Why Biodiesel Blends Make Sense for C-Stores – CStore Decisions – Convenience Store Decisions


Electric vehicles may be the shiny new object garnering attention right now, but the diesel engine will continue dominating the transportation market for a long time.

John Eichberger, Executive Director of the Fuels Institute, shared some federal data at the National Biodiesel Conference and Expo earlier this year to illustrate the point:

  • 77% of all distillate energy is used by the over-the-road freight market.
  • A 14% increase in registered diesel vehicles is expected by 2035 — including more passenger models.
  • Diesel vehicle miles traveled are projected to increase 23% by 2035.

“Diesel is not dead, period,” he said.

That’s why c-stores should keep trying to capture this market share.

Also, diesel is not just for commercial trucking fleets anymore. Diesel options planned for release this year include some of the most popular passenger vehicles: the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon, and Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and Gladiator. Other brands have already been on the market for a few years, including the Ford F-150, Ram 1500, Chevy Silverado 1500 and Mazda CX-5.

More people care about emissions than ever before.

When considering which fuels to offer your customers, keep in mind the rising emphasis on reducing a vehicle’s carbon footprint. Fleets and individual drivers are turning to renewable fuels to lower their emissions.

Biodiesel is a drop-in solution for all of these customers — and for you. C-stores don’t need to change their infrastructure to offer biodiesel blends, and customers don’t need to modify anything to take advantage of them either.

George Survant, Senior Director of Fleet Relations for NTEA — the Association for the Work Truck Industry — shared survey results finding biodiesel to be the most widely used alternative fuel among work truck fleets and the one in which they’re most interested.

“It’s become the standard against which many other alternative fuels are measured,” Survant said.

Perhaps that’s because biodiesel has been shown to reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 86%.1

But how does that compare to other alternative fuels? The California Air Resources Board (CARB) assigns carbon intensity (CI) scores to fuels, taking into account the total amount of greenhouse gasses emitted for the production and use of a fuel. Here are the average scores for various fuels, with lower numbers representing a more environmentally friendly fuel: 2

  • Biodiesel: 27.0
  • Renewable diesel: 34.6
  • Compressed natural gas from fossil fuels: 79.2
  • Electricity from the California grid: 93.8
  • Petroleum diesel: 100.5

And its quality is not a compromise. In fact, biodiesel is recognized by ASTM International, which has created specifications for the fuel with ASTM D6751. The biodiesel spec requires a minimum Cetane number of 47, whereas the petroleum diesel spec is 40. Higher Cetane equals a shorter ignition time and better engine performance.

Biodiesel also adds lubricity that is lacking in ULSD, which helps fuel injection systems and engines run smoother, quieter and cooler. For more details about how biodiesel works inside an engine, check out this video.

As you can see, biodiesel is not only a solid fuel choice for its performance, but it’s getting noticed for its effectiveness in lowering emissions as well.

With diesel engines still dominant and clean air regulations spreading (not to mention companies developing their own sustainability plans), biodiesel is an easy way to meet multiple customers’ demands.

If you’d like diversify your fuel supply to reach a wider audience, I’d be happy to discuss it with you: [email protected].

1 https://www.biodiesel.org/what-is-biodiesel/biodiesel-sustainability

2 Average biodiesel and renewable diesel CI scores in 2019: https://ww3.arb.ca.gov/fuels/lcfs/lrtqsummaries.htm. Standard values for fossil-based CNG, grid electricity and petroleum diesel: https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/2020_lcfs_fro_oal-approved_unofficial_06302020.pdf

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