Biofuel vehicle compatibility

Using liquid biofuels in your vehicle

Biofuel is legislated so that it can safely be used in nearly all vehicles. The retail sale of ethanol and biodiesel is regulated so that the levels of ethanol and biodiesel that can be included in retailed fuels are within engine manufacturer specification. The information here provides a guide to vehicles and biofuels compatibility.  That said, anyone using biofuels in their vehicles needs to be aware of the differences to using conventional mineral based fuels and if in doubt should check with their vehicle manufacturer before use.

Biofuels offer many benefits.  By reducing demand for petroleum, biofuels could make energy supply more secure as petroleum becomes more scarce and thus more costly.  In some cases biofuel production offers a new solution for turning a waste or byproduct into a valuable resource.

The case studies illustrate the first-hand experiences of actual users in New Zealand. More here. 

Some engine manufacturers have limited the use of biofuels in their engines because they were designed before biofuels were readily available. In practice those engines will generally work fine with biofuels once they have been tuned to that specific fuel however it is the engine warrantees which limit the fuel that should be used. Once an engine is out of its warrantee period many owners use biofuels successfully.

The Government fuel regulations specify the retail limits on fuel type.

Information on which fuels can use biofuels is available [WLB4].

Vehicles suitable for using bioethanol blends

For blends of bioethanol up to 10 per cent blend are suitable for use in most petrol-fueled vehicles. Modifications to your vehicle’s engine aren’t necessary however we suggest that you check online or with your manufacturer. Click here to visit the AA website which has a list of vehicles that are compatible with bioethanol 3-10 per cent blends in New Zealand.

Biofuels and marine applications

The production of bio-crude heavy fuel oils by the pyrolysis of biomass appears to be a fuel suitable for marine engines.