Information on using Biodiesel in place of Diesel fuel in vehicles

Biodiesel is a clean-burning liquid fuel developed from renewable energy sources like vegetable oils and animal fats, which can be used to power vehicles in place diesel. Since biodiesel is produced in the United States, it is a fuel option that reduces our dependence on foreign oil. See the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) explanation of biodiesel.

Pure biodiesel, referred to as B100, contains no petroleum. Other types of biodiesel are blended, such as B20, which is composed of 20% biodiesel blended with 80% petroleum diesel. B20 meets the Federal Energy Policy Act (EPAct) requirements. Many fleets across New England have been using B20 successfully, including the Cape Cod Transit authority, Harvard University, City of Newton, and Otis Air Force base.

Biodiesel offers several benefits:

  • Greater lubricity, or smoothness, reduces friction and keeps pumps and injector equipment properly lubricated. This extends equipment life and adds lubricity back into the15 PPM ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD).
  • Reduced emissions improve living and working environments. A 20% blend of biodiesel releases on average almost 45% fewer regulated exhaust emissions (or pollutants including fine particles (PM2.5) and carbon monoxide) than diesel.
  • More effective burn at a higher temperature, since it supplies its own oxygen , which facilitates combustion.
  • Improved quality control due to established ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) standard. The specification for B20 biodiesel is defined by ASTM D7467; B100 is ASTM D6751. It is not recommended to buy fuel from a biodiesel blender that cannot produce a specification sheet.
  • Approved by many original equipment manufacturers (OEM's), such as:
    • Cummins
    • Caterpillar
    • Ford Motor Company
    • General Motors
    • John Deere

The National Biodiesel Board is now Clean Fuels Alliance website provides comprehensive information on biodiesel including:

Purchasing B20 for Your Municipal or State Fleet

Currently, there is one approved vendor on Comm-Pass (the state's procurement website) that can provide blended B20 biodiesel. To schedule your delivery (includes service for state departments in zones 1-8), contact:

Joe Cote, contract manager for Dennis K. Burke Inc., at 617-884-7800 or

Preparation for Fuel Arrival

You do not need to make any changes to equipment or vehicle(s) for which you plan to use B20. Although some think you should clean your tank prior to the fuel delivery, we are not aware of anyone who has experienced problems from not cleaning them beforehand.

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