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Renewable diesel fuel coming to Bend: Some drivers excited, others hesitant

(Update: Adding video, comments from gas company, diesel drivers)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Diesel drivers in Bend will be the first in Oregon to fill up with renewable diesel fuel at the pump. 

James Haselhofer is the director of marketing for Carson, the partner company working with Neste to make environmentally friendly diesel fuel. 

“Well, I think this is a win-win, in terms of how it works,” Haselhofer said Wednesday. 

Haselhofer said the fuel, called R99, is made from waste from soy, meat, restaurants and other industries.

To be more specific, renewable diesel is primarily made from waste and residue materials - used cooking oil, greases and rendered fats. These raw materials are what’s leftover from cooking food - fried chicken, pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers and many other comfort foods, according to Neste.

Per a Neste official, "Recently, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) updated its Low Carbon Fuel Standard Carbon Intensity score calculations. As a result, Neste’s renewable diesel now delivers a 75% GHG reduction vs 80% over its lifecycle."

More details at: https://www.neste.us/neste-my-renewable-diesel/product-information

“We’re moving away from fossil fuels and the harmful emissions that fossil fuels cause,” Haselhofer said. 

The fuel arrives at the pumps at Quickway Market in southeast Bend on Oct. 15 and will be with their other specialty fuels, but at a higher price.

NewsChannel 21 spoke to Joey Adams, a Bend resident and diesel user, to see if he would try the new fuel.

“Yeah, I can get behind it, for sure,” Adams said. “I mean, gas prices are going up anyway, so it’s not too much more. I’m already driving a diesel, so it's not too great for the environment. But if I can help in any which way I can, definitely.”

But Shaun Redding, a lead tech at Performance Authority in northeast Bend, is not ready to jump on board. 

“Personally, I would probably avoid it at this point,” Redding said. 

He said he deals with trucks having issues from traditional diesel replacements all the time, and would like to see some more testing before he fills up his own truck with it.

“Somebody's going to have to run it to get the testing done, but I personally wouldn’t want my truck to be the tester for it, unfortunately,” Redding said. 

Haselhofer said the fuel has been used by larger vehicle fleets for years and has received positive feedback from those companies.

He hopes the public's use will have a similar, positive result.

“People talk about solutions to climate change as hybrid solutions -- it’s not just one thing,” Haselhofer said. “Maybe electric cars will be a piece of the puzzle, but maybe also renewable fuels will be a piece of the puzzle as well.”

Neste is also working on renewable aviation fuel and hopes to have renewable regular gas sometime in the future. 

Article Topic Follows: Environment
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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.

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