Biodiesel Put to the Test in Dodge Ram

John Davis

Biodiesel PumpIt’s always good to see the results of biodiesel put into real test situations. This great article from Diesel Power magazine put the green fuel at a B20 (20 percent biodiesel) level to the test in a 2014 Ram 2500 and showed just how good biodiesel can be, providing fewer emissions, lubricating the engine better, and actually being a cheaper source of fuel in some parts of the country.

So why all the hate if there are so many positives? One criticism is that biodiesel clogs fuel filters. It is true that in higher-mileage diesels fuel filters will need to be changed more frequently when running biodiesel, but this isn’t because of the fuel itself. It’s due to the fact that biodiesel is a better solvent than petrodiesel and actually cleans the built-up gunk out of the truck’s fuel tank and system. The higher the concentration of biodiesel, the quicker the tank gets cleaned and the filter gets clogged. This leads directly to the second myth of biodiesel: that it provides less power and lower fuel economy. Typically, the cause of this is a clogged fuel filter. See the connection? Keep the filter clean, and you’ll never know there is bio in the tank.

This brings us back to my quick test. I saddled the truck up with the same trailer and load as before and hit the road. At first, it seemed like the engine was louder when running on B20, but after a few hours it all seemed normal. I attribute this simply to a placebo effect. I wanted there to be something noticeably different with the new fuel, so my brain said it was louder. The reality is after I switched back to number 2 the noise level remained the same. The truck’s power felt the same as well, and the truck had absolutely no issues hauling the load on level ground, or up steep hills. I even spanked a Duramax up the infamous Grapevine. With the tow test complete, I unhooked the trailer and ran a tank with the truck empty. Both tests returned fuel economy numbers that were within ½ mpg of the original test.

The bottom line of this article was that B20 is less expensive and better for the environment and a truck’s engine, without losing power or fuel economy.