The Minnesota Dept. of Commerce has extended the suspension by an additional 30 days—until Feb. 10-- of the requirement that diesel fuel be blended with 2% biodiesel to give more time for fuel suppliers to ensure no out-of-spec fuel reaches retail outlets.
Minnesota is the only state in the U.S. that has implemented a mandate that a percentage of biodiesel be mixed with conventional diesel at all on-highway retail outlets. On Dec. 23, the state suspended the biodiesel rule trucking interests complained of problems with engine fuel filters being plugged with black sludge or wax.
“We’re very gratified that the biodiesel industry is taking these product problems very seriously,” John Hausladen, president of the Minnesota Trucking Assn. told FleetOwner. “We felt early on in the process our pleas for help are falling on deaf ears. Now that it seems that we have their attention. We’re confident that the problem will be solved but we want to make sure that no biodiesel is entered into the fuel until we’re 100% certain.”
The Ontario Trucking Assn.—which is concerned the Ontario government will implement a biodiesel standard similar to that of Minnesota’s—weighed in on the issue in a news release, stating that the problems were worse during cold temperatures.
The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) said that out-of-spec biodiesel caused at least some of the plugging issues truckers complained about.
“In-spec biodiesel will work in extremely cold temperatures as long as it is handled properly,” Jenna Higgins, NBB spokesperson told FleetOwner. “We haven’t been able to quantify the extent of the filter plugging issues related to out-of-spec biodiesel. A lot of [information] right now is just based on reports that don’t have concrete information.”
NBB along with the Minnesota Biodiesel Council presented an action plan to the Minnesota Dept. of Commerce on Jan. 11. The groups pointed out that they called for the extension and have recommended that all biodiesel producers become accredited under the industry’s quality assurance program.
“We want Minnesota truckers, petroleum distributors and other residents to know that we take biodiesel fuel quality extremely seriously,” said NBB CEO Joe Jobe. “We are taking an aggressive stance to ensure that the biodiesel produced and used in the state meets the national specification for the fuel and is trouble-free.