Biofuel Industry News

  • Diesel bought at the pump must be at least 10 per cent biodiesel in Minnesota

Minnesota mandates higher biodiesel blends

Jun 30 2014 Comments 0

Minnesota will tomorrow (Tuesday July 1st) become the first US state to adopt the mandate that all diesel sold at the pump must have a ten per cent minimum biodiesel blend. This is a huge win for the biodiesel industry, even though only around 2.7 per cent of the state's vehicles operate on diesel. It could also help to reduce emissions from diesel-powered vehicles.

It is expected that sales of biodiesel will jump throughout Minnesota, rising to 60 million gallons a year from the current 40 million gallons. As the state only has three biodiesel plants, this will mean that almost all of their capacity will be used to provide the minimum ten per cent blend across the state.

Throughout the US, 16 states have now implemented tax incentives or mandates that see biodiesel being blended with traditional forms of diesels, according to the National Biodiesel Board. Illinois currently offers a tax break to companies that blend ten per cent or more biodiesel blends. However, Minnesota is the only state to mandate such a high blend.

Since 2009, the state has required that all diesel purchased at the pump has a minimum five per cent biodiesel blend. The new, increased blend mandate was originally included in legislature in 2008, but it was delayed to enable fuel-blending capacity within the state to catch up. Eventually, the biodiesel blend will reach a 20 per cent minimum, but currently Minnesota does not have the capacity to fulfil this. 

Although the mandate only affects 128,000 diesel vehicles, it has been resisted by some drivers and automakers. Some vehicle manufacturers have raised concerns that the engines in their vehicles are not suited to such a high biodiesel blend. An example is Mercedes Benz - whose warranties engines only function on a maximum of five per cent biodiesel blends - which said that drivers need to ensure they monitor their engines when using high percentage blends, or they could experience problems. 

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