For Volkswagen diesel owners who want to fix their cars’ environmental emissions performance without fixing the numbers, there’s a solution just down the road at Duncan’s biodiesel co-op.
The co-op, which has been recycling cooking oil from restaurants and commercial kitchens into biodiesel fuel that can go almost straight into the tank of most diesel engines, responded to news that Volkwagen has been cooking its emission numbers with a simple message: Change your fuel.
“The Cowichan Biodiesel Co-op (CBDC) has been supplying 100 per cent renewable biodiesel, made from recycled cooking oils, as a petro-diesel alternative since 2005,” said CBDC Project Manager Hassaan Rahim in an October media release.
So even if your VW engine isn’t running up to snuff – environmentally speaking – you can still drive the car with a clear conscience if you simply start filling up with biodiesel.
That some diesel auto manufacturers were cheating was, perhaps, news; that all cars, no matter how finely tuned, pollute shouldn’t have been, Rahim pointed out. In fact, even for diesels that are genuinely high performance when it comes to emissions, using biodiesel whenever possible makes sense.
“Even the ones that pass emissions testing are still releasing greenhouse gases and toxins into the atmosphere,” Rahim said. “With this recent news, now we just know that some cars pollute more than we previously thought.”
Electric vehicles are a good alternative – if you can afford the switch, and if you can be sure the source of your electricity is non-polluting. But for the many diesel owners who are still making payments on their vehicles, biodiesel is a viable green alternative.
“Biodiesel offers well-documented environmental, mechanical and human health benefits,” Rahim said. “It reduces CO2 and other harmful emissions to the atmosphere and our lungs, including an 80 to 90 per cent reduction in PAHs and other carcinogens.”
PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) are ‘reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen’ according to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry.
Making the switch from harmful petro-diesel to biodiesel is easy, Rahim said, “For Volkswagen owners asking themselves what to do next, biodiesel is a ‘drop-in’ fuel that can be used now in existing diesel vehicles with little or no modifications needed.”
Asked how complicated it is to switch from petrol to biodiesel, Rahim said the transition is easy, and biodiesel users can switch back and forth. “We recommend easing your car to using biodiesel, so starting with a 50 per cent blend for a few times and then going up to 100 per cent biodiesel,” he explained.
Biodiesel is available at the Cowichan Biodiesel Co-op, 55 Station St, Duncan (phone 250-748-2694 for information or visit smellbetter.org). Rahim noted that a ‘growing BC Biofuel Network’ also makes biodiesel available in Victoria and Vancouver.