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First 'renewable diesel' pump on Central Coast arrives in San Luis Obispo

JB Dewar
Renewable diesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 80 percent, compared to petroleum diesel

If you're driving a diesel vehicle, there’s a new option for cleaner fuel at a San Luis Obispo pump: renewable diesel.

JB Dewar is the first provider on the Central Coast to start offering renewable diesel at the pump. Signs and flags at pump 16 on 75 Prado Road in San Luis Obispo encourage diesel truck drivers to fuel up with the new choice.

Jordan Pickens with JB Dewar told KCBX News the renewable diesel sign is causing some people to scratch their heads. 

“We’ve certainly had questions," Pickens said. "And the main question is: ‘ Is this biodiesel or what is this?’”

Renewable diesel, much like biodiesel, is derived from agricultural waste products. But renewable diesel is being marketed as an improved, next-generation version of synthetic diesel. 

“It goes through a refining process called hydrotreating," Pickens said. "And that’s the key factor and difference between biodiesel and renewable diesel, it’s that refining process.”

Because of that refining process, Pickens said it burns cleaner than biodiesel, so it releases less carbon. JB Dewar’s pump in San Luis Obispo is currently the only one in the Central Coast to offer it to the broader public. 

“That’s exciting for us," Pickens said. "We feel that that is the future of diesel.”

While biodiesel may require some truck engines to make modifications to use, renewable diesel is compatible with all diesel-burning engines. 

“It’s kind of like a like for like change," Pickens said. "Except, that you are putting renewable diesel in it and it burns cleaner, it has a higher cetane rating so you get better performance and it’s better for the environment.”

Pickens said the demand for cleaner energy is on the rise, and they plan to expand the number of renewable diesel pump locations in the next year.

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
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