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Fleets favor using biodiesel, survey finds

Medium-duty truck and engine manufacturers could see fewer sales in 2004 if they don't show more active support of biodiesel, a cleaner-burning alternative fuel that can be made from any fat or vegetable oil. That is the conclusion of a survey presented to 26 auto and diesel engine manufacturers, in which most fleet managers said the manufacturers' level of support for biodiesel would affect future purchase decisions.

The survey of 53 fleets representing more than 50,000 diesel-powered vehicles found that 91% favor using biodiesel. Of the fleets surveyed, 45% now use biodiesel, and among them a 20% blend of biodiesel (B20) is the fuel of choice.

ASG Renaissance, a national technical and communications services firm, conducted the survey for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), a non-profit trade association that coordinates the biodiesel industry. Survey results and the final report can be accessed at www.biodiesel.org/fleet_report.

Respondents reported the higher cost of biodiesel compared with regular diesel, lack of fuel availability, and reluctance of vehicle and engine manufacturers to strongly support biodiesel as reasons for not using biodiesel.

More than 400 fleets use biodiesel nationwide. The fuel performs comparably to diesel fuel, with similar Btu content and higher cetane and lubricity, according to the NBB.

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