November 2005

Biodiesel fuel legislation makes Minnesota history

St. Paul, MN— Minnesota became the first state in the nation to require that diesel fuel sold in the state contain two-percent biodiesel. Governor Tim Pawlenty and Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson kicked off the biodiesel standard at a school bus garage in Mendota Heights, before traveling to biodiesel plants in Albert Lea, Brewster, and Moorhead.

Biodiesel is an alternative fuel made from domestic, renewable oils and fats. In Minnesota it is made primarily from soybean oil. Mixtures of biodiesel and petrodiesel are called “biodiesel blends,” with B2 being two-percent biodiesel. Biodiesel blends are already used by hundreds of vehicle fleets, including the U.S. military, Yellowstone National Park, and various Minnesota cities and counties.

The 2002 Minnesota Legislature passed a law requiring that diesel fuel sold in Minnesota contain at least two-percent biodiesel (B2). The requirement was designed to take effect one month after the state had certified that it had the capacity to produce eight million gallons of biodiesel. Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson certified this production capacity in the August 29 edition of the state register, and the requirement began September 29, 2005.

B2 can be used in conventional vehicles without any engine modifications. According to the National Biodiesel Board, all diesel engine makers with equipment in North America support the use of up to five percent biodiesel meeting national and local specifications. Independent tests have shown that biodiesel reduces harmful vehicle emissions such as unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter. Minnesota has three biodiesel plants, located in Albert Lea, Brewster and Redwood Falls. They have a combined annual production capacity of nearly 63 million gallons.

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