It appears the press has been clogged with cold weather gunk again, passing along hype and failing to freely flow the researched, verified truth. This time, there have been dozens of reports in print, television, and radio that hundreds of school children were left stranded in the cold when biodiesel fuel school buses failed to operate in the cold northern climate last week. It seems that it’s big news to bash the alternative fuel business, preferring to stay firmly entrenched in OPEC’s firm grasp.
The official report by the state of Minnesota is as follows:
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Citing an independent study, the Minnesota Department of Commerce reiterated today that biodiesel was not the culprit that caused school buses in Bloomington, Minn. to malfunction last week.
“The problems with school buses in Minnesota had nothing to do with biodiesel,” said Bill Walsh, Communications Director for the Minnesota Department of Commerce. “An independent investigation confirmed what we believed last week – when it gets to 20 degrees below zero in the Midwest, diesel engines have trouble operating unless they are properly maintained – whether or not they are using a biodiesel blend.”
The report concluded components in diesel fuel caused the problem, even though the Bloomington School District claimed it was biodiesel.
“Nothing is more important than getting kids to school safely, which is why we worked proactively to find out exactly what troubled the buses in Bloomington,” said Ed Hegland, National Biodiesel Board Chairman.
The report issued Friday by Meg Corp. and paid for by the distributor that supplied the fuel, Yokum Oil, analyzed filters from the buses that broke down. The buses were using B2, which is 98 percent petroleum diesel blended with 2 percent biodiesel. Minnesota has a statewide B2 mandate in effect. “We found that whatever was plugging the filters was not biodiesel, but a substance found in petroleum,” the report concludes.
No other area school districts or diesel operators reported similar problems.
A B2 blend, when properly handled, will perform just like diesel. The biodiesel industry works closely with the petroleum industry and offers many resources regarding biodiesel use in cold climates.