The New Mexico State Senate approved a bill Wednesday, March
8, that requires all diesel fuel sold in the state to contain a 5-percent blend
of biodiesel by 2010.
The effect of the bill – and similar bills in other states –
is to incorporate renewable fuel sources into the energy chain.
New Mexico state senators voted 19-14 to approve the bill
and send it to the state House of Representatives.
Lawmakers in Oregon, Montana and Missouri are also moving
forward on bills to incorporate renewable fuels.
The Oregon House of Representatives moved recently to
require a 2-percent biodiesel blend as soon as state production of biodiesel
reaches 5 million gallons per year, and a 5-percent biodiesel blend when
production reaches 15 million gallons per year.
The bill, which is currently up for state Senate
consideration, calls for a 10-percent ethanol requirement for gasoline based
when the state reaches 90 million gallons per year.
The Montana State Senate recently approved a mandate for a
2-percent biodiesel blend when the state reaches a certain refining capacity.
There are currently no biodiesel plants operating in the state. Future
increases to capacity would eventually bump the requirement to a 5-percent
A bill on the Missouri Senate floor this week would require
a 5-percent biodiesel at the pumps by 2009. Retailers would not be forced to
carry the blended product if the price is not competitive with the price of
The Missouri bill contains a similar blending strategy for
ethanol in gasoline.
Truckers have raised questions about whether biodiesel – in
pure form or blended with petroleum diesel – does harm to their engines,
filters and systems.
Officials from the National Biodiesel Board of industry
producers often say that “little or no modifications” are needed to the engine
or fuel system to run lower biodiesel blends. However, a 20-percent biodiesel
blend or higher can break down rubber components and elastomers, causing a need
for replacement. The producers also recommend changing fuel filters –
particularly early on after a switch to biodiesel blends.
“The release of deposits may end up in fuel filters initially,
so fuel filters should be checked more frequently at first,” according to a
statement on the biodiesel board’s Web site, biodiesel.org.
At the present time, based on supply and production costs,
biodiesel can cost 15- to 25-percent more than on-highway diesel, according to The Associated Press. But experts
predict that as production capacity increases around the country, the price of
renewable fuels will be more competitive with petroleum fuels.
– By David Tanner,