Minn. becomes first to require 10% biodiesel blend at the pump

Source: David Shaffer, MinneapolisStar-Tribune • Posted: Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Minnesota will become the first state to require a 10 percent minimum blend of biodiesel in diesel fuel sold at gas station pumps.

The rule is expected to boost sales of biodiesel in the state from 40 million to 60 million gallons per year, even though 2.7 percent of the state’s vehicles operate on diesel fuel.

The new numbers approach the total capacity of Minnesota’s three production plants for biodiesel, which is refined from soybean and other oils.

Steven Rupp, vice president of Isanti, Minn.-based Ever Cat Fuels LLC, said the new rules will keep Minnesota at the forefront after the state became the first to enact a biodiesel blending mandate in 2005.

The National Biodiesel Board said 16 other states now have similar rules or tax incentives to encourage blending biodiesel into fuel. Illinois offers tax breaks for biodiesel blends of 10 percent or more, but Minnesota will be the only state with a required minimum that high when the rule kicks in tomorrow.

Mercedes-Benz, a global forerunner in diesel technology, has resisted the mandate by offering warranties only on engines running on blends of up to 5 percent biodiesel. It said car owners need to closely watch diesel engines using higher blends.

“Biodiesel wants to degrade. The fuel can degrade in the tank, and it can also degrade in the engine oil,” said Bill Woebkenberg, a senior engineer for Mercedes-Benz in the United States (David Shaffer, MinneapolisStar-Tribune, June 29).