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Biodiesel is diesel fuel made from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant greases. It's safe, biodegradable, and produces less air pollutants than petroleum-based diesel.

Biodiesel can be used in its pure form (B100) or blended with petroleum diesel. Common blends include B2 (2% biodiesel), B5, and B20.

Most automakers approve blends up to B5. Some approve blends up to B20. Check with your owner’s manual or automaker to determine the right blend for your vehicle. Using the wrong blend could damage your engine and/or void the manufacturer's warranty.

Note: Never fuel your car with grease or vegetable oil that has not been converted to biodiesel. It will damage your engine.

Brew-It-Yourself Fuel


Biodiesel Compared to Petroleum-Based Diesel
Advantages Disadvantages
  • Domestically produced from renewable resources
  • Can be used in most diesel engines, especially newer ones
  • Less air pollutants (other than nitrogen oxides)
  • Less greenhouse gas emissions (e.g., B20 reduces CO2 by 15%)
  • Biodegradable
  • Non-toxic
  • Safer to handle
  • Use of blends above B5 not yet approved by many automakers
  • Lower fuel economy and power (10% lower for B100, 2% for B20)
  • Currently more expensive
  • B100 generally not suitable for use in low temperatures
  • Concerns about B100's impact on engine durability
  • Slight increase in nitrogen oxide emissions in some circumstances

Biodiesel tends to cost more than petroleum diesel, and prices vary across the country. Visit DOE's Alternative Fuel Station Locator to find service stations selling biodiesel near you.

More Information

More on biodisel from DOE's Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC)

Biodiesel BasicsAdobe Acrobat Icon


Low-level Biodiesel Blends

Just the Basics: BiodieselAdobe Acrobat Icon

Hydrogenation-Derived Renewable Diesel

Alternative Fuel Price Report