Biofuel Oasis sells B20/R80 (20% biodiesel combined with 80% renewable diesel) for $4.99 per gallon. The credit card machine next to our front door is operational 7am-midnight every day.
What is Biodiesel?
Biodiesel is oil that has been modified in a chemical process called transesterification in which the glycerine is removed from the oil. The resulting product is thinner than vegetable oil and can power a diesel engine as a fuel with NO modifications or conversion needed. It can also be blended with petroleum diesel in any proportions, right in your tank. If you can’t find biodiesel you can still use petroleum diesel.
Biodiesel blends: You may have noticed biodiesel labeled as B5, B20, B50 etc. The number next to the “B” indicates the percentage of biodiesel found at that particular location. B5 means the fuel is 95% petroleum diesel with only 5% biodiesel blended in; B20 is 80% petroleum diesel with 20% biodiesel. At Biofuel Oasis we specialize in selling B20/R80, “R” indicates Renewable Diesel, a newer biofuel also made from vegetable oil. The alternative diesel fuel at the Biofuel Oasis is 100% petroleum free! Our customers have experienced confusion by stations just using the word “biodiesel” when they are selling low blends like B5 (95% petro, 5% biodiesel). Be sure to ask what percentage biodiesel it is before filling your tank, so you can make an informed decision. The BioFuel Oasis is the only station in the East Bay selling biodiesel.
Sustainable Biodiesel: Not all Biodiesel is created equal. BioFuel Oasis is committed to selling and sourcing biodiesel made from recycled vegetable oil. Biodiesel made from virgin agricultural oils can displace food crops, can exacerbate the social and environmental problems of industrial agriculture and can have a large carbon footprint because it is often shipped from overseas. We prioritize sourcing biodiesel made within a 200 mile radius of Berkeley.
Straight Vegetable Oil is not the same as Biodiesel. When people talk about converting a diesel they are usually talking about the modifications needed to run it off of straight vegetable oil (SVO) or waste vegetable oil (WVO). In an SVO system, the oil is thinned by heating the fuel tank and/or fuel lines before it is sent to the fuel injectors. SVO systems have not been in use for as long as biodiesel and are still somewhat experimental.
Benefits of Biodiesel
Easy – If you drive a diesel car, no conversion to your vehicle is needed, and biodiesel can be splashblended with diesel at any time in your fuel tank.
Non-Toxic – Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel to have completed the EPA Tier I and II health testing. The test results concluded that biodiesel is non-toxic and biodegradable, posing no threat to human health.
NonFlammable – Biodiesel will only ignite at a very high temperature (350° F). As a comparison, gasoline ignites at -43° F.
Good for Your Engine – Tests show that biodiesel is more lubricating to both your fuel injection pump and engine than diesel fuel and so may prolong your engine life.
Renewable – Biodiesel is made from 85% vegetable oil, a renewable resource.
Cleaner Emissions – Greenhouse gases, particulates, and carcinogens are greatly reduced.
Sustainable – In a cradle to grave life cycle analysis, biodiesel comes out positively. For example, one study showed that biodiesel yields 3.2 units of fuel product energy for every 1 unit of fossil energy consumed in its life cycle. By contrast, 1.2 units of fossil resources are used to make 1 unit of diesel fuel.
Cautions of Using Biodiesel in Your Vehicle
Paint – Over time, biodiesel may dissolve the paint on your vehicle. Wipe off immediately or wash with a little soap and water to prevent this from happening. At our pumps at the BioFuel Oasis, we have red rags and bottles of nontoxic degreaser for you to use.
Rubber Hoses and Seals – Most pre-1996 vehicles and some later model cars (all Mercedes) have non-biodiesel compatible fuel lines. Gradually, over 6 months to a year, biodiesel will degrade these fuel lines, which will become malleable, weepy or spongy before they completely melt. Check under your hood periodically and replace any degraded fuel lines and seals with a biodiesel resistant synthetic, such as Viton or A1 grade Marine fuel line. The BioFuel Oasis sells viton fuel lines that are biodiesel resistant.
Fuel Filter Clogging – Biodiesel is a great solvent which will clean out your entire fuel system. Your vehicle may have a lot of sludge in your fuel tank/system built up over the years from running diesel fuel. Biodiesel will dissolve the diesel residue; if there’s enough, it may clog your fuel filter. The symptom of fuel filter clogging is a power loss; you put your foot on the accelerator pedal, and the vehicle responds very slowly or will only go up to 30 m.p.h. If your car has been running on petroleum diesel for many years, we recommend changing your fuel filter 2 months after switching to biodiesel. This should catch the filter clogging early enough before you have power loss. Keep an extra fuel filter in your vehicle, learn how to change it, and be prepared. Detailed instructions on changing the filter in a VW TDI can be found on Fred’s TDI Club FAQ page.
Uninformed Mechanics – Mechanics who are unfamiliar with biodiesel may misdiagnose unrelated problems as being caused by biodiesel and perform unnecessary fuel system purges or other expensive “repairs.” We recommend locating a biodiesel-friendly mechanic in your area before you need one. Never be afraid to get a second opinion from an informed mechanic before allowing expensive work to be performed. Lastly, please call us when a mechanic blames a problem on biodiesel. We are happy to call the mechanic. This is especially beneficial before you’ve had work done, as we can save you unnecessary repair.
What If I’m Not Going to Drive My Car for Months?
If you are going to leave your car for a few months without driving it, put in petro diesel and add additives to the tank: biocides to prevent microbial growth and stability additives to slow the fuel from breaking down/oxidizing. Also, consider loaning your car to a friend so they drive it regularly (and can keep it on biodiesel).