10% Requirement Said to Be Bad for Business, and Vehicles,
National Biodiesel Board ‘Disappointed’ at the Legal Action
As Local Lung Association Points Up Emissions Reductions
A coalition of businesses including the Minnesota Trucking Association has sued the state in federal court, asking for repeal of biodiesel content requirements of 10% in the summer, going to as high as 20% in 2018.
The Minnesota biodiesel mandate took effect on July 1, 2014. It is “likely raising fueling costs for all diesel vehicles,” states a release issued by MTA, the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the American Petroleum Institute, and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers.
The National Biodiesel Board says B10 – a 10% biodiesel blend – has worked “very well, without negative price impacts on consumers.”
The plaintiffs are suing Minnesota’s Pollution Control Agency and the state departments of Agriculture and Commerce, basing their claims under U.S. and state laws including the federal Clean Air Act and the Minnesota Administrative Procedures Act.
“Most diesel-fueled passenger cars and light trucks were not designed for – and are not warranted to run on – biofuel blends of 10 or 20%,” they say.
“Use of such fuel blends could result in increased maintenance costs and engine problems… These problems could impact manufacturers and dealers in the state through lost sales and increased warranty claims.
“Minnesota is forcing the sale of what has historically been more costly fuel,” states the release. “The State is purposefully denying access to needed fuels recommended for use in many diesel vehicles while likely raising fueling costs for all diesel vehicles.”
‘Truckers Already Are Avoiding Fueling in Minnesota’
According to the suit itself, as filed in U.S. District Court for Minnesota by the Minneapolis law firm Bassford Remele, problems related to the biodiesel mandate “will cause some auto dealers and auto manufacturers to lose sales and incur greater costs associated with increased warranty claims.
“Moreover, auto manufacturers will see erosion of hard-won brand loyalty. Knowing that B10 typically costs more than petroleum diesel and requires additional maintenance to vehicles, interstate truckers already are avoiding fueling in Minnesota.”
“This lawsuit,” the plaintiffs say, “seeks to restore consumer choice.”
The Lung Association Likes Biodiesel
The American Lung Association in Minnesota, which hosts the Minneapolis Clean Cities organization, declined to comment on the lawsuit, but a spokesman told F&F that B10 – 10% biodiesel – eliminates 163 tons of particulate matter, 216 tons of hydrocarbon, and 1,820 tons of carbon monoxide emissions per year.
“Vehicle emissions are the single largest source of air pollution in the state,” said the Lung Association’s Bob Moffitt. “We’ve always been a supporter of biodiesel,” he said, noting that the city of Minneapolis operates fire trucks, ambulances, transit buses and snow plows on the fuel.
“We are disappointed the American Petroleum Institute and other national groups have sued to suspend Minnesota’s strong, local biodiesel policy,” the National Biodiesel Board said Wednesday.
‘Stop Fighting Progress with Lawsuits Against Renewable Fuels’
“The policy was created in response to Minnesotans broad desire to diversify the fuel supply with locally produced biodiesel that creates jobs, protects our environment and reduces our dependence on foreign oil,” NBB said.
“The fact is Minnesota voters elected their leaders, and those leaders have recognized the outstanding benefits of biodiesel by voting to extend this policy after proven success. Other states such as Illinois have also clearly demonstrated that volumes of B10 or more work very well, without negative price impacts on consumers.
“We would encourage API and others to stop fighting progress with lawsuits against renewable fuels and to join the movement to protecting consumers by diversifying our fuel supplies with cleaner alternatives.”
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Source: Minnesota Trucking Association with Fleets & Fuels follow-up