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Trends Alert: Diesel Engines Still Power America — and Will for a Long Time

Posted in: Fuel and Trucking, Biodiesel


/// Guest post by contributor Renewable Energy Group

There’s a lot of buzz going around about new fuels for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. While research and development of cleaner fuels is always a good idea, the reality is liquid fuels will power U.S. fleets for decades to come.

That’s led some fleets to ask about renewable diesel as a solution. Renewable diesel is a good fuel, but most of the nation’s supply goes to the West Coast, and it will be a long time before it’s readily available elsewhere.

The fact is, biodiesel blends are needed to meet U.S. fleets’ fuel needs and sustainability initiatives for decades to come.  


Trends show that travel center and truck stop operators should count on a strong trucking industry that runs on liquid fuels like biodiesel blends:

All that truck buying is a huge investment in the future of the diesel engine. Companies like mine, Renewable Energy Group, have a simple message: Using biodiesel blends today is a great way to dramatically reduce emissions in diesel-powered vehicles, and to do so in an easy-to-implement, cost-effective manner that protects fleet performance.

Travel centers and truckstops are a big part of this trend. The fleets pulling into your locations are overwhelmingly running on liquid fuels. By offering biodiesel blends, you can take advantage of their desire to fill up with a fuel that they’re familiar with but one that is blended with a renewable fuel that offers emissions, price and performance advantages.

Emissions — Compared with petroleum diesel, a B20 blend has been proven to reduce particulate matter by over 10 percent, carbon monoxide emissions by over 10 percent and unburned hydrocarbons by over 20 percent in heavy-duty highway engines.

Price — Biodiesel typically costs less than petroleum diesel. That’s something that can help your fuel margins, in addition to making your customers happy.

Performance — Your customers won’t accept filling up with a fuel that hurts their performance. Biodiesel has a higher Cetane number, increased lubricity and burns cleaner than petroleum diesel.

Biodiesel is also easy for retailers to incorporate. You can purchase blended fuel from your supplier and use your current infrastructure, or you can blend the fuel yourself. The latter option typically shows a quick return on investment, as Sapp Bros. Travel Centers shared during a NATSO Food and Fuel Study Tour a couple years ago.

“To get started with biodiesel, our infrastructure upgrades were minimal,” Sapp Bros. Vice President Kevin Cassidy said. “It was around an eight-month payback on the cost.”

For more information on biodiesel and biodiesel blended fuel, visit

Renewable Energy Group. REG is a leading North American advanced biofuels producer and developer of renewable chemicals. REG utilizes a nationwide production, distribution and logistics system as part of an integrated value chain model to focus on converting natural fats, oils and greases into advanced biofuels and converting diverse feedstocks into renewable chemicals. Learn more about Renewable Energy Group.

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About the Author

Troy Shoen

Troy Shoen

Troy Shoen has been an expert in marketing various aspects of the advanced biofuels industry for the past seven years. For six years he managed marketing efforts for a biofuels feedstock and animal feed ingredient company before joining Renewable Energy Group as Senior Manager, Marketing in July 2015.

He currently leads the efforts to promote the economic and value-added benefits of integrating biodiesel into distributor and retailer fuel programs.  

Troy holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Iowa in addition to Bachelor Degrees in Journalism and Communication Studies.