EPA, NHTSA Declare B20 Vehicles as Flex-Fuel

John Davis

NHTSAEPAIn what’s being characterized as an “historic national program” that would dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel economy for new cars and trucks sold in the United States… vehicles that can run on B20, a 20 percent blend of biodiesel… will be considered flexible fuel vehicles.

Biodiesel Magazine reports the 1,200 page proposal issued by the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would mostly apply to the flexible fuel vehicle (FFV) credits for auto makers and treat B20-capable vehicles the same as ethanol/gas FFVs, starting in 2012 through 2016:

“If manufacturers’ warranties cover B20, then I think many people will be comfortable with using it,” says Robert Dascal of New Energy Fuels in Waller, Texas. “We’re already seeing certain demand for B20 start to increase. With B20, you get the best of both worlds—the petrol base combined with added lubricity and lower emissions.”

Emissions caps and fuel economy standards outlined by EPA include a limit of 250 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per mile, equivalent to 35.5 miles per gallon, if the automobile industry were to meet this CO2 level solely through fuel economy improvements.

EPA is proposing for model year 2016 and later that manufacturers would not receive FFV credits unless they can calculate how much alternative fuel is actually being bought by the end user. A B20-approved vehicle might use much less biodiesel, or none at all, once it hits the market, which would defeat the purpose of a program meant to promote the use of biofuels.

Experts believe this EPA and NHTSA endorsement of B20 will be big for the biodiesel industry.

Biodiesel, Government