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NATSO Blog: Biodiesel

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It’s Time to Think About Your Winter Fuel Blends

Posted in: Fuel and Trucking, Biodiesel

Most of us probably don’t want to hear it, but winter is around the corner. That means truck stops, travel centers and fleets in cold-weather regions need to start thinking about their winter fuel usage.

It’s also a good time to talk about one of the lingering misperceptions about biodiesel: that it doesn’t perform well in cold weather.

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Trends Watch: What Declining Gas Consumption Means for Your Truckstop

Posted in: Fuel and Trucking, Biodiesel

Where do you see your fuel operations heading in 10 years, 20 years — how about 32 years? That may seem like a long way out, but with the ever-changing transportation sector, forward-thinking truck stops and travel plazas are looking that far ahead now.

And what they’re finding is the future of gasoline is uncertain. That may be putting it nicely. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that motor gasoline consumption will decrease 31 percent between 2017 and 2050. Why? The main culprit is increasing fuel economy standards.

So how should you react? Think of it this way: What would a 31 percent drop in gasoline sales mean for your business? Also, what would it mean for your in-store sales if traffic at your pumps dropped significantly?

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How Biodiesel Can Help Increase Your Fuel Margins

Posted in: Fuel and Trucking, Biodiesel

Winter is finally in the rearview mirror and the busy summer travel season is almost here. This is the time of year many of the travel centers REG works with increase their biodiesel blend levels to take advantage of the economic benefits the renewable fuel brings.

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Get The Inside Scoop On The Newest Renewable Fuel Blend

Posted in: Fuel and Trucking, Biodiesel

The latest innovation in the fuel industry takes advantage of the benefits of two leading renewable fuels — ones many truck stops are familiar with.

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3 Ways Distilled Biodiesel Can Give Truckstops a Competitive Advantage

Posted in: Fuel and Trucking, Biodiesel

Each year around this time, when temperatures are at their lowest, is when the number of questions I receive about biodiesel Cloud Point seem to hit their peak.

Cloud Point is the temperature at which wax crystals cause fuel to appear cloudy — and it’s commonly used to determine biodiesel’s cold performance properties.

When I get those questions — or when I hear concerns about a higher Cloud Point product — I use it as an opportunity to share with that person the advantages of biodiesel that has been purified using distillation.

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5 Common Biodiesel Myths — And The Facts That Debunk Them

Posted in: Fuel and Trucking, Biodiesel

You may think the cold weather so many of us are experiencing would make me reluctant to boast about biodiesel.

You’d be wrong.

Questions about cold weather operability are common for those of us in the biodiesel industry, and I’m happy to answer them — because biodiesel blends are used by fleets and truckers problem-free throughout North America, including during the depths of winter.

Yet biodiesel’s alleged cold weather issues is one of the most persistent myths related to biodiesel. So in my last blog post of the year, I’m going to give you the facts on this and a few other myths.

Myth: Biodiesel doesn’t work in cold weather.

Fact: Just like with petroleum diesel, proper additive use and storage and blending methods allow biodiesel to be used even when the temperature drops below freezing. And keep in mind that 90 percent of a B10 blend is petroleum diesel, which impacts its cold weather properties much more than the biodiesel.

You don’t have to take my word on biodiesel’s cold weather capabilities, though. Click here for a short video on G&D Integrated, an Illinois-based for-hire carrier that has seen engine performance stay strong since switching its large diesel fleet to a B20 blend year-round.

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Tips From a Truck Stop Located in a ‘Major Hub for Trucking’

Posted in: Fuel and Trucking, Biodiesel

If you could pick an ideal location for a truck stop, you’d have a hard time doing better than Fontana, California's Fontana Truck Stop Center.

It’s in an industrial area full of distribution centers, manufacturers and equipment dealerships. And it’s near the intersection of two interstates that funnel traffic to and from Los Angeles, which is about 40 miles to the west.

“Fontana is a major hub for trucking,” says truck stop co-owner Lonnie Tabbaa. “You have all the big industries here. And we service all the major fleets and the smaller ones, both local and out-of-state drivers.”

That it’s a great location is not a secret, however, and the fierce competition for drivers means success is not guaranteed for Fontana Truck Stop Center.

So how does it differentiate itself? One way is by offering renewable fuels, including biodiesel blends and a blend of biodiesel and renewable hydrocarbon diesel (RHD).

“The sustainability trend is very important to us,” Tabbaa says. “A lot of fleets are sending their trucks to places that have cleaner-burning fuels. Also, we see better margins with renewable fuels than regular diesel fuel. They’re good for business.”

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Biodiesel, Food Service Innovations On Display At NATSO Tour

Posted in: Fuel and Trucking, Biodiesel

This summer, the NATSO Foundation brought truck stop operators from across the country to Illinois to learn how biodiesel can help their businesses and to see the latest food service innovations during NATSO's Food and Fuel Study Tour.

Along with sponsoring the event, REG hosted attendees at our biorefinery in Seneca, Illinois.

They toured the facility and learned about biodiesel production, the financial and performance benefits of biodiesel and blending systems. Then they were off to two travel centers to see firsthand how the locations had successfully incorporated biodiesel blends into their fuel lineups.

If you couldn’t attend, don’t worry. You can watch the highlights in our video of the tour.

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Five Answers to Biodiesel Questions from Food and Fuel Study Tour Expert

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Biodiesel

Operators are turning to biodiesel to grow their business and increase margins, but the fuel often comes with questions. During a recent webinar, Grow Your Business with Biodiesel Blended Fuel, Jon Scharingson, executive director, sales and marketing for Renewable Energy Group, and David Fialkov, vice president of government relations at NATSO, shared their insight into the financial, performance and environmental benefits of biodiesel and provided answers to operators who are investigating biodiesel.

Operators looking to learn more about biodiesel should attend NATSO's Food and Fuel Study Tour that will take place July 18-20 in Chicago. The tour will include a visit to an REG biodiesel plant and truckstops that offer biodiesel on July 19.

“We’re going to do a deep dive on biodiesel blending economics, including talking about the value of RINs, how to trade RINs and what companies are out there to assist you,” Scharingson said.

The tour will also show biodiesel equipment and cover fuel specifications. On July 20 operators will visit food service disruptors not in the truckstop industry.

Here are five things operators wanted to know:

Q: What are the issues with putting B10 or B20 into an underground storage tank that has never had biodiesel?

A: Scharingson said operators that have a good tank maintenance program in place and regularly clean and inspect tanks shouldn’t have a problem putting B5 to B20 blends in an existing tank. “You’d likely want to clean your filters more frequently at first because the solvency properties of biodiesel are going to clean up some of that gunk that just formed over time,” he said.

Scharingson added that operators should start with a B5 blend for a few weeks before moving to a B15 or B20 blend. “The more biodiesel you have in there the quicker the solvency properties are going to take effect,” he said...

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When To Buy Blended Biodiesel And When To Blend Yourself from Food and Fuel Study Study Tour Expert

Posted in: Fuel and Trucking, Biodiesel

To blend or not to blend? That is the question many fuel retailers, including travel center operators, ask themselves when they make the decision to add biodiesel to their fuel offerings.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Each location needs to weigh its individual circumstances. But there is information that can help you make that decision.

Let’s take these one at a time.

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