Biodiesel Experiment Report

April 27th, 2006 by Peter Schmelzer

-Mileage Chart-

It’s about time I post the gas mileage chart for my biodiesel experiment. This chart shows the fuel economy for my 1996 Passat TDI since I bought it in July 2005. The top line is calculated Miles per Gallon, the bottom line is the cost of fuel.

Initial economy was up in the 40 MPG range consistently through the warm months of 2005, then dropped off during the winter. During the warmer months, I was making regular solo trips to Brookings, SD, so that may have helped hold the mileage up a bit.

There was a fairly steady decline through January 2006, which might be attributed to the cold weather and heavily-loaded trips to visit family in adjacent states.

All of this was fueled by petroleum diesel, the left 2/3 of the chart.

On Valentine’s Day 2006, I filled up with B-50 from the Northfield Biodiesel Buyers’ Club. That’s about Since then, we’ve run a motely mix of multi-source B-50 and petroleum diesel as availability demanded (trip to Chicago and minor fill-ups in South Dakota). This week, I filled by first tank of B-99, so we’re entering a new era.

The long and the short is this: fuel economy seems lower with biodiesel, but that may be unbalanced due to weather conditions and driving habits. Stay tuned, and I’ll post a revised chart later this summer!

We’re very happy with biodiesel; the car seems to run smoother on it and the smiles on our faces do make a difference. And when I filled with B-99, I paid $2.60 per gallon, versus $2.85 for petrol diesel at the pumps!

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