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Old 01-29-2019, 11:12 AM   #1
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ULSD and B-20

Im trying to figure out the difference between ULSD #2 and B-20 diesel. If a station advertises ULSD and all they have is B-20, is that ok? I always thought ULSD #2 and B-20 were different. Also, is it a federal law that any bio-diesel above B-5 is supposed to be marked on the pump?
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Old 01-29-2019, 11:30 AM   #2
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Here is the federal government labeling requirements: https://afdc.energy.gov/laws/6537
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Old 01-29-2019, 11:49 AM   #3
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B20 merely means the fuel is 20% derived from biologically renewable sources, e.g. plants of some sort. The other 80% is petroleum from the ground. B10 would be 10% biologic sources, and so on.


ULSD refers to the legal specification for the diesel sulfur content (Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel). All highway use diesel fuel in the US is required to be ULSD, so you can be confident that any public fuel station is selling ULSD, regardless of the amount of biologic content.
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Old 01-29-2019, 02:51 PM   #4
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Thanks High Desert. I can assume if a pump doesn’t have a “B” sticker on it, it should be less than B5.

I’m not supposed to use anything above B5 in my Detroit and I have a hard time determining ahead of time what the truck stops have. Most in Cali are B20. I’ve called ahead and most of the folks answering don’t have a clue what I’m asking, and that could be because I don’t know what I’m asking. Thanks Gary, It sounds like B20 can be ULSD too.
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Old 01-29-2019, 04:37 PM   #5
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Thanks High Desert. I can assume if a pump doesnt have a B sticker on it, it should be less than B5.
Up to and including B5. Higher than that requires a "Bxx" sticker. B5 and down is supposed to have a sticker stating that it may contain bio diesel up to 5%.
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Old 01-30-2019, 01:11 PM   #6
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Have you inquired at Detroit Diesel re the B5 limit? I ask, because engine manufacturers have revised their "B" upwards now that the effects (or not) are better understood as a result of actual experience. And because the Renewable Fuels requirement for highway diesel has increased to the point where B10 or B20 is mostly all that is available at typical fuel stops. I don't see how Detroit can expect to build & sell engines with a B5 requirement with fuel in limited supply.

I notice that DD has a procedure if fuels greater than B5 are used, basically changing filters more often.

https://ddcsn-ddc.freightliner.com/c..._Statement.pdf
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Old 01-30-2019, 01:54 PM   #7
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I notice that DD has a procedure if fuels greater than B5 are used, basically changing filters more often.

https://ddcsn-ddc.freightliner.com/c..._Statement.pdf

Same with my Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel for greater than B5 up to and including B20 - more frequent oil and filter changes, including fuel filter (and frequent water drain intervals). Fewer miles, and shorter time intervals, whichever come first.
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Old 01-30-2019, 05:27 PM   #8
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Thanks for the link Gary. Very informative and a different position for Detroit than when my coach was new. I’ll give them a call and see what they say.
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Old 01-30-2019, 05:52 PM   #9
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In my view, bio got a deserved reputation for unpredictable outcomes back when it was being cooked up by all sorts of people in back yards, garages, and small operations using varying feed stocks.

Bio today is a commodity, produced with good QC by major fuel suppliers. But the people writing manuals are always behind the curve. Remember when rotating radial tires was verboten? The warnings lasted many years longer than the early radial tires did.
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Old 01-31-2019, 11:48 AM   #10
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I'm with Finance - I thnk there is a lot of old school prejudice agains biodiesel that stems form early days. "Biodiesel" covers a lot of fuels, including home brew stuff and small produces who recycle cooking oils and such. Brand name fuel stations selling fuels from major refiners aren't handling junk full of moisture or contaminants. The biodiesel they sell meets ASTM specs for ULSD, just like the pure "dino" fuel.
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Old 01-31-2019, 12:53 PM   #11
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I'm with Finance - I thnk there is a lot of old school prejudice agains biodiesel that stems form early days. "Biodiesel" covers a lot of fuels, including home brew stuff and small produces who recycle cooking oils and such. Brand name fuel stations selling fuels from major refiners aren't handling junk full of moisture or contaminants. The biodiesel they sell meets ASTM specs for ULSD, just like the pure "dino" fuel.
We ran bio diesel in very expensive tractors from the local coops

Way to much liability to have issues with quality so you are 100% right
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Old 01-31-2019, 01:17 PM   #12
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The EPA has maintained current requirements for bio-diesel mix, if i'm reading this correctly: https://www.epa.gov/renewable-fuel-s...el-volume-2019
As to content, bio-diesel is used to replace lost lubricity during the refining process that removes sulfur. It's virtually impossible to buy diesel fuel that does not contain at least B2/2% bio-diesel; which of course is not required to be labeled.
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