B20 Diesel: Myth or Menace? Unraveling the Truth

Image of a gasoline pump labeled 'Biodiesel B20'

In the realm of alternative fuels, B20 diesel often sparks a heated debate. The question “Is B20 diesel bad?” has been circulating among vehicle owners, environmentalists, and industry experts. This article delves into the intricacies of B20 diesel, its impacts, benefits, and drawbacks, answering the pressing query: “Is B20 diesel bad?”

What is B20 Diesel?

Before delving into whether B20 diesel is good or bad, let’s first understand what B20 diesel actually is. B20 diesel is a blend of biodiesel and petroleum diesel, containing 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel. This combination is designed to provide a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional diesel fuels. Now, let’s explore the environmental impacts of B20 diesel in detail.

Environmental Impacts of B20 Diesel


B20 diesel has garnered attention primarily for its potential to reduce harmful emissions compared to conventional diesel. This reduction in emissions is a crucial factor in assessing whether B20 diesel is a positive or negative development for the environment.

  • Reduction in Greenhouse Gases: When it comes to lowering greenhouse gas pollution, B20 diesel is a big plus. 20% of the blend is biodiesel, which is made from sustainable sources like animal and vegetable fats. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), are released less when biodiesel is burned than when regular diesel fuel is burned. The drop in CO2 emissions is important to remember when thinking about how to slow down climate change. The utilization of B20 diesel results in a notable decrease in the overall carbon footprint of vehicles that run on diesel, therefore offering a significant environmental advantage;
  • Lower Sulfur Content: B20 diesel has a reduced sulfur concentration in comparison to conventional diesel. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions, which result from the combustion of fuels with high sulfur content, are a significant contributor to air pollution and the formation of acid rain. The decreased concentration of sulfur in B20 diesel leads to a reduction in the release of sulfur dioxide, hence enhancing air quality and minimizing environmental damage. This is especially crucial in metropolitan settings where there is a high prevalence of air quality concerns.


Another positive aspect of B20 diesel is its sustainability and reliance on renewable resources, which plays a significant role in the evaluation of its environmental impact.

  • Sustainable Source: Biodiesel, a key component of B20 diesel, is typically produced from sources like soybean oil, canola oil, and used cooking grease. These feedstocks are renewable because they can be grown or collected indefinitely. In contrast, petroleum diesel is derived from finite fossil fuel reserves. By using biodiesel, we reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, which are both non-renewable and associated with a range of environmental issues, such as oil spills and habitat destruction due to extraction.

Performance and Compatibility

Engine Compatibility

When considering whether B20 diesel is a suitable choice, it’s essential to evaluate its compatibility with various types of diesel engines.

  • Modern Diesel Engines: Most modern diesel engines, especially those designed and manufactured in recent years, are engineered to run on biodiesel blends like B20 without any modifications. Manufacturers have adapted their engines to accommodate these blends due to their environmental benefits;
  • Potential Issues in Older Engines: Older diesel engines, particularly those manufactured before biodiesel blends gained popularity, may face compatibility issues with B20 diesel. These engines were not designed with biodiesel in mind, and using B20 could lead to problems such as clogging of fuel filters and injector issues. It’s advisable to consult with the engine manufacturer or a qualified mechanic to determine if an older engine can safely run on B20.

Fuel Efficiency and Power

The performance of B20 diesel in terms of fuel efficiency and power output is a critical consideration for consumers and fleet operators.

  • Slight Decrease in Mileage: B20 diesel may result in a slight reduction in fuel economy compared to regular diesel. The decrease in mileage is typically due to biodiesel’s lower energy content per gallon compared to petroleum diesel. However, this reduction is often marginal and may not be noticeable in day-to-day driving for most vehicles;
  • Power Output: In terms of power output, B20 diesel performs comparably to regular diesel. The combustion properties of biodiesel are similar to those of petroleum diesel, ensuring that there is no significant loss of engine power when using B20.

Economic Aspects of B20 Diesel

diesel being poured

Cost Effectiveness

Evaluating the economic implications of using B20 diesel is essential for consumers and businesses alike.

  • Price Comparison: One of the economic factors to consider is the cost of B20 diesel compared to standard diesel. B20 diesel can often be priced slightly higher than traditional diesel due to the production costs associated with biodiesel. This price difference can influence the decision of whether to use B20 diesel. It’s essential to weigh the potential environmental benefits against the higher cost when answering the question, “Is B20 diesel bad” from an economic standpoint.

Local Economy Support

Supporting local industries is another aspect of using B20 diesel that can impact the economic perspective.

  • Supporting Local Industries: B20 diesel production typically involves the use of domestically sourced feedstocks, such as soybean oil or canola oil. This promotes local agricultural sectors, reduces reliance on imported petroleum, and can stimulate regional economic growth. By choosing B20 diesel, consumers and businesses can contribute to the development of local agricultural industries and reduce dependence on global oil markets.

Maintenance and Storage

Biodiesel (B20) is a blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% regular diesel. While it offers environmental benefits, it requires special maintenance and storage considerations due to its unique properties.

Fuel Stability

  • Shorter Shelf Life: B20 diesel has a shorter shelf life compared to regular diesel, typically around 6 months. This is due to its higher oxygen content, which makes it prone to oxidation and degradation over time. To maximize shelf life, store B20 diesel in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, and use airtight containers;
  • Cold Weather Performance: B20 diesel can gel in cold temperatures, leading to fuel filter clogging and reduced engine performance. To mitigate this issue, use winterized B20 or add cold flow improvers to enhance its cold weather performance. Additionally, storing B20 in insulated tanks can help maintain its flow properties during winter.

Engine Maintenance

  • Regular Maintenance: B20 diesel requires more frequent engine maintenance compared to regular diesel. The biodiesel component can lead to fuel filter clogging due to the presence of glycerin, which can solidify and accumulate. To prevent this, change fuel filters regularly and use high-quality filters designed for biodiesel use. Regularly check for water contamination, as biodiesel can attract and hold water more than regular diesel. Proper engine maintenance is essential to ensure smooth operation and longevity when using B20 diesel.


It is not possible to provide a direct response to the question “Is B20 diesel bad?” Although B20 diesel has some positive effects on the environment and helps to promote sustainability, using it does present certain difficulties in terms of engine compatibility, maintenance costs, and overall expenses. After taking into account all of these various factors, you should choose to use B20 diesel as your fuel of choice.


Q: Can B20 diesel damage my engine?

A: B20 diesel is generally safe for most modern diesel engines. However, older engines might require modifications.

Q: Is B20 diesel bad for the environment?

A: B20 diesel is considered better for the environment than standard diesel due to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Q: Does B20 diesel improve fuel economy?

A: B20 diesel may slightly decrease fuel economy due to its lower energy content compared to traditional diesel.

Q: Is B20 diesel more expensive than regular diesel?

A: The cost of B20 diesel can vary, but it is often slightly more expensive than standard diesel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *