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On-Highway Use


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Modern Diesel Vehicles
Diesel engines are about 30 percent more efficient than gasoline engines. This means that a diesel engine of the same displacement will produce about 30 percent more horsepower or give 30 percent better fuel economy (or 30 percent less carbon dioxide emissions). Today’s diesel engines are quieter, cleaner burning and more responsive than earlier diesels. In Europe, where the cost of owning and operating a passenger vehicle is significantly higher that the U.S., diesels already account for more than 40 percent of the passenger car market. In the U.S, stringent laws adopted by California and four northeast states have slowed the introduction of diesel vehicles to the market. However, increasing fuel prices, the introduction of ultra-low sulfur diesel, and new emissions technology are making passenger diesel vehicles more attractive to customers leading to more diesel option offerings by auto manufacturers.

Biodiesel further enhances the advantages of diesel by reducing vehicle emissions. B20 – a 20 percent blend of biodiesel and conventional diesel – reduces emissions of hydrocarbons by 20 percent and carbon monoxide and particulate emissions by 12 percent. It reduces sulfur on average by 20 percent and is nontoxic and biodegradable. Biodiesel is also a domestically produced, renewable resource that contributes to the U.S. economy and independence from foreign oil.

Using Biodiesel
Biodiesel blends operate in diesel engines just like petroleum diesel. B20 works in any diesel engine, usually with no modifications to the engine or the fuel system. B20 also provides similar horsepower, torque, and mileage as diesel.

Premium Diesel
Biodiesel has become a valuable blending component with diesel fuel at low percentage blends because of biodiesel’s “premium” aspects. Pure biodiesel has high lubricity, high cetane, and a high flash point. “Low blend” can be defined as blends of 5% and below. Even low blends of biodiesel are highly effective at enhancing the lubricity of diesel fuel. The typical blend used for lubricity enhancement is 2% biodiesel mixed with 98% diesel (B2).

Several commercial “premium diesel” products have incorporated the positive benefits of biodiesel as a component of their multi-functional additive packages. These products typically claim that biodiesel serves as the carrier for the additive and delivers the lubricity properties, making up half of the total additive volume. These types of marketing messages often confuse the customer about the percentage volume of biodiesel in the finished blend. Generally, dosing rates for these types of additives is a maximum .25%. If biodiesel (methyl esters) makes up approximately half of the additive package, a customer could reasonably expect the finished blend to contain .10 - .15% biodiesel (or one-tenth of one percent).

Blends of up to 5% biodiesel are considered additive volumes. B5 meets the ASTM specification for diesel fuel, D 975. (Blends of up to B20 can meet D 975, however, as blend concentrations increase, there is a higher chance for distortion of some of the test method results which were designed for diesel fuel rather than biodiesel. Hence, all biodiesel (B100) should meet ASTM’s biodiesel standard, D 6751, prior to blending with diesel fuel at any level.)

Support for biodiesel
Hundreds of U.S. fleets, representing over 25,000 vehicles for commercial, government, utility and transit use, currently run on biodiesel blends nationwide. Biodiesel blends are also used increasingly in the farming, mining and marine industries, as well as for heating oil and electrical generation applications.

“Biofuel has far surpassed any expectations I have had on performance, efficiency, and cleanliness. At this point, I think it is far superior to any petroleum-based diesel fuel available at present. Because of the enhanced performance characteristics of biodiesel as well as the environmental benefits, there is little or no reason not to support this product -- not to mention the added benefits of not having to rely on the Middle East as a sole supplier of fuel for motor vehicles.”
Tommy Payne, Denton, TX

Biodiesel is “excellent.” I “have had no problems and the operators like the fuel.” OEMs [engine manufacturers] need to “get on the bandwagon! They “have been dragging their feet for too long on this fuel.”
Michael McClurkin, Harrisburg, PA

“In a similar fashion to what was provided for ethanol blended gasoline, OEMs can help to support the use of biodiesel by acknowledging in their warranty materials, biodiesel’s suitability for use as a fuel in their vehicles.”
Michael Ackerman, Jasper, IN

"Biodiesel cleans the fuel delivery system, Our vehicles run great. The emissions are visibly improved."
Jonathan Baty, VW/Mercedes Owner
Redlands, California

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 Users

UPS WorldPort
North Star Moving
New Seasons Market
Odell Brewery
Poland Spring
Sysco Corporation
The Essential Baking Company
Uinta Brewing Company
Willamette Valley Vineyards
Whole Foods

 Featured User

Poland Spring

Poland Spring Bottling of Maine has been in the spotlight lately for reducing their carbon emissions, and biodiesel is part of the reason. The company's environmental efforts were recognized recently by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a leading non-profit environmental organization with more than 700,000 members.

Biodiesel blends have played a major role in Poland Spring's success. In an effort to reduce the company's carbon footprint, Poland Springs switched to a five percent (B5) biodiesel blend in its fleet in 2007. Poland Spring Truck Fleet Manager Chris McKenna estimates that since then, the company has reduced annual carbon emissions by 1.8 million pounds. That is the equivalent of taking approximately 193 cars off the road every year.

Using biodiesel blends has also improved fuel economy in Poland Spring's fleet of 36 tractor trailers and 75 tanker trucks. Biodiesel has been cheaper than its petrol counterpart in Poland Spring's neighborhood and after two years of using biodiesel blends, the company has saved $70,000 in fuel costs alone.

"The switch to biodiesel ended up being a win not just for the environment, but for our company's bottom line as well," McKenna said. "Today, we're saving 5 to 12 cents per gallon and also significantly reducing our carbon emissions."

In addition to using biodiesel blends, the company has reduced truck idling time by 70 percent, resulting in an annual reduction of 77 tons of carbon dioxide and saving roughly $20,000 in reduced fuel costs in 2008.

"Poland Spring is proud that the Environmental Defense Fund chose to recognize our efforts to help protect the environment of local Maine communities in which we operate," McKemma said. "Maine has been our home for over 160 years. We are committed to doing our part to make Maine a better place to live and work through our environmental stewardship and community partnerships."

For more information about Poland Spring, visit www.polandspring.com.