Trend Alert: Diesel Engines Will Power America for a Long Time with the Help of Cleaner-Burning Biodiesel

June 4, 2019

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By Troy Shoen

Sponsored by: Renewable Energy Group

There’s a lot of buzz going around about new fuels for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. While research and development of cleaner fuels is always a good idea, the reality is liquid fuels like biodiesel blends will power US fleets for decades to come.

Just consider that 97% of Class 8 trucks still rely on diesel fuel. And the trucking industry is going strong: 70% of US goods are shipped by truck.

Another big trend is the push for sustainability initiatives among private and public fleets. Renewable Energy Group has a simple message: Using biodiesel blends today is a great way to dramatically reduce emissions in diesel-powered vehicles, and to do so in an easy-to-implement, cost-effective manner that protects fleet performance.

Using biodiesel blends is a great way to reduce emissions in diesel-powered vehicles in an easy-to-implement, cost-effective manner that protects fleet performance.

“At this point, I’m going to be more surprised if I hear somebody is running vehicles that don’t have biodiesel, especially Class 8 trucks,” says Steve Larsen, Director of Procurement and Fuel at Ruan Transportation. “For Ruan, it simply comes down to emissions reductions, strong performance, and cost savings.”

Biodiesel Benefits

With the dominant position of diesel engines, some fleets are asking about renewable diesel as a solution. Renewable diesel is a good fuel, but most of the nation’s supply goes to the West Coast, and it will be a long time before it’s readily available elsewhere.

The fact is, biodiesel blends are needed to meet US fleets’ fuel needs and sustainability initiatives for decades to come. Fleets can also realize the price, performance, and ease-of-use advantages that come with biodiesel.

Biodiesel blends are needed to meet US fleets’ fuel needs and sustainability initiatives for decades to come.

Emissions — Compared with petroleum diesel, a B20 blend has been proven to reduce particulate matter by over 10%, carbon monoxide emissions by over 10% and unburned hydrocarbons by over 20% in heavy-duty highway engines.

Price — Biodiesel often costs less than petroleum diesel and renewable diesel.

Performance — Fleets cannot sacrifice performance, no matter a fuel’s environmental profile. Biodiesel has higher Cetane and increased lubricity compared to petroleum diesel, leading to improved performance. Fleets are also reporting that biodiesel’s cleaner burn has caused fewer issues with diesel particulate filters.

Ease of use — Biodiesel blends do not require any vehicle or fueling infrastructure changes. Also, the product is readily available nationwide to be delivered to your fleet locations and at retail locations.

“I’m 100% on board with biodiesel,” says Roger Ritchie, maintenance manager at Rochester Public Transit in Minnesota. “Our equipment [using biodiesel] has lasted and done a really good job.”


About the Author:

Troy Shoen is a Senior Marketing & Sales Manager for Renewable Energy Group, America’s number one biodiesel producer and an innovator in the clean fuels industry. Troy’s duties include fuel sales, compliance trading, and marketing, branding, and positioning strategy for REG, as well as regularly speaking across the US about the benefits of renewable fuels.

To learn more about REG and to take advantage of biodiesel, visit or contact Troy at