The Minnesota Department of Commerce decided to temporarily suspend the rule based on requests from the Minnesota Biodiesel Council and the Minnesota Petroleum Marketers Association, who claim the mixture could lead to clogged filters in extreme cold weather.
From Jan. 15 through March 31, 2010, the state will not be requiring that #1 diesel fuel be mixed with 5 percent biodiesel, although the rule still applies to #2 diesel fuel.
"Minnesota's fuel quality policies ensure a strong renewable fuel industry," said James Pearson, deputy commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Commerce. "The waiver will relieve some of the pressure felt by suppliers and consumers while we get to the bottom of any issues."
Samples of diesel fuel and filters have been collected from locations statewide and are being tested to help determine the cause of the reported problems. While a small segment of the diesel consumer population has reported problems, the majority of refiners, terminals and users have not experienced trouble.
Meanwhile, the nationwide biodiesel tax credit expired at the end of December, leaving biodiesel producers and truckstops in uncertainty over what the next few months may hold, and truckers concerned about possible price increases.
Mandates for biodiesel, such as the one in Minnesota may create some artificial demand for the fuel, as some will be forced to buy it.