Mankato, Minn.—Minnesota is cementing its role as a leader in the biodiesel industry by becoming the first state to move to a 10 percent biodiesel blend (B10) in its diesel fuel supply. Beginning July 1, diesel fuel sold in Minnesota will contain a B10 blend during the summer months.
“I’m very pleased that common sense is still alive and well and that our legislators voted for what was good for Minnesota,” says George Goblish, president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) and a farmer from Vesta, Minn. “The decision to continue moving forward is good for air quality in Minnesota, energy diversity and its good for the economy.”
The escalation to B10 was part of a bill passed in 2008 which called for the move to happen in 2013. Because of inadequate blending infrastructure in one area of the state and a regulatory concern, the move was pushed back to 2014. Legislation brought forward during the Minnesota legislative session that ended May 16, attempted to derail the bill but was unsuccessful. B10 will be available at the pump from April through September. Supplies will revert to a B5 blend the rest of the year.
Made primarily from vegetable oils like soybean oil, biodiesel has been shown to substantially reduce particulate and greenhouse gas emissions. The American Lung Association of Minnesota says the state’s current B5 inclusion has been shown to reduce emissions equal to removing nearly 35,000 vehicles from the road and removes an estimated 644 million pounds of carbon dioxide annually. Expanding Minnesota’s biodiesel percentage to B10 would further reduce harmful air emissions. This is important as the vast majority of Minnesota’s diesel-powered vehicle fleet is of pre-2007 era when cleaner engines and fuels were not yet required. Because of their longevity and durability, many of those vehicles are still on the road.
“This sends a very important message that Minnesota remains a leader, because the state’s B2 mandate back in 2002 really jumpstarted the biodiesel industry nationwide,” says Ed Hegland, an Appleton, Minn. farmer and member of the National Biodiesel Board’s governing board. “Proving that a state can now go to B10 is a significant step in the right direction for renewable fuels.”
“This shows the state wants to be an environmental leader and protect it through a sensible approach,” adds Ron Marr, biodiesel marketing director for Minnesota Soybean Processors in Brewster, Minn. “This creates a dynamic within the state where dollars from agriculture, trucking and consumers stay within Minnesota. It’s a good economic program for Minnesota.”
The original 2008 legislation has been amended during the session which pushed back an increase to B20 until 2018. However, many farmers, public transportation systems and commercial carriers already use the higher blends, particularly when the price is advantageous.
“We are definitely blazing trails here,” says Marr. “A lot of other states are watching Minnesota to see if the move to B10 would happen. They’re thinking that if it we can do it, they can, too.”
MSGA is the nation’s largest farmer-controlled soybean membership organization, representing more than 4,000 members. MSGA’s goal is to assure profitable soybean farming by pursuing favorable agriculture legislation, monitoring government policies and supporting research and market development activities.