Decker Truck Line is the first major trucking company to compare a soy biodiesel B20 blend to regular diesel in a comprehensive over-the-road test covering two million miles. Announced last fall, the Two Million Mile Haul has covered (PDF) 350,000 miles towards the goal.
“What we’ve observed so far is great performance in the particularly cold winter we just experienced, and reduced maintenance and engine wear benefits that equal or outweigh the slightly higher cost of the biodiesel blend,” said Dale Decker, Industry & Government Relations Director for Decker Truck Line.
Decker Truck Line is using B20 biodiesel in 20 of the company’s trucks, running from its terminal in Fort Dodge, Iowa to either Chicago or Minneapolis. The trucks are Peterbilt 379s, 388s, and 389s, with mostly flatbed trailers. All trucks have Caterpillar C13 or C15 engines built to EPA 2004 and EPA 2007 emissions levels.
According to Decker, observations during the study, including oil analysis results, have shown:
- Cleaner engine oil,
- Positive impact on engine wear,
- Decreased maintenance due to increased lubricity, and
- No cold weather issues -? even with temperatures in the teens and single digits.
Decker Truck Line experienced issues with fuel filter clogging that were due to self-blending of the fuel as opposed to using professionally-blended fuel.
Until the two million miles are complete, conclusions about mileage and efficiency are not available.