Wondering About Biodiesel? Here’s What You Should Know.
Biodiesel is a term you’ll hear more and more in the trucking industry. It, along with other “renewable” fuel sources, will likely only continue to grow in popularity as the world looks for more ways to cut back on the use of fossil fuels.
This week, we answer some of your questions about biodiesel, so you know what it’s all about and how it makes a difference in the trucking industry.
What is Biodiesel?
Biodiesel is a type of advanced biofuel that is both renewable and biodegradable. It burns cleaner than traditional petroleum diesel and it is made from several different natural sources, including waste animal fats, vegetable oils and used cooking oil.
As new trucks are engineered and produced, they will be able to utilize more biodiesel. At the pump, any fuel infused with biodiesel will be labeled with a “B” followed by a numeral representing the percentage of biodiesel present in that fuel mix. For example, all diesel vehicles on the road are capable of running with B5, which contains only 5 percent biodiesel mixed with 95 percent petroleum diesel. Most modern trucks can use a B20 mixture (20 percent biodiesel) without requiring any vehicle modifications, and that percentage may increase as time goes on and technology evolves.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Biodiesel
There are a few advantages of switching to biodiesel:
- Performance – Testing shows that using biodiesel blends meets typical performance standards of conventional diesel fuel and many operators have found that it actually outperforms petroleum diesel in certain areas, such as lubricity and better resistance to cold weather.
- Financial Savings – Biodiesel blends typically cost less than standard petroleum diesel. Part of that cost savings comes from a $1.00 per gallon federal tax subsidy for producers of biodiesel. Some states offer special rebate programs and other incentives to encourage commercial operators to switch to using more biodiesel.
- Lower Emissions – From an environmental perspective, biodiesel produces fewer harmful emissions of carbon monoxide and particulate matter.
So, is biodiesel right for you? With its biggest advantages, it could be a smart avenue to explore. What’s certain is that as the use of biofuels across the United States continues to grow, companies throughout the industry will feel the impact.
For more commercial truck driving tips and training resources, contact America Truck Driving School today.