Proponents of biodiesel say it has become the first alternative fuel to complete the health effects testing requirements of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendment.
They say the tests show biodiesel, made from renewable resources such as soybean oil, poses no health threats and results in a 90% reduction in air toxins. The fuel can be used in conventional diesel engines with little or no modifications, they say.
Reps. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Karen McCarthy (D-Mo.) announced the test results. They cosponsored legislation in 1998 that recognizes biodiesel as an official alternative fuel under the 1992 Energy Policy Act.
Shimkus said, "We know this was a costly process-more than $2 million-but by funding and completing these tests ahead of all other alternative fuel groups, the biodiesel industry has shown that it means business.
"With petroleum prices at an all-time high, the need for domestically produced alternative fuel is apparent now more than ever."
He said 40 auto fleets are using biodiesel, compared with 3 just 18 months ago.