Diesel to vanish overnight, in favor of eco-friendly fuel

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Diesel to vanish overnight, in favor of eco-friendly fuel

Biodiesel, an environmentally-friendly alternative fuel, is to be sold in Korea starting July 1, but both consumers and related industry seem skeptical about its business potential here. Regular diesel will no longer be sold, immediately replaced with biodiesel, essentially methyl ester with 0.5 percent either soybean oil or recycled grease, in all the 10,000 or so gas stations in Korea, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy announced. The ministry said the measure is part of a government effort to lower the nation’s dependence on oil energy amid soaring prices, and to improve air quality in the long run. The biodiesel products to be used, however, are far below the standard of 20 percent bio-ingredients that had been originally proposed. That was lowered mainly because safety concerns kept arising since May 2002, when the government launched trial sales of the product. Problems included filters clogging during winter and engines suddenly stalling. The safety issue is seen as bad news by some drivers of diesel-fueled cars, who will have no choice but to use the new fuel. Some fuel injector makers, such as Bosch and Delphi, recently said they would not take responsibility for any car accidents caused by the use of biodiesel because their products were developed for cars using only regular diesel. The maximum percentage of bio ingredients will be limited to 5 percent over the next two years, but the government plans to mandate that Korean refiners greatly raise the portion later. by Seo Ji-eun

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