Representative conveys concerns regarding biodiesel blend
Gelling fuel, hungry cows, and tractors and trucks that won’t start. Is the new biodiesel renewable fuel blend to blame?
State Rep. Cliff Bentz is working with local ranchers, farmers, and the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) to determine the cause of a state-wide diesel fuel “gelling” that is leaving ranchers, truckers, farmers, ODOT, school districts and cattle feeders stuck in the snow.
In October 2009, Oregon’s renewable fuel standard for biodiesel took effect in Eastern Oregon. House Bill 3463 requires fuel dealers to sell a minimum 2 percent biodiesel blend in all diesel fuels. However, the close to and below zero temperatures Eastern Oregon has been experiencing have caused fuel to gel up, stopping engines and clogging fuel filters.
Rep. Bentz said, “The Dept. of Agriculture is running tests, taking samples and communicating with Washington and Idaho officials to determine if the biodiesel blend is to blame for the gelling fuel. I have spoken with farmers and ranchers throughout my district to determine how wide-spread and immediate the problem is. It is widespread, and not limited to a specific area or fuel dealer.”
According to the ODA, even the ODOT maintenance stations in Vale and Ontario had gelled fuel in their snow plows.
Rep. Bentz noted that a conclusive answer on whether the biodiesel fuel blend is to blame for the gelling has not been reached, and more tests are being conducted. Ranchers have reported that cutting the fuel with fuel additives, kerosene, or switching to larger fuel filters seems to alleviate or resolve some of the problems.