Biodiesel is a domestically produced, renewable fuel that can be manufactured from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease for use in diesel vehicles. Biodiesel's physical properties are similar to those of petroleum diesel, but it is a cleaner-burning alternative.
- Biodiesel and conventional diesel vehicles are one in the same. Although light-, medium-, and heavy-duty diesel vehicles are not technically "alternative fuel" vehicles, almost all are capable of running on biodiesel. Biodiesel, which is most often used as a blend with regular diesel fuel, can be used in many diesel vehicles without any engine modification. The most common biodiesel blend is B20, which is 6% to 20% biodiesel blended with petroleum diesel. B5 (5% biodiesel, 95% diesel) is also commonly used in fleets.
- Before using biodiesel, be sure to check your OEM engine warranty to ensure that higher-level blends of this alternative fuel are approved (all OEMs accept the use of B5, and many accept the use of B20).
- Biodiesel improves fuel lubricity and raises the cetane number of the fuel. Diesel engines depend on the lubricity of the fuel to keep moving parts from wearing prematurely. Federal regulations have gradually reduced allowable fuel sulfur to only 15 parts per million, which has often resulted in lower aromatics content in diesel fuel. One advantage of biodiesel is that it can impart satisfactory lubricity to diesel fuels at blend levels as low as 1%.