Biodiesel blues: Oregon city switches to renewable diesel

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Updated Apr 26, 2016

The City of Corvallis, Oregon has begun fueling up its fleet with renewable diesel following a troubling trial with biodiesel.

Corvallis, about 40 miles north of Eugene, is currently using R-50 (50 percent conventional diesel and 50 percent renewable diesel) in its utility trucks, emergency vehicles, busses and street sweepers, according to the Corvallis Gazette-Times. The city plans on using R-99 soon, which is nearly pure renewable diesel.

The switch comes following some less than impressive results the city reports having with biodiesel. Corvallis fleet supervisor, Bob Fenner, says that by switching to renewable diesel the city will reduce fuel maintenance issues associated with biodiesel. The city also expects better performance, including improved fuel efficiency.

While interest in renewable diesel may be growing, The Association for the Work Truck Industry (NTEA) recently released results for its 2016 Fleet Purchasing Outlook Survey “which show biodiesel as both the current best-selling alternative fuel and the one with the most future interest.”

Switching to renewable diesel will cost Corvallis 12 cents more per gallon. However, city officials believe that the cost of the fuel will drop as more fleets turn to the second-generation, bio-based fuel.

The city expects that by using renewable diesel it will lower its carbon dioxide output by 1,000 metric tons a year.

The Oregon cities of Eugene and Portland both use R-99 in their fleets.