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Biodiesel is a form of diesel fuel manufactured from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant greases. It is safe, biodegradable, and produces less air pollutants than petroleum-based diesel.

Biodiesel can be used in its pure form (B100) or blended with petroleum diesel. Common blends include B2 (2% biodiesel), B5, and B20.

Most vehicle manufacturers approve blends up to B5, and some approve blends up to B20. Check with your owner’s manual or vehicle manufacturer to determine the right blend for your vehicle, since using the wrong blend could damage your engine and/or void the manufacturer's warranty.

Note: You should never fuel your vehicle with clean or used grease or vegetable oil that has not been converted to biodiesel. It will damage your engine.

Brew-It-Yourself Biodiesel

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Biodiesel Compared to Petroleum Diesel
Advantages Disadvantages
  • Domestically produced from non-petroleum, renewable resources
  • Can be used in most diesel engines, especially newer ones
  • Less air pollutants (other than nitrogen oxides)
  • Less greenhouse gas emissions (e.g., B20 reduces CO2 by 15%)
  • Biodegradable
  • Non-toxic
  • Safer to handle
  • Use of blends above B5 not yet approved by many auto makers
  • Lower fuel economy and power (10% lower for B100, 2% for B20)
  • Currently more expensive
  • B100 generally not suitable for use in low temperatures
  • Concerns about B100's impact on engine durability
  • Slight increase in nitrogen oxide emissions possible in some circumstances

Biodiesel prices vary across the country and tend to be slightly higher than those for petroleum diesel. Visit DOE's Alternative Fuel Station Locator for locations of service stations selling biodiesel.

More Information

Biodiesel BasicsAdobe Acrobat Icon (Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center)

Biodiesel (Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center)

Low-level Biodiesel Blends (Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center)

Just the Basics: BiodieselAdobe Acrobat Icon (Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy)

Hydrogenation-Derived Renewable Diesel (Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center)

Alternative Fuel Price Report (Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center)