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7/29 Editorial

Time will tell if biodiesel mandate proves worthy

Polk is one of nine Oregon counties that effective Aug. 1 will see its fuel dealers be required to sell diesel that contains at least 2 percent biodiesel.

We eagerly await to see if this is truly a good idea or not.

If this idea sounds familiar, it is. Nearly two years ago, the state implemented a renewable fuel standard requiring 10 percent ethanol in most gasoline sold in Oregon. Now, the state is taking a similar step with diesel fuel as part of renewable energy legislation passed in 2007.

"Motorists shouldn't see any change to their fuel economy or their vehicle's performance when using a 2 percent biodiesel blend," said Stephanie Page, the Oregon Department of Agriculture's renewable energy specialist.

Please excuse us if we seem a little skeptical. That's what state officials said about ethanol -- and it is proving to be far from the truth.

The addition of ethanol in gasoline has proven to reduce fuel efficiency in many vehicles, caused problems with engines and fuel lines, and led to similar issues for users of lawn mowers and small garden tractors.

We hope the diesel biofuel mandate that starts Aug. 1 does prove beneficial to the environment without reducing fuel efficiency and damaging engines. Otherwise, it will prove to be a poorly thought out decision by the legislature that comes at a cost to those it was never intended to hurt.

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