Get dealer quotes on your propane delivery

States With the Most Biodiesel Vehicles

biodiesel vehicles

In a recent study, we analyzed and wrote up the U.S. states with the most ethanol vehicles. Here, in this study, we’ve analyzed data sourced from the U.S. Department of Energy to identify the states with the most biodiesel vehicles.

We leveraged the latest data from the Department of Energy to assemble a list of the states that are home to most biodiesel vehicles. Biodiesel vehicles have been steadily gaining traction across the United States as a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional gasoline-powered cars. Biodiesel is also a fascinating fuel because it does not come from fossil fuels like oil.

How is biodiesel made?

Biodiesel fuel is made through a chemical process called transesterification, which converts fats or oils into biodiesel and glycerin (a byproduct). This process involves reacting vegetable oils or animal fats with an alcohol (typically methanol) in the presence of a catalyst, such as sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide.

The process begins with the collection of raw materials, which can include new or used vegetable oils (like soybean, canola, or palm oil), animal fats (such as beef tallow or chicken fat), or even recycled cooking grease. These oils and fats consist of triglycerides, which are molecules made up of glycerin bonded to three fatty acid chains.

During transesterification, the triglycerides react with the alcohol in the presence of the catalyst. This reaction breaks the bonds between the glycerin and the fatty acids, replacing them with bonds to the alcohol molecules, thus forming methyl esters (biodiesel) and glycerin. The glycerin, being heavier, settles to the bottom and is separated from the biodiesel. The biodiesel then undergoes further processing, including washing and drying, to remove any residual catalyst, alcohol, or contaminants, resulting in a clean-burning, renewable fuel that is ready for use.

Biodiesel can be used in diesel engines with little or no modifications, offering an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil diesel. It reduces emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and unburned hydrocarbons. Plus, because it’s made from renewable resources, biodiesel helps reduce dependence on petroleum and enhances energy security.

Get quotes from up to 5 propane dealers in your area today to get the best pricing on propane delivery.

How do biodiesel vehicles work?

Biodiesel vehicles operate on biodiesel fuel, which can be used in any diesel engine with minimal or no modifications. These engines work on the principle of compression ignition, where air is compressed to a high pressure and temperature in the combustion chamber, leading to the ignition of the fuel when it is injected into this hot, compressed air. Biodiesel, just like conventional diesel, can be used in this process due to its similar combustion properties.

The main difference in how biodiesel vehicles work compared to traditional diesel vehicles lies in the fuel’s characteristics. Biodiesel is a cleaner-burning, renewable alternative made from organic materials such as vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled cooking oil. Its use leads to significant reductions in emissions of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter, contributing to improved air quality and less environmental impact.

Biodiesel can be used in pure form (B100) or blended with petroleum diesel in any proportion. The most common blend is B20 (20% biodiesel, 80% petroleum diesel), which can be used in diesel engines without modification and complies with most manufacturers’ diesel engine specifications. Engines running on biodiesel have similar performance characteristics to those running on petroleum diesel, including horsepower, torque, and fuel economy. However, biodiesel has a higher cetane number than petroleum diesel, which can result in a smoother running engine with slightly improved combustion efficiency.

Additionally, biodiesel acts as a solvent, which can clean the fuel system and remove deposits from tank walls and pipes. While this cleaning action can improve engine performance and longevity, it may initially lead to clogged fuel filters if the vehicle was previously used with petroleum diesel. Thus, it is recommended to check and replace the fuel filter more frequently when first switching to biodiesel.

States with the most biodiesel vehicles

In order to rank the states with the most biodiesel vehicles, we didn’t simply sort by quantity. We calculated the percentage of biodiesel vehicles out of total registered vehicles in the state. By doing it this way, a large state like California or Texas doesn’t rank high simply because it has, in absolute terms, the largest number of biodiesel cars. Ranking in percentage terms conveys the density of these vehicles among all cars and trucks in the state.

Get quotes from up to 5 propane dealers in your area today to get the best pricing on propane delivery.

1. Montana

Montana ranked as the No. 1 states with the most biodiesel vehicles, with more than 3.3% of registered cars in the state running on this fuel. Montana is the only state that have more than 3% of its vehicles be biodiesel ones: 33,200 out of 999,600 vehicles total to run on biodiesel fuel. Montana notably has one of the lowest rates of gasoline-powered vehicles, with only 76.57% of all vehicles running on gas. Biodiesel along with ethanol/flex fuel and diesel cars represent more than 20% of all registered vehicles in the state.

Montana has a series of alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) incentives. There are two that pertain specifically to biodiesel. There’s a Biodiesel Tax Exemption, in which biodiesel producers that produce biodiesel from waste vegetable oil feedstock are exempt from the state special fuel tax. The second is the Biodiesel Tax Refund, in which a licensed distributor who pays the special fuel tax on biodiesel may claim a refund equal to $0.02 per gallon of biodiesel sold during the previous quarter if the biodiesel is made entirely from components produced in Montana.

2. Wyoming

Wyoming has 19,100 biodiesel cars out of a total of 644,400 registered vehicles. Wyoming does not have that many registered vehicles overall, possessing only around double the number of cars as the District of Columbia (319,400). Similar to Montana, Wyoming has a very low rate of traditional gasoline-powered vehicles; in fact, it has the lowest rate, with only 74.95% of the state’s 644,400 registered vehicles running on gasoline. More than 21% of cars in Wyoming run on biodiesel, diesel, or ethanol.

3. North Dakota

There’s an emergent pattern here of Rocky Mountain and prairie states relying heavily on biodiesel. North Dakota is another example, with 18,300 out of a total of 785,500 total vehicles running on biodiesel; equivalent to 2.33% of all cars. Again, like in Montana and Wyoming, traditional gas-powered cars represent fewer total vehicles than average, at 78.2%. Diesel, ethanol, and biodiesel cars account for more than 19.8% of all vehicles in the state.

North Dakota stands out for its multiple incentives specifically for biodiesel and biofuel cars. The state’s Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Blender Tax Credit, in which licensed fuel suppliers who blends biodiesel or renewable diesel with diesel fuel may claim an income tax credit of $0.05 per gallon for fuel containing at least 5% biodiesel or renewable diesel. There’s also a Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Sales Equipment Tax Credit, where retailers may be eligible for a corporate income tax credit of 10% of the direct costs incurred to adapt or add equipment to a facility so that it may sell diesel fuel containing at least 2% biodiesel or renewable diesel. In addition to retailers, producers can apply for a corporate income tax credit of 10% of the direct costs incurred to add equipment to retrofit an existing facility or construct a new facility in the state for the purpose of producing or blending diesel fuel containing at least 2% biodiesel or renewable diesel. Lastly, North Dakota’s Biofuels Partnership in Assisting Community Expansion (PACE) Loan Program provides an interest buy down of up to 5% below the note rate to biodiesel, ethanol, or renewable diesel production facilities; livestock operations feeding by-products produced at a biodiesel, ethanol, or renewable diesel facility; and grain handling facilities which provide storage of grain used in biofuels production.

4. South Dakota

Out of a total of 945,100 registered vehicles, South Dakota has 20,000 biodiesel cars. That means more than over 2.1% of cars are biodiesel vehicles. South Dakota has several alternative fuel vehicle incentives, but the main one for biodiesel is the Biodiesel Blend Tax Credit. With this incentive, biodiesel blenders are eligible for a tax credit for special fuel, including diesel that is blended with biodiesel. The tax credit is granted on a per gallon basis in the amount that the rate for special fuel exceeds the rate for the biodiesel blend.

5. Idaho

Idaho comes in as the No. 5 states with the most biodiesel vehicles. Out of 1,934,200 total registered vehicles, 40,300 of them are biodiesel vehicles. That represents over 2.08% of all vehicles in the state. Besides biodiesel, regular diesel is also quite popular in Idaho, with 7.03% of all registered vehicles being diesel ones. Taken all together, diesel, ethanol, and biodiesel cars represent slightly over 16% of all cars in Idaho.

6. Utah

Utah comes at No. 6 state with the most biodiesel vehicles. Utah has 2,997,500 registered vehicles and 61,500 of them are biodiesel cars; that’s equal to a rate of 2.052%. Besides biodiesel, regular diesel is a popular alternative fuel, with 5.17% of all registered cars running on diesel. Utah, notably, has a very high proportion, relatively, on compressed natural gas vehicles, with 2,300 NGVs.

7. Texas

Texas comes in as the No. 7 state with the most biodiesel vehicles. In absolute terms, Texas has the highest number of biodiesel vehicles, at 420,800 out of more than 25.3 million registered vehicles, representing 1.66%. Texas has a relatively large number of biodiesel fueling states, with 10 scattered across the state. Texas has a Biofuel Blend Tax Exemption, in which the biodiesel, renewable diesel, or ethanol portion of blended fuel containing taxable diesel is exempt from the diesel fuel tax.

8. Louisiana

Louisiana ranks No. 8 on our list of the states with the most biodiesel vehicles. With 3,792,200 total registered vehicles, Louisiana’s 60,100 biodiesel vehicles represent nearly 1.6% of all cars. Unfortunately, Louisiana does not have any incentives specifically for biodiesel producers, retailers, or drivers. Besides biodiesel, ethanol is one of the most prominent alternative fuels, accounting for nearly 10.5% of all vehicles.

9. Alaska

Alaska comes in at No. 9. Alaska has 8,700 biodiesel cars out of a total of 562,100 registered vehicles. Thus, nearly 1.55% of cars in the state are biodiesel ones. Besides biodiesel, diesel is also a popular alternative fuel type, representing 5.43% of registered vehicles in the state. Alaska also has a high proportion of ethanol/flex fuel cars, which account for more than 8.64% of all vehicles.

10. New Mexico

New Mexico rounds out our list of the top 10 states with the most biodiesel vehicles. With 28,600 biodiesel vehicles, approximately 1.48 % of the 1,929,400 registered vehicles in New Mexico are powered by biodiesel. New Mexico also has a couple of incentives for biodiesel vehicles. There’s a Biodiesel Blending Facility Loading Fee Deduction, in which a facility owner may deduct the number of biodiesel gallons delivered to be blended into petroleum products. There’s also a tax credit available for up to 30% of the cost of both purchasing and installing equipment used to produce biodiesel blends containing at least 2% biodiesel (B2). The Biodiesel Tax Deduction enables companies and individuals that receive or manufacture and deliver biodiesel within the state for blending or resale are eligible for a tax deduction for the fuel.

All states with biodiesel vehicles

Below is a list of states that possess any number of biodiesel vehicles. Unlike some other alternative fuels, every state in the U.S., plus the District of Columbia, possess biodiesel cars. Texas is home to the most in absolute terms, with over 420,000 biodiesel vehicles.

StateBiodiesel VehiclesBiodiesel Vehicles (%)Total Vehicles
North Dakota18,3002.330%785,500
South Dakota20,0002.116%945,100
New Mexico28,6001.482%1,929,400
West Virginia15,6001.048%1,488,900
New Hampshire12,9000.939%1,373,700
North Carolina71,3000.795%8,970,300
South Carolina38,3000.775%4,944,700
New York48,4000.428%11,306,300
New Jersey25,9000.362%7,148,700
Rhode Island2,8000.321%872,000
District of Columbia4000.125%319,400

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *