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Less miles with biodiesel....normal????

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Old 05-26-2007, 08:54 PM
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Question Less miles with biodiesel....normal????

Ok, so I had been running strictly B20 for a few months , convinced that it was better for my truck, knowing that it was better for the environment, and I love the fact that biodiesel makes us less dependent on foreign oil. But one day I was nowhere near a biodiesel station and I had to use regular diesel. I had been pretty pleased with my fuel mileage with the biodiesel, but I am getting upwards of an extra 20-30 miles per tank with the regular diesel. I cant help but wonder how much better biodiesel is for the environment if I get lower fuel mileage. Seems like a double-edged sword. I just want to get some of y'alls expert opinion on this. Is this difference normal? Thanks for the help.

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Old 05-26-2007, 11:53 PM
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Biodiesel containes between 8% and 10% less energy per gallon than regular diesel..

Petro Diesel is about 138,000 btu's per gallon
Biodiesel is about 118,000 btu's per gallon..

Both figures can fluxuate depending on time of year, type of wvo feedstock, etc etc.
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Old 05-27-2007, 12:05 AM
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But btu's aren't the entire story either. Bio is higher cetane levels then petro diesel usually which can in fact increase fuel mileage. I actually see an increase in mileage when I run bio vs straight #2 both in my PSD, and in the semi I drive. but something I have been seeing a lot of late is that some commercial biodiesel isn't that high of grade and between that and depending on the quality of the #2 the bio may not be actually increasing the cetane levels like it could and thus wouldn't be getting that benifit. but you are still getting the lubrication benifits from it as well as the better for the enviroment etc.
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Old 05-27-2007, 11:36 AM
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I think this is a really good question, Bob, and I've also had similar thoughts about driving my big truck around basically guzzling BD. I'm using B100. I haven't driven this truck a lot with regular #2 or #1 to compare gas mileage, but I do think I get a little less MPG on BD100. I bought this diesel truck specifically because it is diesel, I needed something powerful to pull my trailer and I am convinced that biodiesel is a really good energy solution that I can use NOW and not have to wait for other alternative fuels to be developed.

However, the benefits of BD to the environment over dino diesel are staggering. That's as long as no one is tearing down rainforests to grow oil palms. You are basically carbon neutral if you burn B100. Equal amounts of carbon going into the plants and coming back out of your truck. The farm equipment that produces the BD oil can also run on BD as well as the BD refineries, although not all farmers or refiners are doing that as yet (give us time to change the mindset).

Then, if you can't get B100, the blends at least improve how the dino D burns making it burn more cleanly and completely, due to the cetanes and oxygen in BD, reducing a variety of air pollutants. Plus, you are burning less fossil fuel than you would otherwise. I think it does reduce the total impacts on the environment, even with a little less MPG. Although it makes you wonder if you might not get a little better MPG burning certain blends of BD and dino due to the improved burning properties...I don't know.

You're asking the right questions!!! The reality is, we're all extremely dependent on all types of fuels for our way of life and it just ain't gonna change over night. No one wants to go back to the "bad old days". Those big semis bringing us all the food, goods and services we want and need daily will not suddenly stop running, but they can run cleaner and off foriegn oil right now today. Low sulfter diesel is far, far from the best way to go...you still burn fossil fuel and it can damage diesel engines not specially designed to run it. Biodiesel is a very good replacement until we can come up with other even less environmentally and politically detriemental means of transport.

Our drawback to BD is being able to produce enough of it...we just can't do that today, but I think in time, that can be solved too. I tend to be an optimist. One of the amazing things about BD is it is one of the best solutions we have for exhisting diesels to use right now without any expensive engine changes...you don't have to run out and buy a new vehicle or semi.

Here's a question I ask myself when driving down the road in Big Red..."Is my B100 guzzling PSD actually 'greener' than that Prius driving next to me??" Yes, it is!! The Prius is still on the petro grid and totally dependent upon gasoline to charge the batteries and kicks in the gas engine when needed. It is a good interim solution for a lot of people, but give me a BD100 hybrid and I'll be much happier. Totally electric cars not a solution either because they are currently dependent on power plants that run on fossil or radioactive fuels, unless the power plant is run with hydro, hydrogen, wind or solar power which are currently few and far between. Yea...they don't give off a lot of pollutants directly, but the power plant used to produce the electricity they use does...no net reduction!!

After all this blah blah blah it really comes down to the solution is not an easy one. It's tough...real tough. But I think we can do it. We all just have to decide to do whatever we can as soon as we can. Even if you don't agree with the global warming issue, the reality is fossil fuels will run out eventually. Finding solutions now makes absolute sense any way you look at it. It's a win win situation no matter what your political views are. Our solutions need to be smart and not replacing one bad with another.

Last edited by Wheatina; 05-27-2007 at 11:40 AM.
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