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.
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.
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
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