now available for iPhone, iPod Touch and BlackBerry!
- How do I use Biodiesel Buddy to track my biofuel usage?
Simple, just like your iPhone. On Biodiesel Buddy's home screen, you can see your vehicle's odometer, a selector for fuel blend, and a field to enter in how much fuel you buy. Every time you purchase fuel, simply enter in your vehicle's current odometer reading, the number of gallons of fuel you are buying, and the blend. Pure biodiesel is B100. A 20% mix is B20. If you can't find biodiesel, and have to use regular petroleum diesel, that's B0.
You may also choose to use the tank level indicator to specify how full/emtpy your tank was before you filled up. This is optional, but it helps improve the accuracy of the app's per tankful mpg estimates. Press the Save button after you've entered those pieces of information. That's it! Biodiesel Buddy will tell you how much C02 you've saved, and what your fuel economy has been (assuming this isn't the very first time you're using it ... Biodiesel Buddy needs at least two fillups to calculate your mileage).
- How does the Station finder work?
The station finder can locate biodiesel retailers in one of two ways. First, click on the Station button on the app's lower tab bar. Then, you can either manually enter a city or ZIP code into the search field, or let Biodiesel Buddy use your iPhone's built-in location services. If you don't have Location Services enabled in your iPhone, Biodiesel Buddy will give you a reminder. If you choose to keep Location Services disabled, you will only be able to search for stations by manually entering a city name or ZIP code. The same database of stations, however, is available to you.
- How do I enable Location Services on my iPhone?
To enable Location Services, use the Settings app on your iPhone's home page (not in Biodiesel Buddy). Under General settings, you will find a switch to turn Location Services on. After enabling Location Services, the next time you restart Biodiesel Buddy, you will be able to find stations near your current location, even if you don't know the city or ZIP code!
- What does the Database Update switch on the Biodiesel Buddy Settings page do?
Biodiesel Buddy uses its own database of fuel retailers, and zip codes, to help you find biodiesel. Using its own database means that the app doesn't have to use the network to lookup fuel stations, every time you use it. That can be a big advantage if you're looking for fuel somewhere with limited network coverage, or where your iPhone is roaming. The downside of this feature is that as new biodiesel stations open up near you, Biodiesel Buddy needs to update its database in order to let you find them. If you switch on Database Updates in Biodiesel Buddy, it will use the mobile internet to update its list of stations, and zip codes, every 45 days. This means that sometimes, it may take longer for the Stations page to load. Don't worry. The app is just getting new data to make your user experience better.
- Why doesn't the city or ZIP code I entered show any stations?
It may be that there are no stations near you. It's also possible that you have a new ZIP code. Biodiesel Buddy uses ZIP code data from the US Census, which isn't always up to date. If you enable Database Updates, this might help, if the ZIP code is added to our database after you purchase the app. If your ZIP code still isn't recognized, let us know about it. You can email your zip code, city and state to us here, and we'll add it to the database.
- Where do the CO2 savings estimates come from?
The CO2 savings calculations are derived from data from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE), and Department of Agriculture (USDA). For the mathematics involved, please see this link.
- Does Biodiesel Buddy work on an iPod Touch?
Yes, but all features are not always available. In order to find stations by your current location automatically (as opposed to entering in the ZIP), you will need to have your device connected to a wi-fi network, such as at a local coffee shop. Without wi-fi connectivity, your device won't know where it is. You still have the option of manually searching for stations by ZIP code. Also, since the iPod Touch is not a phone, the blue call buttons in the station list will not do anything. That's why Biodiesel Buddy also displays the phone numbers, so you can use a separate phone to call biodiesel retailers, if you so choose.
- Why doesn't Biodiesel Buddy find ethanol stations?
Well, then we couldn't call it Biodiesel Buddy! Seriously, the developer is a biodiesel TDI driver, so that was the original motivation for the app. Biodiesel currently also offers greater greenhouse gas savings than ethanol made from corn, so it's more important for the environment to facilitate biodiesel use. Cellulosic Ethanol has some promise though, and so an ethanol finder may be a good enhancement to Biodiesel Buddy in the future. Stay tuned.
- Where can you find stations with Biodiesel Buddy?
Currently, only in the Continental United States. Alaska and Hawaii have minimal biodiesel retailer presence. However, if you Contact Us, and let us know where you'd like to see Biodiesel Buddy, that will help get your location on the map, as they say!
- What's the deal with the different wallpapers for Biodiesel Buddy?
Biofuels can be made from a host of different materials, called feedstock. One of the important issues for biofuel consumers to be aware of is the feedstock that's used to create their fuels. The biofuels of today are generally made from feedstock with existing commercial bases (such as food supply), but the feedstock of tomorrow should be plants that are engineered for their efficiency as fuels. For diesel engines, that means energy-rich, oily plants that can be grown on marginal lands, with a minimum of energy consumed in cultivation. After all, this is all about energy. Some of the feedstocks used to produce biodiesel are shown in the wallpaper/background images. Bet you didn't know that your fuel might have come from little green soybeans, did you? Maybe tomorrow, it will be algae!
Have a question not answered here, or an idea for how to make Biodiesel Buddy better? You can contact us here.