Plenty of Diesel Vehicles for Biodiesel Production

John Davis

KotrbaTo those who think there’s not enough diesel-capable vehicles out there to help boost biodiesel’s demand, our friends over at the Biodiesel Magazine blog say that’s just not true. Ron Kotrba writes that while he’d like to see more diesel engines on the road, the current group of them out there is more than enough to put up big numbers for the green fuel… if they all would just use it.

But the fact is, according to the Energy Information Administration, in 2012 the U.S. consumed 57.5 billion gallons of diesel fuel (excluding jet fuel). If you assume the U.S. EPA’s 2012 biodiesel production figures of 1.1 billion gallons are accurate, and if you further assume that the entirety of that production was consumed in the U.S., then biodiesel penetration in the diesel fuel pool comes in at a meager 1.9 percent.

With up to 5 percent allowance in ASTM D975 and D396 (diesel fuel and heating oil specs, respectively) without labeling, there’s still plenty of room to grow just to reach a 5 percent penetration rate—in the existing consumption model that consists mostly of heavy-duty applications.

To reach B5 saturation, this would require 2.874 billion gallons of biodiesel, nearly three times the production achieved last year, and significantly more than twice the 1.28 billion gallons the RFS2 requires this year.

Kotrba goes on to say that if all the heavy-duty vehicles in the country become B20 compatible, that would see biodiesel consumption jump to 11.5 billion gallons of use each year … 10 times the current levels.

Biodiesel, Opinion