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posted: 11/18/2012 5:09 AM

Biodiesel blends worry fleet owners

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Here's a follow-up to my Nov. 4 column on biodiesel fuel blends. Many diesel fuel suppliers in Illinois are switching from B5 (5 percent biodiesel) to B20 (20 percent biodiesel) fuel.

Q. I read Sunday's article. I work for FedEx Express as a technician. We just went through 2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (commercial truck/cargo van) training. We were told by the Mercedes-Benz boys that if you by a CDI (capacitor discharge ignition) diesel vehicle in Illinois you are required to sign an engine warranty waiver due to the fact you can't buy B5 in Illinois. It's worse in other states, Minnesota being one off the top of my head with B20 or higher biodiesel.

As usual the politicians in the corn states are dictating policy. No one really knows the ramifications of the ethanol additive. But apparently Mercedes-Benz is not willing to chance it.

Just a little food for thought. Thanks for listening.

A. Thanks for the additional information. The more I read about this, it appears to be a pretty big problem.

It seems most if not all of the European manufacturers do not recommend anything higher than B5. I believe they are working on it, but right now it is causing problems simply because it voids their warranties.

It seems crazy that we are using our food for fuel and creating a whole host of other problems in the process. While they use ethanol in gasoline, the biodiesel is made from agricultural byproducts and coproducts like soybean oil mixed with petroleum diesel.

According to the Biodiesel website (www.biodiesel.org), to be called biodiesel the fuel must meet strict guidelines. As for me, it seems we should use fuel for fuel and leave our food out of it. It does not work well anyway.

Stay tuned. I am sure more craziness is coming our way.

• Douglas Automotive is at 312 S. Hager Ave., Barrington, (847) 381-0454, and 123 Virginia Road, Crystal Lake, (815) 356-0440. For information, visit douglasautomotive.com. Send questions to underthehood@dailyherald.com.

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