Few industries have suffered so badly from a veritable sea of external forces as the automobile industry in the last 10 years or so. Certain sectors of the industry had been slow to catch up with trends through the 80s and 90s, and had become too reliant on multiple vehicle ranges and inefficient practices. Due to foreign competition, an increasing fuel price, more stringent regulation, environmental considerations and finally an economic downturn, the industry has been left reeling.
In 1990, the revision to the Clean Air Act specified that fuels become more sustainable and that manufacturers begin replacing petro diesel engines with low sulphur alternatives. While certain states in the US had restricted diesel engine vehicle sales, this is likely to lift as the pollution associated with diesel slows. However, other factors were also at work and the terrorist attacks of 2001 only served to remind us how we relied on far-off foreign countries for our fuel needs. Our energy security, our environmental health and our economic efficiency began to demand that we look for alternative fuel sources.
Equipment manufacturers have designed diesel engines and internal components much more suitable to the requirements of low sulphur diesel and alternative biodiesel. Biodiesel fuel is starting to gain popular acceptance and production has grown by 700% over the outgoing decade.
Following this recession, the auto industry in the US has significantly changed. One of their big three manufacturers is now owned by a European company, Fiat, and it seems likely that we will see an influx of vehicles based on European platforms and wholly more efficient than what we have seen there previously. Diesel engine cars are very much in evidence in European countries and there is no reason to assume that we will not see a pickup in sales there as well. While this happens, biodiesel, as a reliable alternative will undoubtedly push forward as well. While prices may be equitable as compared to conventional diesel, vehicles which operate pure biodiesel or a blend are much better for both the health of our global climate and the people.
Contrary to popular belief, biodiesel is not an experimental fuel. It has a history going back to the 1930s and has been fully certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. Most automanufacturers welcome the use of biodiesel in their diesel engine vehicles and its use will not void an engine warranty providing it has been produced to the exacting international biodiesel standards as explained in my books, ‘The Book On Biodiesel’ and ‘The Secrets of Biodiesel’ which can be acquired via my website or www.amazon.com and good book shops, for example. Conversely, biodiesel use is likely to result in a longer-lasting engine as it has a much higher lubricity when compared to petro diesel.
Proponents of biodiesel agree that it does not have widespread acceptance as yet and distribution stations remain relatively scarce. Production of the fuel should interest our army of entrepreneurs as the thought of making biodiesel fuel commercially is well within reach. Indeed, many who start off with homemade biodiesel move up to the production of this fuel in their local area. It is possible to obtain certification from the EPA once you have mastered the task of producing the fuel reliably, and to progress by selling it to an increasingly interested public.