• Dec 27, 2012
The fight to be the most popular fuel for commercial trucks wages on between the natural gas and clean diesel factions, with alt-player biodiesel joining forces with the Diesel Technology Forum team. The National Biodiesel Board joined up with the forum to improve diesel's reputation in Washington, and beyond, at a time when natural gas is gaining support.

NBB is made up of 260 biodiesel producers that are on a mission to bring the alternative fuel to the nation as an additive to diesel (similar to ethanol in E10 and E15), and as its own alternative fuel available at a limited number of fuel stations. Joining the DTF will help the industry "fight for clean diesel technology," the groups said.

The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit organization supported by BP, General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, Mazda, Volvo and Volkswagen. German automakers have been selling a lot more diesel-powered vehicles in the US, recently and other automakers are making plans to add diesel engines to their product lineups.

For fleets looking to buy more medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks, natural gas is becoming popular due to its domestic production and cheaper pricing. Natural gas has been costing users 30 percent to 40 percent less in fuel costs for the energy equivalent of diesel.

Natural gas providers, and makers of natural gas vehicles, are benefitting from the trend where recent booms in production has brought natural gas prices to their lowest levels in 10 years. While prices have fluctuated quite a lot, producers says that supplies will remain high for years because of shale drilling and hydraulic fracturing (also known as "fracking").

The fracking issue is one likely to come up in the debate over which alternative fuel is the cleanest and safest way to go. Biodiesel advocates are sure to mention it in Washington, along with the US Environmental Protection agency recently implementing a 28-pecent increase in the amount of biodiesel mandated in 2013 as part of compliance with the 2007 Renewable Fuels Act.

As for clean diesel, DTF technical director Steve Howell emphasized the fuel's ultra-low-sulfur biodiesel blends, strong fuel economy ratings, horsepower and durability. Biodiesel combines a low-carbon fuel with the increased fuel efficiency of new technology diesel engines, which means that it's well positioned to be the "clean – and green – technology of the future," he said.


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  • 36 Comments
      Ron Wagner
      • 2 Years Ago
      If high priced fuel is the way we want to go then biodiesel is the answer. If low priced fuel, that benefits the whole economy, is what we want then CNG and LNG are the way to go. Natural gas is the future of energy. It is replacing dirty old coal plants, and dangerous expensive nuclear plants. It will fuel cars, vans, buses, locomotives, aircraft, ships, tractors, air conditioners, engines of all kinds. It costs far less. It will help keep us out of more useless wars, where we shed our blood and money. It is used to make many products. It lowers CO2 emissions. Over 3,700 natural gas story links on my free blog. An annotated bibliography of live links, updated daily. The worldwide picture of natural gas. ronwagnersrants . blogspot . com
        wrxfrk16
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ron Wagner
        Replacing dirty coal by setting people's tap water on fire? Natural Gas is a potential solution but there still needs to be strides taken in extracting it without obliterating the ecosystems its being extracted from.
          kevin
          • 2 Years Ago
          @wrxfrk16
          caps on garbage dumps will be a partial source for natural gas (methane) via decomposition.
          Burticus
          • 2 Years Ago
          @wrxfrk16
          Youve been watching to many fantasy films .
          Ziv
          • 2 Years Ago
          @wrxfrk16
          wrx, FUD is not a way to win a discussion. Natural gas is clean and the greens hate it mainly because it is cleaner than coal and cheaper than wind or solar. Gasland is a sad joke, natural gas drilling has only been a problem for well water 2 or 3 times in the past 10 years, but if you look at agit-prop documentaries you would think that half of the thousands of natural gas drilling operations were causing problems. But the truly sad thing is, you really believe that agit-prop.
        BARRY AND KATHY
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ron Wagner
        Not to mention that it is easily produced by the rotting of everything insterad of taking millions of years like oil and coal. Almost unlimited supply.
        HAT1701D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ron Wagner
        The problem with natural gas is that you can't generate the horse power and torque that you can with Diesel. To even attempt requires serious engine and drive train changes that would significantly increase engine cost. I know because I work in the diesel engine market. I build large diesels and gas variants of the exact same models. The cylinder volumes are identical. However, the 20 cylinder gas burners with their most powerful, high output turbos and adaptations can't generate as much horsepower as the 12 cylinder diesels that are set up for maximum power arrangement. The biggest out put 16 cylinder diesels we manufacture in the class of engines I deal with can generate over 5000 horsepower and are used in large off road mining trucks, wheel loaders, etc. The 20 cylinders can produce just over 2000 horsepower and are limited to power generation. They attempted to convert a 20 cylinder ( some years ago ) to diesel to see if the potential was there BUT the crankshaft could not handle the torque generated and it twisted and then bent. Freightliner want's to produce engines for their semis no doubt. The problem is they will have to over come the lack of torque which translates to pulling power. The ability to pull is ESSENTIAL for cargo hauling, especially in the mountains. Perhaps they can increase the gas and air ratio in each cylinder by overpressurizing them...BUT then you would simply be using more fuel and thus negating any fuel/cost savings.
        George Jr.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ron Wagner
        we do not have enough natural gas to do that. and even if we did the more it go used the pricer it would get
      • 2 Years Ago
      What I would like to see an article on is how much does it actually cost to produce diesel fuel vs unleaded gas. Remember when diesel was only 60 cents per gallon when unleaded was only 99 cents per gallon ? That's because diesel is a byproduct of making unleaded gas !!!!! It costs the refineries almost nothing to make yet fuel stations are charging $1.00 per gallon more to maintain exorbitant profits at our expense !!!! If we stood up to the refineries and demanded that they be forced to price fuel accordingly, refiners such as Exxon - Mobile would not be making 10 BILLION DOLLARS in profit !!!!!!!!
        keith
        • 2 Years Ago
        that is 1 fine question i also would like to know why diesel is like 80-90 cents higher than reg gas
          bennett975
          • 2 Years Ago
          @keith
          One cause in Ca is that the STATE added additional taxes on diesel so it went above the price of gasoline in 2008.
        Tweaker
        • 2 Years Ago
        Thats not how they do it anymore. They break it all down to molecular chains and then rebuild it how they want - diesel or unleaded. Something like that anyway....
      • 2 Years Ago
      what id like to do is fihgure out how to take a gallon of gas and turn it into diesel there has to be a way , then it would cost half as much cause youd get way more. there f ing us on diesel prices and have been it cost nothing to make it and realistically i dont care natural gas diesel regular i wont be here in 10,000 years and could care less selfish hell yea live for now screw green i do my part i piss in the trees
        BARRY AND KATHY
        • 2 Years Ago
        Diesel is comparitively expensive even though it takes less refining because it is used so extensively overseas. The demand means they can charge more for it there so they send it instead of selling it to us for less. makes for lower supplies here thus higher price.
      Al Davis
      • 2 Years Ago
      We had to stop using the bio fuel mixed with the diesel fuel because our fuel delivery to the engines kept getting clogged up and all gummed-up. Engines were shutting down because they couldn't get fuel.
      brotherkenny4
      • 2 Years Ago
      As Americans we are followers, as the TV tells us we should be. Thus we like to line up behind something. Like biofuels or natural gas or ethanol or whatever. Our natural tendency to "keep it simple stupid" means we follow and usually follow some industrial master, or at least industrial shill, with all the right things to say about the fuel that they promote and why you should be behind that particular fuel. In reality it would benefit us to use the niche fuels as much as possible to prevent us being totally dependent on gasoline or oil.
      guy
      • 2 Years Ago
      The gubmint has mandated all kinds of constraints on trucks already. We have to run "DEF" in in our trucks now and retrofit our old ones starting next year. Soon you'll be paying $7 a gallon for milk! I'm not kidding either. Nothing in the news but all you need to do is stop by a truck stop and ask around. You'll be scared then. If we switch to propane/natural gas then the price of that will just skyrocket. Don't worry, the oil companies will be fine.
      monza866
      • 2 Years Ago
      It seems bio-fuels like adding ethanol to gas produces an inferior product and causes problems with many engines. On the natural gas side I have seen performance gains when used with diesel. French fry oil does nothing to encourage me to put it in my truck.
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sad to see alternate fuel technologies in such disarray. Natural gas is a very valuable energy resource, with the lowest emissions of fossil fuels. In LPG form, this technology has proven to be reliable and economic in many nations, for over 40 years. Natural gas is also able to produce 'cleaner' electricity than coal fired power plants. Large scale bio-diesel production is neither reliable, nor economically viable. It's just another blind ally in the search for alternate energy, and bio-deisel/deisel blend advocates are simply vested interests protecting heavy investments in existing fossil fuel technology. It would be easy to say, ''A pox on both their houses", but without a viable replacement technology available for heavy transport, cleaner diesel technology must make do for now.
        Ron Wagner
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        CNG and LNG are very viable, and are here and now in the USA. See cngprices.com for stations. For LNG see http://www.cleanenergyfuels.com/pdf/CE-OS.ANGH.012412.pdf
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ron Wagner
          @ Ron Wagner Ron, thank you for your reply. Although the reference you provided is actually just an advertisement for a company selling LNG, it does indeed show the potential of NG products to replace diesel.
      1040advocate
      • 2 Years Ago
      NG and Propane for home use etc..deisel for cars & trucks seems like a pretty even split to me
      Tweaker
      • 2 Years Ago
      ""The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit organization supported by BP, General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, Mazda, Volvo and Volkswagen. German automakers have been selling a lot more diesel-powered vehicles in the US, recently and other automakers are making plans to add diesel engines to their product lineups."" And yet, Freightliner, (owned by Mercedes) is pushing natural gas.
      Tom E. Cathey
      • 2 Years Ago
      has anyone tryed mixing nat. gas into diesel?. I know propane added to diesel works great. iT WILL add more horse power and eng. runs quieter. The process must be metered corrective or will blow the eng.
      mapacool
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yeah screw the oil companys like they've been screwing us for years.
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