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Biodiesel vs. Diesel (Petroleum)

Updated on October 7, 2011

There are many fossil fuel alternatives on the market and some yet undiscovered, but there are things to be considered with all of them. One such fuel is called biodiesel that is currently available on the market and is under intense scrutiny on whether it is a better alternative then petroleum. As far as the other earth friendly options go about this fuel source from diesel is not the friendliest and biodiesel seems like a more earth friendly option But, understanding the difference between biodiesel and petroleum or regular diesel is essential were going to take some time to cover both of these options.

Bio diesel is a earth friendly option because it comes from many of the natural sources of the earth. But, regular diesel is derived of oil that is pumped up from the ground. Biodiesel comes from the oils in animal fat and various vegetable oils. The biggest advantage that biodiesel currently has is that the infrastructure for using this type of fuel option is already here. Biodiesel can run in regular diesel engines. With this great advantage you can recycle animal fat and the vegetable oil that is used to make your fries at mc Donald’s instead of just throwing it back into the ground. It will save you money and recycle things that are normally thrown out.

More and more people across the country are speaking out about the advantages of biodiesel. Many urban areas now have their public transportation using the new biodiesel fuel for busses and taxies. Many celebs are using biodiesel in their larger SUV’s. Many trains that are being used by Amtrak are now using biodiesel all these little factors help reduces the need and dependence on foreign oil to run your transportation needs.


Some of the advantages for biodiesel over regular petroleum being used in the engine are numerous. First biodiesel is able to lubricate the engine which is hard for regular diesel to do. In colder areas of the country a diesel engine is affected and will run rough or not at all. Regular diesel in low temperatures grows really thick like a gel that has a harder time moving through the engines then biodiesel. biodiesel does not have these problems. While using biodiesel in your engine it will not give off the normal toxic fumes that are accompanied by regular diesel with the lower emissions that biodiesel creates it helps to protect the environment that much better.

After looking at the positives of biodiesel we also should look at some of the negatives for using it. The problems with biodiesel are associated with water being present in the fuel. With water in the fuel lines of any vehicle it can cause a number of different problems. It will reduce the power that engine is able to produce. It will have a harder time starting the engine due to the water that is present in the engine. With water it has a habit of corroding vital parts sooner like water pumps and fuel lines. Also in colder areas water can freeze with in a engine block or a fuel line causing serious damage to the engine which could cost hundreds to repair. Having a heated tank to help prevent freezing can cause microbes to grow which may further damage the engine.

It seems that as we progress in the development of alternative fuels there are going to positives and negatives to each. As a consumer we need to do our best to stay informed and make the right decisions based on the information we have and the impact to the earth in a responsible manner.

For another alternative to biodiesel check out GMs new electric car called the Chevy Volt.

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