Biodiesel No. 1 alternative fuel choice for fleet owners

By Ron Kotrba | March 24, 2016

A new 2016 Fleet Purchasing Outlook study conducted by the work truck industry association NTEA shows biodiesel is now the most commonly used alternative fuel option on the market. According to survey data, 18 percent of fleets currently use biodiesel, up 3 percent from last year. Biodiesel also ranks at the top for future alternative fuel interest, meaning more fleets plan to begin or continue using biodiesel than any other alternative fuel option. 

NTEA conducts this comprehensive survey every December to gain a better understanding of the commercial vehicle landscape. These new survey results were published this month and reflect positive trends for the use of biodiesel blends in legacy and modern diesel vehicle technology.

The 2016 survey respondents represent a broad range of fleet sizes, vehicle weight classes and vocational truck applications from across the U.S. and Canada, including government and municipal fleets, the construction, delivery and utility sectors, agriculture and private industry fleets.

“The evolution of alternative fuel technologies is still triggering change for vocational truck specifications,” said Doyle Sumrall, NTEA managing director. “However, general interest has dropped in recent years due to persistently low oil costs and will likely remain muted until prices rebound. Despite current challenges facing the alternative fuels movement, fleet interest in biodiesel has remained strong, actually increasing in 2016 as compared to the previous year.”  

Biodiesel is an easy and cost-effective way for fleets to reduce carbon and improve the performance and sustainability of their operations. 

Since 2006, Moline, Illinois, has run its full fleet of more than 100 diesel vehicles and equipment on B20. At a lower cost than straight diesel fuel, B20 has helped Moline improve the performance and minimize maintenance of the fuel systems in fire trucks, ambulances, garbage trucks and tractors, with zero fuel-related maintenance issues in 10 years.

“Here in Moline, air quality is paramount to our quality of life,” said the city’s fleet manager J.D. Schulte. “We made the switch to clean, domestically produced plant-based biodiesel 10 years ago, not only because it was a good choice for our fleet, but also because it was a good choice for our community. My advice to other fleet managers is, if you are conscious of and serious about air quality and looking for an easy and cost-effective solution to make a positive difference in your community, biodiesel is a natural choice.” 

According to the National Biodiesel Board, nearly 90 percent of the medium- and heavy-duty truck OEMs support the use of B20 in the Gross Vehicle Weight Class 5-8 vehicles, which account for 92 percent of on-road diesel/biodiesel use.

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