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Handling - Use


Biodiesel blends of 20 percent and below will work in any diesel engine without the need for modifications. These blends will operate in diesel engines just like petroleum diesel. If the blend has been properly treated by the petroleum company, it will work year round, even in cold climates. B20 also provides similar horsepower, torque, and mileage as diesel. Blends of 5 percent biodiesel and lower meet the ASTM standards for diesel fuel and don’t require any special considerations.

There are a few precautions to take when making the switch to B20:

  • Make sure you buy biodiesel from a reputable source. If you are concerned about fuel quality, you can purchase fuel from a BQ-9000 supplier.
  • Buy fuel that is already blended. This will help ensure that the biodiesel has been properly handled and treated for climatic needs.
  • Biodiesel is a cleaning agent, which means petroleum deposits may end up in the fuel filter until the system is clean. Stick to your regular maintenance schedule, unless your vehicle feels sluggish when accelerating. This is a symptom of a plugged filter and should be checked immediately.

Below are some additional resources for biodiesel use including cold weather usage information, an emissions calculator, and the Handling & Use Guide, an in-depth guide to using biodiesel in all conditions put together by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).

Cold Weather Usage

Did you know that you can use up to a 20 percent blend of biodiesel year-round, in even the coldest of climates? Biodiesel will gel in cold weather, just like regular diesel fuel. But B20 can be treated for winter use, in similar ways that No. 2 diesel is treated. Using B20 throughout the winter months just takes a little preparation and good fuel management practices. A good fuel distributor will make sure your fuel is treated for optimum cold weather performance.

Emissions Calculator

Calculate your emission reductions when using biodiesel.

Handling & Use Guidelines

This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States government. Neither the United States government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights.  Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States government or any agency thereof.  This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States government. Neither the United States government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights.  Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States government or any agency thereof.  

The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States government or any agency thereof.

Available electronically here or http://www.osti.gov/bridge