President George W. Bush yesterday reaffirmed his support for clean diesel technology and biodiesel in his energy policy at the Ronald Regan Building and International Trade Center in Washington D.C.
“To encourage greater use of ethanol and biodiesel, my administration supports a flexible, cost-effective renewable fuel standard as a part of the energy bill,” said Pres. Bush. “This proposal would require fuel producers to include a certain percentage of ethanol and biodiesel in their fuel.”
The President’s speech follows his recent visit at the Virginia BioDiesel refinery at West Point, VA in mid-May, where he touted biodiesel as avenue for gaining energy independence while boosting domestic farmers—particularly soybean producers.
“Biodiesel can be used in any vehicle that runs on regular diesel,” Pres. Bush said. “So as you get more clean diesel engines in America, biodiesel becomes an alternative fuel for them. It burns more completely and produces less air pollution than gasoline or regular diesel.”
Diesel experts say engine manufacturers have yet to reach a consensus on whether biodiesel would power an ’07 emissions-compliant diesel engine as efficiently as standard ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel. However, some automakers support it.
“Most manufacturers of heavy-duty engines are comfortable with B5 biodiesel, which is a 5% blend of biodiesel with 95% regular diesel,” Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum told Fleet Owner in an earlier interview. “The new Jeep Liberty, for example, comes with B5 in the tank from the factory.”
Pres. Bush also reaffirmed his support for tax relief for consumers that purchase new diesel vehicles. This could brighten the image of diesel as an environmentally sound and efficient alternative to gas-powered autos and provide a lift for the public’s perception of the diesel and trucking industry, noted Schaeffer.
“Clean diesel technology will allow consumers to travel much farther on each gallon of fuel -- without the smoke and pollution of past diesel engines,” said Pres. Bush. “To encourage this promising technology, Congress should extend the tax incentives for the purchase of hybrid vehicles to clean diesel cars and trucks.”
The Senate this week is negotiating its version of the energy bill. The House passed its own version in late April. The President hopes to have the bill on his desk by August.