Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Biodiesel vehicles



  • Do you think that if it went mainstream and people adapted there would be enough to go around? Imagine? Growing vegetables and converting it into fuel? Novel idea, but can it be done? I'd support it!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    The big question is can it be done without subsidies. In Hawaii biodiesel is now less than #2 petrol diesel. It is limited in the islands by the amount of waste oil and grease that is collected. In the rest of the country we are subsidizing a buck a gallon for B100. I don't have any idea how much we subsidize petroleum. Kind of a tough call. I do know in CA the biodiesel producers are not keeping up with the demand. Many high profile entertainers are getting on the biodiesel bandwagon.
  • I wonder if there is a net gain in energy from the production of bio diesel. As much as the ideal sounds wonderful, I can't see it going mainstream. With Rita showing her skirt in the open waters of the Gulf we can only pray it does not harm our infrastructure any further. We definitely need alternatives and I'm glad bio diesel has a chance.
  • drewbadrewba Posts: 154
    In the rest of the country we are subsidizing a buck a gallon for B100. I don't have any idea how much we subsidize petroleum.

    When you account for our military costs in the Middle East, I think we are subsidizing petroleum at a monetary cost far greater than a dollar per gallon.
  • Hmm, I am considering doing the same to test the waters. Wife says buying a new 30k vehical to test BD is in no way smart, and she's right. :P

    You may want to check Dodge Rams, careful as I beleive there are a few years where it is not recomended (possibly due to fuel pump type). But, go to or the biodiesel list they have linked from there and ask. Annecdotally, from what I have read the two biggies are auto transmissions on dodge (get manual) and something with the housing/mounting of the turbo that can rust out an mislead people into thinking the whole turbo is bad. I seem to remember someone saying 94-95 was a good year for BD use and should be in that price range if well maintained

    Ford 7.3s also seem to do well.

    But, I am probably steering clear of newer duramax and newer powestrokes just from the stories I have heard - nothing to do with BD, but just general reliability issues
  • Hmmm, best add that al lthese are the superduty variety of full sized pickup truck (dodge ram 2500, ford f-250). Although afaik ford also made the excursion SUV along with the 7.3 diesel and it was geared better for milage, but worse for towing vs. the PUs
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    I work with a fellow that lives in So Dakota. He has used B20 in his Ford 6.0 PowerStroke since new two years ago. He says it does fine year round. He buys fuel at the co-op and B20 is consistently less expensive than unleaded regular gas.
  • mitch9mitch9 Posts: 3
    I just purchased a 2005 Mercedes E320 CDI. I live near a biodiesel retailer that sells "B100". I have checked around and verified that they sell "high quality" biodiesel fuel that meets ASTM standards. Does anyone have experience running this car on biodiesel? Is there any retrofitting I would need to do? I've read conflicting things. Any help, especially from someone with experience, would be greatly appreciated.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Willie runs B100 in his E320 CDI. There is confusion concerning warranty. Mercedes would have to prove that the biodiesel caused a failure to refuse warranty work. Let us know how it runs on biodiesel.
  • mitch9mitch9 Posts: 3
    I infer from Willie's website that he hasn't modified his car, and all else I've read suggests only to keep an eye on the hoses and fuel pump seals containing "elastomer compounds incompatible with biodiesel." Since I'm not experienced in under-the-hood matters, am I safe to assume that this would be something any good car mechanic can do? It would be great to hear from anyone else doing this. I'll let you know how it goes for me.
  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 428
    If you go to

    today (2005/10/29), you will see lots of news about bio-diesel.
    USA, Brazil, Malaysia, Singapore, etc are constructing bio-diesel plants.

    It seems that BD has 1 unit input & 3 unit output ratio. Thats better than Ethanols 1 : 1.5 input : output ratio.
    Anything edible can be converted into Bio-diesel.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Biodiesel is also much safer to handle and transport. I think it is a good alternative as soon as we get a few more diesel cars on the market here in the USA.
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,784
    I don't think we need to wait for more diesel cars. Just about every big rig burns diesel and can use biodiesel. It can simply be added to the existing petro-diesel. We can gear up biodiesel production as quickly as we want and will be able to use all of the output immediately.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Since you are familiar with the product I have an interesting question for you. Why aren't big trucking companies embracing bio-diesel to cut down on their costs? Wouldn't it be a no-brainer? I think it's a fantastic idea. I also think that the economy would support an infrastructure that made bio-diesel easily accessible. I'd be interested to know if it can also work in home heating applications as well.

    Lastly, I hope that by 2007 we start to see some Asian diesels in the market place.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Willie is selling to truck stops all over the country. San Diego is coming on line with 5 stations by the end of the year. Most plants are producing at maximum capacity.
  • aefaef Posts: 2
    Hello one and all: I currently use biodiesel purchased from a commercial pump. i appreciate the consistent and standards and am quite happy using biodiesel. I have had no problems. I drive a 1981 300-D. I find that for my work I need a car with more pick up so am looking into the ford escape hybrid, which may suit my professional needs.
    My two cents -
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Did you have to modify the fuel lines?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Brendle, 64, heats his house and his greenhouses and soon will power his Benz with an unusual, cheap fuel source: used french-fry oil.
    “I just really enjoy the fact that stuff doesn’t get wasted,” he says.

    OK, that and the fact that he is heating his Green Meadow Farm for the bargain price of about 30 cents a gallon.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Great article. One man's quest to heat his home and greenhouse with french fry oil. He did have to spend 10grand for modifications. This would NOT work for the masses. Though biodiesel is interesting, can you imagine if every house wanted to run this type of fuel. NOT ENOUGH.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    One man's cholesterol is another man's fuel. You are right that it is limited. More people will want to jump on that bandwagon with the oil price hikes.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Biodiesel Production Soars 2005 production expected to triple last year’s figures JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – John Plaza can’t seem to make biodiesel fast enough. The president and founder of Seattle Biodiesel says the plant is producing biodiesel at full capacity – and his customers snap it up as soon as it is made. Located in downtown Seattle, Plaza’s experience with his 5 million gallon per year plant illustrates the national picture. The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) anticipates 75 million gallons of biodiesel production in 2005. That’s three times the 25 million gallons produced just one year earlier. A federal tax incentive, state legislation and a diesel shortage all contribute to the rise in demand. But Plaza says he thinks Americans are finally waking up to alternative fuels. “A lot of Americans like the patriotic aspect of biodiesel,” he said. “The environmental benefits add value, but creating a stronger America through energy security is many people’s true motivation – including my own.” Plaza left a career as a commercial airline pilot to pursue his interest in alternative energy. “I was flying a 747 from Anchorage to Tokyo, and I started thinking about how much fuel that flight used,” he said. “I figured out that in one 6 ½ hour flight, we used enough fuel to power my personal vehicle for 42 years. I had to make a change.” The biodiesel industry will meet growing demand with increased production. There are currently 45 active biodiesel plants. The average size is about 6.5 million gallons per year, but some larger plants in the 30 million gallon range have also opened. In all, 45 plants produce biodiesel, with another 54 planned.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    What is the avg price for bio-diesel in your area? Is it cleaner than ULSD??
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    The only biodiesel I can find in San Diego is B20 for about the same price as ULSD. It is better for CO2 and has No sulfur. NOx is similar or slightly higher. Urea filters will eliminate the NOx. I filled my Passat Monday with ARCO ulsd and paid $2.899. Willie Nelson biodiesel is slated to be in 5 stations by the end of the year. After 6200 miles the overall average is a bit over 29 MPG calculated. That is mostly very short trips shopping the last 3500 miles. Trips to LA are high 30s.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Unfortunately there are no bio diesel stations here because there is no demand yet in NY (CARB wannabee state).We probably have the fithiest diesel around. My best friend who has his Merc 300D (mid 80's with 140k) says his car still runs fine, but it does create soot on hard acceleration. You actually have convinced me to look at a Jetta diesel. Truthfully I am frightened at the prospect of a high maint car. I am going to take a test drive and see if it has improved over the one I tried four years ago. Way too much NVH at idle. I'm open minded, so I'll keep you all posted.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    "Bartzat said that unlike vehicles designed to run on compressed natural gas, diesel-burning vehicles can relatively, easily and cheaply be converted to biodiesel, which tends to run 20 to 30 cents more expensive by the gallon.

    Proponents of biodiesel argue that these ongoing costs are offset by benefits such as a 20-percent reduction in pollution, slightly improved gas mileage, and less wear on the vehicle through its lubricating properties. Diesel-burning vehicles can also be easily and cheaply converted to biodiesel and can, therefore, be a viable option for fleets that are not seeking to replace their vehicles."
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Take two VW Jetta cars one that uses gas the other B20 biodiesel and make a comparison. In 15K miles you will use 600 gallons of fosssil fuel gasoline. With the VW TDI burning B20 for the same 15K miles you will only use 315 gallons of fossil fuel diesel. Which is better for America? If we all switched to B20 fueled cars vs gasoline fueled cars we could cut our fossil fuel usage nearly in half. And we would not half to scramble to find more expensive batteries or fuel cells.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    In most situations, there are both pros and cons of an action.

    At least one "con" in the action you mentioned is that diesel fuel, even B20, puts out a lot of dirty emissions, especially soot, and until the advanced particulare filters are installed on every modern diesel vehicle, that is still a major health problem.

    Lowering fossil fuel usage is an important goal, but so is public health.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    I'll take my chances with a hybrid before I ever bought another VW product.
  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 428
    Worldwide Bio-Diesel usage is growing at a rapid speed. Probably faster than Hybrid Vehicles.
    Malaysia is going to do a big conversion to B5. Brazil is also moving in.

    Unless Toyota, Honda, Ford sells Hybrids without those extras, Bio-diesel vehicles may grab a big market share.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    How can they grab market share in the US. CARB states are increasing. NJ and OR are now (or will be soon) part of CARB. No manufacturers will bring these to market unless they can sell them in all 50 states. I keep reading that this will be by this summer. How about just a plain old diesel from Honda or Toyota. Right now we have unreliable VWs and unreliable overpriced Mercedes. Am I biased?? No. I own a Mercedes and HAVE owned Audis and VWs. Great build quality, but very very expensive to maintain.
This discussion has been closed.