Minnesota truckers say biodiesel causing fuel filter clogs

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Minnesota truckers are getting a three-week reprieve from the state’s 2-month-old biodiesel mandate after complaints that the soybean-based fuel is clogging some fuel filters — particularly in cold weather.

The state Department of Commerce on Friday, Dec. 23 temporarily suspended a requirement to blend 2 percent biodiesel into diesel fuel, giving biodiesel makers and distributors time to fix the problem. During the 21-day variance, stations can sell unblended diesel fuel.

“We have members that are going ballistic over this,” says John Hausladen, president of the Minnesota Trucking Association. “All the evidence we have gathered points to biodiesel being the culprit.”

The glitch may stem from biodiesel that doesn’t meet fuel specifications, and that fuel will be removed during the temporary suspension, the Department of Commerce said in a news release. Department spokesman Bruce Gordon says the state is conducting tests, and that results on 18 samples showed “four samples that failed a cold-weather test, but it does not say what is the cause of that failure,” he says.

Last week, Minnesota’s largest refiner, Flint Hills Resources in Rosemount, quit delivering certain cold-weather biodiesel blends for nonmetro Minnesota.