Mahoney Environmental has a good business reason to support biodiesel: It collects used cooking oil from restaurants and sells it to biodiesel producers to be made into the renewable fuel. The greater the demand for biodiesel, the greater the demand for its services.
But that’s not why the Illinois-based company runs its 160-truck fleet on biodiesel blends. Instead, it’s the performance, economic and environmental benefits the company receives from the renewable fuel.
“At the end of the day, there’s not a lot of argument to be made against using biodiesel,” says Jeff Corbin, the company’s Director of Maintenance and Fleet Operations.
Mahoney Environmental has restaurant customers in all 50 states, picking up used cooking oil, servicing grease traps, providing proprietary equipment for cooking oil handling and, in certain markets, delivering fresh oil.
Corbin’s job is to make sure that its full fleet of Class 7 and 8 trucks are in good running condition on any given day. So even though his employer is connected to the biodiesel industry, if the fuel didn’t perform, he wouldn’t use it.
That, however, has not been an issue. With biodiesel:
- The fleet’s miles per gallon have stayed steady
- The added lubricity has helped reduce wear on engine components
- The cleaner-burning fuel has helped the trucks’ after-treatment systems
“Our company can’t operate without the trucks,” Corbin says. “I certainly wouldn’t put anything into the vehicles that isn’t going to perform and keep them on the road on a daily basis.”
Biodiesel has also made good financial sense for Mahoney Environmental. It often pays less for biodiesel than petroleum diesel throughout the country. The company gets further savings in its home state of Illinois, where biodiesel blends of B11 and above are exempt from the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax.
Then there are the added benefits like improved performance thanks to biodiesel’s added lubricity, higher Cetane and cleaner burn.
“It’s hard to put a dollar figure on those today, but in the long run, our goal is to reduce that maintenance expense and downtime,” Corbin says.
Given the work that it does, it probably goes without saying that environmental sustainability is important to Mahoney Environmental. That’s another reason it runs its fleet on biodiesel. Compared with petroleum diesel, the fuel reduces emissions of greenhouse gases, total hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter.
“We want to support biodiesel not only because we are engrained in the industry, but because it’s the right thing to do for our environment,” Corbin says. “We want to reduce our carbon footprint.”
A good partner
One of Mahoney Environmental’s used cooking oil customers is REG, which uses the waste oil as a feedstock in the biodiesel production process. It’s the relationship with REG and first-hand knowledge of the company’s high-quality fuel that persuaded Mahoney Environmental to go from dabbling in fueling its fleet with biodiesel to implementing it across its entire fleet at blend levels of up to B20.
“REG gives us a fuel that we have confidence in,” Corbin says. “Also, the support from them is phenomenal. REG is a great partner with us.”
For more information on the benefits fleets can realize with biodiesel, visit regi.com.