissions for an additional 10 cents a gallon.
Society may not have reached that point yet, but that day is likely to come sooner rather than later.
“I imagine it is probably going to be something that’s pretty standard in the future,” said Joshua Rode, General Manager of Marketing of Shipley Energy in York. “We have made that pitch to a couple of our larger customers and there are talks of rolling that out in the near future.”
A locally owned provider of home heating energy, including electricity, gas, oil, and propane, Shipley Energy was founded in 1929. The company also installs and services air conditioning equipment, heating, and ventilation.
Last year, Shipley Energy launched Net Zero Carbon Diesel Fuel, an innovative way for consumers and companies to reduce their carbon footprint and reach sustainability levels. Rode said support for this came about when environmental sustainability and stewardship goals started to hit the mainstream as one of the top priorities for organizations across the nation, and corporate America started making sustainability goals for themselves and began asking suppliers to do the same.
Net Zero Carbon Diesel Fuel is a way to reduce the emissions impact of diesel fuel, and do it in a way that is effective, inexpensive, and quick.
“One way we can get to those goals and help customers get to those goals is by offsetting the carbon that a gallon of fuel produces,” said Rode. “We’re still selling the same gallon of diesel fuel, but we’re giving our customers the option of 10 cents a gallon to offset the carbon that gallon of fuel will produce once it’s burned.
“We’re essentially offering a net zero carbon product while still utilizing the infrastructure we have in this country and in this state for the traditional fuels industry, which is pretty robust.”
In essence, combining two different assets, two different commodities, a carbon offset and a gallon of fuel and creating something new that hasn’t been done or hasn’t taken off yet in the industry.
Carbon offset is a subsidy for a project that takes carbon out of the atmosphere or reduces carbon emissions. It measures the amount of CO2 prevented or removed from entering the air. While one gallon of diesel fuel burned emits 22.16 pounds of CO2, one carbon credit offsets 99.5 gallons of diesel fuel burned.
Rode said Shipley Energy was looking into doing carbon offset themselves but acquired the solution in December 2021. The official first year of launch was in 2022. Shipley Energy acquired 1,709 carbon offsets, which reduced about 3.76 million pounds of carbon dioxide equivalence, or the equivalent emission of 4.5 million vehicle miles travelled.
Net Zero Carbon Diesel Fuel works in the following manner:
- Carbon emissions by a business’s diesel fuel usage is calculated.
- Certified carbon offsets are purchased to match the business’s emissions.
- The offsets are retired.
Rode said that if one is voluntarily buying offset credits as Shipley is, they’re funding a landfill, wind power, or improved forest management project that is taking carbon out of the atmosphere or replacing practices or production that used to be carbon intensive to something less carbon intensive.
“Essentially it’s a voluntary subsidy from a not so renewable industry like diesel and gas, to help lift projects that are more sustainable and do help offset the carbon intensity of our industry,” said Rode. “Another option for the future is for Shipley to invest in its own projects that would offset carbon and take out the need for us to buy third-party carbon offsets. But we haven’t gotten to that point yet.”
The past year has seen carbon credits double in price, meaning they’re becoming a very popular form of offsetting carbon footprint. The question is, will costs keep rising for these projects which incentivize new projects to be built and bigger scale projects to be built? Rode remarked that the whole point of the carbon market is to incentivize the building of newer, bigger, better projects.
“Right now, we’re seeing a lot of the US projects become more expensive, and projects in Central and South America, China, and elsewhere become cheaper options,” said Rode. “We’re committed to trying to keep our offsets in the Americas, specifically US-based carbon offsets, if we can. If that becomes price prohibitive, we’re looking for projects in Central and South America that are energy-based.”
Rode noted that the credits Shipley is purchasing are verified by the Climate Action Reserve, which is a widely accepted standard in the industry.
“One thing about carbon offsets is that it’s like the wild west out there, to use an analogy,” said Rode. “You can get scammed if you’re not buying from the right entity.”
Rode said Shipley Energy’s launch of Net Zero Carbon Diesel Fuel is a matter of “stepping out and doing things our competitors aren’t doing, helping our customers succeed in their endeavors, and adding to the purchasing options thar we offer to our customer base, which is pretty diverse.
“Our goal is business to business, help our wholesale and commercial customers offset their carbon footprint.”