New Biodiesel Mandate Takes Effect in Minnesota


SOURCE:  ATA --- Minnesota's biodiesel industry will get a boost when a new state fuel mandate takes effect.

Starting May 1, the fuel most used by truckers, No. 2 diesel, must contain at least 20 percent biodiesel — double the current requirement.

Biodiesel is mostly made from soybeans but can also be made from waste products such as used cooking oil.

Many petroleum companies and truckers oppose the new mandate, saying it will increase their business costs.

Minnesota Trucking Association President John Hausladen said his group opposes the mandate, in part because the fuel can gel in cold weather.

"We've just had a lot of additional costs that we've had to put in place to make sure there aren't issues," Hausladen said. "Whether it's additional equipment, heating elements, things like that. So, we're ready for the mandate but we just would prefer it not be there."

But Bob Patton with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture said the biodiesel industry adds more than $1.5 billion a year to the state's bottom line and helps boost soybean prices.

"It's great for the agricultural economy and the economy overall," Patton said.

The 20 percent mix will continue through September. Then, during the winter months, a 5 percent blend will be required. That's to protect against the biodiesel thickening and clogging fuel lines when temperatures drop.