Questions and answers about Biodiesel

Bull City Biodiesel is a collaboration between the Forest Foundation and Piedmont Biofuels with the purpose of promoting the availability and use of biodiesel and other alternative fuels in North Carolina.


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What is the cost of biodiesel?

$3.50 per gallon for commercial biodiesel at the pump. If you make it yourself from used fryer grease, less than $1 per gallon.

Isn't the commercial biodiesel pretty expensive?

No - gasoline and even petro-diesel are a lot more expensive ...

What do I have to do to winterize my fuel?

That depends on the coldest temperatures you expect. In North Carolina, the safest bet is a petro-biodiesel blend for the winter months. More info ...

Does the use of Biodiesel void my vehicle's manufacturer warranty

No. Read your actual warranty (not the propaganda the manufacturer or local dealer puts out). Engine manufacturers do not warranty the use of urine as a fuel in their engines any more than they do petro-diesel or biodiesel. The point here is that if you put bad petro-diesel in your vehicle and it blows the engine up no manufacturer's warranty will cover the repair. Manufacturer's warranties cover parts and workmanship regardless of the type of fuel you choose to use. This is why using only high quality fuel that conforms to ASTM International quality standards (D975 for petro-diesel and D6751 for biodiesel) is important. The Magnusson-Moss Act (Title 15, Chapter 50 of the US Code) is the letter of the law. Hopefully you won't need any strategies for disputing unlawful warranty denials.


What is wrong with the pump's auto-shutoff?

When pumping pure biodiesel, the pump's auto-shutoff may not always work, probably due to different conductivity of biodiesel vs. petro-diesel. Biodiesel spills can ruin the car's paint because biodiesel is a pretty strong solvent. So it's important to clean up spills on the paint right away.

The recommendation is to not rely on the auto-shut-off function of the pump. I just try to estimate how much fuel I need and just don't top off. So 450 miles after the last fillup, I just put in another 10 gallons - no sweat - no mess.

Another solution is to slow down the pump when you get close to the expected capacity and listen for the gurgling noise, when the fuel climbs up the filling hose. With my Jetta it's pretty distinct, and I can shut off, or slow way down without spilling.

Can I use biodiesel on my boat?

Absolutely and enthusiastically YES! Biodiesel is bio-degradable, and much less toxic than petro-diesel. These properties are even more important in the marine environment. See also the article Biodiesel for Marine Use in Sport Fishing Magazine.

More questions? Here is a list of web-resurces: