Thursday, October 25, 2007

Chrysler Promotes Diesel with the NBB

First I've ever seen. An Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) working hand and hand to promote every day use of small diesels for personal use. There was also an actual hint that Chrysler wouldn't just approve B20 but brag about it.

Saw it in the NAFTC eNews letter. According to the article Chrysler in a sign of support for biodiesel extended a discount to National Biodiesel Board (NBB) members on the Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel and the Dodge Ram with the Cummins Turbo Diesel.

We'll know if Chrysler is serious if we see small sedan diesels start penetrating the US market. By the way just to mention it. In these cases usually the only reason a OEM doesn't embrace biodiesel wholeheartedly is the issue of consistent specification of biodiesel products.

In Europe the specifications (their equivalent of ASTM) is much higher developed and the feedstocks are more consistent. In the US we have a much more distributed producer base of biodiesel with a significantly more complex flow of feedstocks that are ultimately refined into biodiesel. As ASTM and "Quality Assurance" standards become more robust and accepted across the US these issues will drop away.

There is also concern from the OEM's that biodiesel's "oxidative stability" could create problems with low tolerance high pressure fuel systems. Oxidative stability being a fancy word for biodiesel biodegrades and breaks down easier than petroleum. This not being a real issue unless you store the vehicle for prolonged amounts of time.
Biodiesel as a fuel has millions of miles and thousands of vehicles operating for years as a track record over the last decade in the US (let alone a longer one in Europe approved up to B100). Its about time that the auto manufacturers embraced the opportunity of actually giving customers the choices they have always wanted. A domestic, renewable and low carbon fuel option. Especially considering that most customers have just been doing it regardless.

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