DEFINITION of 'Biodiesel'

A fuel derived from organic oils, such as vegetable oil, rather than petroleum. Biodiesel's use and production are increasing. It's typically used for aircraft, vehicles and as heating oil. Biodiesel filling stations are common throughout Europe and as of 2008 they are becoming more common in North America.

The price gap between traditional diesel and biodiesel is expected to narrow, as petroleum based products become scarcer. Agricultural and environmental subsidies will also help with this.

BREAKING DOWN 'Biodiesel'

Not to be confused with waste vegetable oils (WVO), that are often used in converted diesel engines, biodiesel can be used in diesel engines that are un-modified. Bio-diesel can be used alone, or mixed with conventional hydrocarbon based diesel.

It is important to note, that although biodiesel can be used in almost all modern diesel engines, it will degrade rubber components in older vehicles a lot faster than with traditional diesel. Older vehicles are recommended to upgrade their rubber parts with a non-reactive product known as FKM, if they are planning on using biodiesel in their vehicle.

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