When Volkswagen announced the Jetta TDI in 2008, we felt it was a very good car for the Green Shuttle business philosophy and fleet.
The TDI is a diesel version of the Jetta that gets 40 miles per gallon.
We figured that burning a renewable biofuel in the TDI would be a great combination.
We asked the Volkswagen dealership if using biofuel was permitted under warrantee, and the answer was a qualified yes: not 100% biofuel, but a maximum blend of 5% was acceptable.
Volkswagen was and still is evaluating higher percentages but still doesn’t have sufficient data.
A 5% blend of biofuel can have a significant impact on our carbon footprint.
For example, if everyone drove a Jetta TDI, imported fossil fuels could potentially be reduced by 5% and replaced with US-grown biocrops such as soy or canola, providing domestic employment and less dependency on imported fuel.
We added a Jetta TDI to the Green Shuttle fleet and immediately started using a blend of Biodiesel.
The car ran perfectly until it hit about 100,000 miles, at which point we ran into issues with our emission control system.
Although it was never stated directly or on the record, the service manager at Volkswagon implicated the use of biodiesel as the cause of the failure.
The repair to the emission systems would cost an incredible $5,000.
The emission warrantee expires at 100,000 miles and we learned that if you are even one mile over, forget getting any of your expenses covered.