doi: 10.5191/jiaee.2014.20104


Awareness, Use, and Perceptions of Biodiesel by Belgian and American College Students


Donald M. Johnson

Leslie D. Edgar

University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, AR



Biodiesel is a renewable liquid transportation fuel with potential to extend petroleum supplies and reduce tailpipe emissions of particulate matter, unburned hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide (CO) and reduce life-cycle carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions relative to petroleum diesel. However, little is known about how various groups, either internationally or domestically, view biodiesel. This study examined Belgian and American college students’ awareness, use, and perceptions of biodiesel. A higher percentage of Belgian students versus American students reported driving diesel automobiles (60% and 17%, respectively) and being aware of biodiesel (100% and 86%, respectively). However, only 4% of either Belgian or American students had purchased biodiesel. Belgian students were undecided and American students slightly agreed there were renewable and environmental benefits of biodiesel use. Both Belgian and American students were undecided about biodiesel quality, with Belgian students being more uncertain. Belgian and American students were also undecided if there were negative externalities associated with biodiesel. Both groups tended to agree that continued long-term reliance on fossil fuels is not sustainable; however, Belgian students agreed more strongly than American students. While there were significant differences between Belgian and American students, both groups were largely undecided about biodiesel quality and the food and economic consequences of biodiesel production and use; differences were primarily in the degree of uncertainty. Both groups (especially Belgian students) were concerned about continued reliance on fossil fuels. Given the low level of use and the high degree of uncertainty, efforts should be made to educate Belgian and American college students about biodiesel.


Keywords: Biodiesel, Perceptions, Survey, Belgium, United States


Acknowledgement: This research was made possible by the financial support of the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board; FutureFuel Corp.; and the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture.





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