Jingles , Catchy Tunes and the Facts

By Don Scott | July 15, 2009
"There's no need to fear! Underdog is here! Speed of lightning, roar of thunder fighting all who rob or plunder Underdog....Underdog!"

We are all familiar with those catchy television show or commercial jingles that, no matter how you fight them, get stuck in your head. "My bologna has a first name. It's O-S-C-A-R. My bologna has a second name, it's ...."

Marketers have pushed products for generations with jingles, logos, images, brands and slogans custom-made to trigger an emotional reaction and, well, get stuck in your head.

What has changed are the values and ideals driving the ads.

For example, have you noticed lately that everything claims to be green, somehow better for the environment? In the consumer world there exists no way to measure these claims, to test them against facts and reality. Is a certain brand of paper towel really green, really better for anything? Who knows? I'd like to see The Discovery Channel's "MythBusters" examine some of these green marketing claims.

In contrast, when it comes to biodiesel and our industry, we have the science that demonstrates biodiesel is a cleaner burning, sustainable alternative fuel. There are indisputable facts that verify biodiesel's effectiveness as a proven alternative fuel source and illustrate its benefits. We have lifecycle scientists acting as our own

Compliling good information and facts can easily bust some of the misguided myths your customers may be hearing about biodiesel. In the same way that marketers work to make a connection, these myths catch on because of the emotional reaction we have to things like deforestation, world hunger or climate change. These are serious repercussions, which must be avoided. The truth is, biodiesel can be part of a mitigation strategy for all of these.

Here are a few of the most common biodiesel myths covered in a new document published by NBB.

Myth: Biodiesel contributes to global climate change and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

Fact: U.S. biodiesel is a green, sustainable part of the solution. It reduces life-cycle carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, by 78 percent compared to petroleum diesel. A 2008 USDA/University of Idaho study shows that for every unit of fossil energy needed to create biodiesel, 4.5 units of energy are returned. New cropland is not needed to grow materials for biodiesel, because there is already a surplus of soybean oil on the market. Advances in technology enable us to grow more using the same acres of land. The National Biodiesel Board and its members support sustainable production of biodiesel, and there is no scientific basis for assigning any significant responsibility for rainforest destruction to U.S. biodiesel, as the vast majority of U.S. biodiesel is made from homegrown resources.

Myth: Biodiesel contributes to rising food prices.

Fact: Produced from a wide variety of renewable resources, including plant oils, fats and even recycled restaurant grease, biodiesel is the most diversified fuel on the planet. In addition, soybean-based biodiesel has a positive impact on the world's food supply. Processing soybeans for biodiesel uses only the oil, leaving 80 percent of the bean for protein-rich soybean meal. Put more simply, when the demand is increased for soybean oil for use in biodiesel, the price of soybean meal actually decreases what it otherwise might cost.

Myth: Biodiesel is an experimental fuel and has not been thoroughly tested.

Fact: Biodiesel is one of the most thoroughly tested alternative fuels on the market. A number of independent studies performed by the DOE, USDA, Stanadyne Corp. (the largest diesel fuel injection equipment manufacturer in the U.S.), Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute and Southwest Research Institute have shown that biodiesel performs similar to petroleum diesel with greater benefits to the environment and human health.

One challenge in these discussions is that people have been conditioned to distrust when something sounds too good to be true, like when cigarette smoking was touted to be cool with no harmful effects. Or again, "green" paper towels. Biodiesel is one example that truly is good and offers a sustainable solution to help meet our long-term energy needs.

Time after time, the FACTS about biodiesel rise above the MYTHS and bad science.

The underdog doesn't always get the credit it deserves, but biodiesel will save the day. Sing it with me now..."Underdog ....Underdog!"

To access the complete brochure Biodiesel Myths: Busted, send an email to [email protected] or call 800-841-5849.

By Don Scott, National Biodiesel Board Director of Sustainability
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