Bentz tackles diesel gelling problem

Posted on December 30th in News

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.

2 Responses to “Bentz tackles diesel gelling problem”

  1. Jon Payne Says:

    Perhaps it is the 98% of the fuel that is diesel that is the problem. Sometimes diesel racks do not additize the diesel sufficiently to deal with unexpected cold snaps. If the distributors are still using #2 instead of more expensive #1 diesel, then that could be the problem. #2 has gelling issues below zero without any bio. Most people look to the bio portion whenever there is a problem with a “biodiesel” fuel even though it is only 2% of the total. A B2 blend, when properly handled, should perform just like diesel. These extremely cold temperatures provide operational challenges to diesel vehicles regardless of whether they use biodiesel blends or diesel fuel. I suspect that operators who were using straight #2 are also having gelling at these temps.

  2. Ben Haney Says:

    I have lived in east oregon, wyo,nev, and now in wa. in extrem temps. of -35 to -54 with no prblems becouse you have to think ahead and thin your diesel with either stove oil at 50/50 or less or non gelling aditive. you have to be smarter than the cheating dealers.

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