Junk-removal firm 1-800-Got-Junk? and Isuzu Commercial Truck of America are teaming up on a six-month biodiesel pilot to see how progressively higher blends of the fuel affect vehicle performance and components in a primarily stop-and-go application
“We’ve been talking about using biodiesel on a wider basis among our franchisees for two years now, but we’d been concerned about getting consistent fuel quality and how using higher blends might affect our engine warranties,” Craig Jooste, Got Junk’s corporate operations manager, told FleetOwner.
Jooste said the company revisited the subject with Isuzu during the Pacific Economic Summit held in May and attended by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). “The Governor is a huge proponent of biodiesel and we felt his presence offered a good opportunity to talk with Isuzu about field-testing this fuel on a wider basis,” Jooste noted.
Phase one of the six-month test involves fueling 10 Isuzu NPR (1984 model year and newer) cabovers operated by GotJunk on a B5 biodiesel blend-- a mixture of 5% biodiesel with 95% regular petroleum diesel-- for 60 days, then moving to a B20 blend while increasing the number of vehiclesin the test.
“We’re breaking this field test down into two-month increments, tracking the total impact of biodiesel on the truck, from fuel economy to maintenance, such as if we need to replace fuel filters at a higher rate,” Jooste told FleetOwner. “Since we have a franchise structure, we’re responsible for making sure franchise owners that switch to biodiesel know what they are getting into.”
Trucks involved in the test will undergo a rigorous pre-inspection before switching to biodiesel to verify they are in good working order. Their drivers will have to keep detailed fuel consumption and performance logs while their vehicles run on biodiesel, Jooste added.
According to Jooste, Isuzu is backing the test in part because many trucks in its home country of Japan already operate on a variety of alternative fuels, including ones similar to biodiesel, albeit those fuels must comply with stricter quality regulations than what currently exist in the U.S.
“We’re excited to participate with [Got Junk] in this important test,” said Todd Bloom, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America vp-sales and marketing. “We feel that biodiesel fuel has the potential to play an important role in lowering emissions as well as reducing our dependence on foreign oil.”
Yet the environmental benefit is what’s really driving Got Junk to press forward with this test, Jooste told FleetOwner. “In a perfect world, we want to use a fuel that’s greener and more cost effective,” he said. “As long as we can run our vehicles at or near the cost of regular diesel with biodiesel, we’ll go forward with it. It’s really the environmental benefit we’re after here.”
“This test will launch our new Green Emissions Program,” added GotJunk founder & CEO Brian Scudamore. “We have always had a strong environmental conscience and have prided ourselves on cutting-edge recycling efforts. The growth of our business means it’s time to take environmental initiatives to the next level."