Most manufacturers, including heavy-hitters like Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, allow the use of a 5 percent biodiesel blend (aka B5) without violating the terms of the car's original factory warranty. What happens if you use a higher biodiesel concentration? That's a good question, and the answer isn't particularly clear at the moment. According to Steve Keyes, Volkswagen's director of public relations, "All Volkswagen TDI models are warranted for the use of up to a B5 blend. Blends of biodiesel higher than B5 void the Volkswagen warranty."

Case closed, right? Not so fast, say the Northwest Biofuels Association and the Oregon Auto Dealer's Association. These two organizations have released a joint statement suggesting that the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act from 1975 doesn't allow a manufacturer to void a vehicle's warranty based on the fuel that the owner is using to power it.

We're not so sure it's a good idea to go against a manufacturer's stated recommendations without knowing the consequences, regardless of whether it voids the warranty or not. Even if a vehicle seems to run just fine on high biodiesel blends, it's important to remember that modern diesel engines and emissions systems have computers that may make assumptions about the fuel that's being used. We'd wager that this is an issue that will continue to be hashed out in the coming months and years.

[Source: Green Inc. via Domestic Fuel | Photo: .imelda]


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