Replacing your use of fossil fuels with biofuel for your business helps our environment. Biofuels are produced from renewable material, such as plants and animal by-products. They are usually blended with petrol and diesel to make biofuel blends. Today’s biofuels usually come in the form of biodiesel (an alternative to diesel) and bioethanol (an alternative to petrol).
- Benefits of biofuels
- Using biofuels for your business
- Biofuel blends
- Biofuels and vehicle compatibility
- Using biofuels in non-vehicle engines
Sustainably produced biofuels produce fewer net greenhouse gas emissions than diesel or petrol, and have many benefits for New Zealand. You can demonstrate your commitment to the environment by choosing biofuels.
By using a renewable alternatives to fossil fuels we can:
- reduce net greenhouse gas emissions
- improve air quality
- decrease our dependence on imported oil.
Biofuels sold via fuel retailers must meet government-regulated fuel specifications, so you can be confident about their quality.
EECA operates a voluntary sustainable biofuel reporting scheme. Companies participating in the scheme report on the sustainability of the biofuels they sell. Look for the EECA sustainable biofuel label.
Biofuel blends with this label:
- reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions in New Zealand
- do not compete with food production
- do not come from environmentally important areas such as rainforests.
You can find out which companies sell biofuel blends on our Sustainable biofuels information page.
When bioethanol is mixed with ordinary petrol, it makes bioethanol-blended petrol - often referred to as E3 or E10. These numbers relate to the percentage of bioethanol in the blend. If your vehicles usually run on petrol, you can switch to bioethanol blends at available pumps.
You can switch between using bioethanol-blended petrol and ordinary petrol in your vehicle at any time. A few service stations also offer E85 (85% bioethanol) for use in flex-fuel vehicles only. Flex-fuel vehicles are designed so that they can use either ordinary petrol, E10, E85, or any blend between - it’s up to the driver to choose what to put in the tank, and it doesn't matter what mix of these fuels is used either.
When pure biodiesel is mixed with ordinary diesel, it makes a biodiesel blend - often referred to as B5, B7 or B20. These numbers relate to the percentage of biodiesel in the blend. B5 must meet the same fuel specifications as ordinary diesel and can be sold as ordinary diesel fuel. The biodiesel component must also meet stringent specification requirements.
Blends above B5 and up to B7 can be sold at the pump so long as the fuel's makeup is clearly labelled. Blends above B7 and up to B100 (100% biodiesel) can be sold if there’s a written contract in place with the supplier so you understand what you are buying. You can switch between using biodiesel blends and ordinary diesel in your vehicle at any time.
Almost all diesel vehicles can use a 5% biodiesel blend (B5) without any engine or fuel system modifications, and many diesel vehicles have also been approved to use B7 biodiesel blend (B7). Higher blends, such as B20, can be used in some large commercial vehicles such as trucks and buses, if a few simple checks and steps are followed. Check with your vehicle or engine manufacturer, and with a specialist with expertise in the field, about the level of blend that's suitable for your vehicles.
Because biodiesel blends have stronger cleaning properties than diesel, they can loosen dirt and carry it through to the fuel filter. If your fuel filter hasn’t been changed recently, it should be changed after the first few fills of biodiesel blends.
If you’re in the motor trade, you can read more detailed information on using biodiesel blends in our guide.
- Working with biodiesel blends - a guide for the motor trade, repair and transport industries [PDF 748KB]
Most new and many older vehicles can use bioethanol-blended petrol. The AA website has a list of vehicles that support the use of bioethanol-blended petrol.
Make sure your first fill with bioethanol-blended petrol is a big fill to absorb any existing free water that might be in your tank.
If your fuel filter hasn’t been changed recently, it should be changed after the first few fills of bioethanol-blended petrol. Bioethanol-blended petrol has stronger cleaning properties than for petrol, so changing the filter will take out any material loosened and caught in the filter.
If you have concerns about using a biofuel blend, check your vehicles handbook or with the equipment supplier.
If you’re in the motor trade, you can read more detailed information on using bioethanol blends in our guide.
Bioethanol-blended petrol can be used in almost any land based petrol engine - from lawn mowers to generators. Bioethanol-blended petrol should not be used in marine or aviation applications unless the operation as a whole is specifically designed for such, and any required authorisation has been obtained.
You can use biodiesel blends in almost any diesel engine - including earth moving equipment, tractors, generators or boats. As with petrol, don't leave the fuel in the tank for longer than 2 months to lessen the risk it might absorb moisture from the air.
Biodiesel blends can be used in the marine sector where appropriate measures are taken. Biodiesel blends may in fact be preferred in sensitive marine environments due to their ability to break down more quickly than for diesel if spilt.