President Barack Obama has proposed that vehicle fuel economy standards be substantially increased to 35.5 miles per gallon by the year 2016… and biodiesel could be a big benefactor of that change.
This article from Biodiesel Magazine says auto industry folks, such as Dave Barthmuss, group manager for General Motors Environment and Energy Communications North America, believe the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements would make diesel engines more attractive… and thus, make the green fuel to put in those vehicles more attractive:
“Because diesel engines have greater fuel efficiency and can operate with biodiesel—which is a low-carbon fuel—expanding this area will be considered, but our plan is to achieve the reductions with our current portfolio.”
Along with compression engines and biodiesel utilization, corporate fleets will use flex-fuel, hybrid, plug-in and other alternative fuel vehicles to cut back on their petroleum usage and comply with the more stringent CAFE program.
Because diesel engines can offer fleet operators savings on CAFE requirements, it has been speculated in the short time since the new CAFE overview was published that the sector could see more business. This could be a boon for biodiesel. “There definitely has been more of a push from the current administration to implement programs that help the biofuels industries,” said Robert Dascal of New Energy Fuels in Waller, Texas. “Increased diesel fuel utilization obviously opens up more of a market for us.”
GM officials believe having one consistent fuel economy standard… instead of the hodge-podge of individual states’ regulations… will provide a more consistent platform for manufacturers to shoot for.