Retail biodiesel offers motorists more choice

  • Pansy Wong
Energy and Resources

New Zealand motorists have the opportunity to use a more environmentally friendly fuel following oil company Gull's decision to start selling a biodiesel blend at service stations, Associate Energy and Resources Minister Pansy Wong said today.

Mrs Wong congratulated Gull on launching a new five per cent biodiesel blend at three service stations in Auckland.

"The new fuel is a blend of ordinary diesel with five per cent biodiesel made from used cooking oil.

"Switching to a five per cent biodiesel blend is an easy way for motorists to reduce their use of fossil fuels."

Mrs Wong said the Government's Biodiesel Grants Scheme, administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, had helped kickstart New Zealand's fledgling biodiesel industry.

"Many New Zealand companies, including tourism operators, fishing companies and fleet operators, are keen to use a more sustainable fuel and it's great to see that fuel being produced and available in New Zealand.

"Until now, biodiesel has mainly been purchased by businesses buying either directly from producers or from co-operatives, such as that set up in Queenstown earlier this year.  Gull's move to open up retail sales means the average motorist also has an opportunity to try a higher biodiesel blend than ever before."

Virtually all diesel vehicles can use B5 - a five per cent biodiesel blend - without any engine or fuel system modifications, Mrs Wong said, but some minor precautions should be taken.

EECA recommends that if a car's fuel system is old or in poor condition, it may be worth flushing it out before using a biodiesel blend, such as B5.  A mechanic can easily do this.

Because biodiesel has stronger cleaning properties than diesel, it can loosen dirt and carry it through to the fuel filter.  If the vehicle's fuel filter hasn't been changed recently, EECA recommends that it be changed after the first few fills of a biodiesel blend - which can easily be done when the vehicle is next serviced.

Motorists who are unsure whether their vehicle can use the biodiesel blend should check with the vehicle manufacturer.  

More information on biofuels and the environmental benefits (including greenhouse gas emission reduction) is available from www.eeca.govt.nz/biofuels