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How Do I Choose the Best Biodiesel Car?

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  • Written By: J.M. Densing
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2016
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Many people seeking to minimize their car's impact on the environment consider alternatives to traditional gasoline engines. One of these alternatives is biodiesel, which is made from animal and plant oils instead of petroleum products, and combines good mileage with low emissions. When choosing a biodiesel car, look for a vehicle that runs on regular diesel fuel and is approved for biodiesel use, and one that meets the demands of your lifestyle. Any engine that runs on traditional diesel fuel will also be able to utilize a biodiesel alternative, but the use of certain blends may void the warranty if they aren't approved by the manufacturer. Other factors to consider are the availability and cost of commercial fuel as well as convenience.

There are several potential benefits of a biodiesel car, which particularly attractive to those who are concerned about the environment. Any vehicle that uses traditional diesel fuel can also operate on biodiesel, and is likely to get more miles per gallon than the gasoline equivalent. Although older diesels released high levels of harmful emissions, modern models run much cleaner; when they are burning biodiesel fuel, they produce almost none. Another environmental benefit of biodiesel is that it's made without petroleum products, instead using plant and animal oils.

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Currently, there is no vehicle manufacturer producing a car designed for the exclusive use of biodiesel fuel. If you are looking for a biodiesel car, you need to purchase a regular diesel vehicle. In general, any diesel engine can run on biodiesel fuel without requiring alterations. Make sure that the car can also meet your lifestyle needs; in most regions there are a variety of models and sizes to choose from. For instance, a large family needs plenty of seating, but a single person may opt for a smaller vehicle.

You should be aware that running your car on biodiesel may violate the warranty in some situations. If you wish to own a biodiesel car, verify that any fuel variant is manufacturer approved. Biodiesel fuel blended with petroleum diesel is often commercially available. For instance, B5 contains 5% biodiesel fuel, B20 has 20%, and 100% is referred to as B100. Most manufacturers only approve specific blends; make sure you have knowledge of any restrictions when choosing a biodiesel car.

Other factors to consider when choosing a biodiesel car are related to acquiring the fuel. Commercially available biodiesel often costs more than other fuel, and you need to make sure that there are service stations in your area that sell it. It isn't widely available in some areas as yet. Another possibility is to make your own with products such as waste cooking oil from local restaurants. It can be a relatively simple process once you've learned how; in general, it requires no specialized equipment and the additional ingredients are inexpensive.

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