Media Retraction about Minnesota Biodiesel Bus Gelling

Seems the media is finally making corrections about the Minnesota school bus fuel gelling that was all the rage to disparage and mock last month.  Bravo, although I’m sure it won’t get quite the coverage that it did before.

In the Minneapolis Star Tribune (, the posted the following article:

Editorial: Unearned black eye for biodiesel fuel

It made national headlines last month when some Bloomington school buses stalled during a subzero stretch, forcing the district to cancel classes for a day. The too-quick-on-the-draw mechanical diagnosis? Biofuel that gelled up in the cold. Fox TV commentator Glenn Beck didn’t call Minnesotans bio-fools, but he came darn close, holding up the state’s first-in-the-nation biodiesel mandate as evidence of how government screws things up.

“Lawmakers put children’s safety at stake because they don’t want their buses to run on a politically incorrect kind of fuel,” opined the bombastic Beck last Friday.

With Minnesota poised to transition to a higher percentage of biodiesel this spring, it’s important to set the record straight on the Bloomington bus issue. Biodiesel wasn’t the culprit causing the school buses to stall out. Unfortunately, the brouhaha has given the state’s pioneering mandates and the promising biodiesel industry an undeserved black eye.

Minnesota law currently mandates that virtually all diesel in the state contain 2 percent biodiesel. Almost any oil can be used to make biodiesel, according to Ed Hegland, an Appleton, Minn., farmer and chairman of the National Biodiesel Board. In Minnesota, it’s mostly made from soybeans, then blended with regular petroleum diesel. Petroleum diesel is the fuel on which most of the nation’s trucks, tractors and road equipment run. Minnesotans in particular are long acquainted with regular diesel’s drawbacks in cold weather. When the temperature drops below a certain point, wax crystals can form and gum up fuel filters. It’s why truckers idle their trucks overnight in cold weather and why many who rely on diesel during the winter switch to a different blend to minimize the problem

Posted in Biodiesel.