The recent Mardi Gras celebration was a little cleaner this year thanks to biodiesel, an environmentally friendly fuel made from renewable resources like soybean oil.New Orleans, Louisiana – March 6, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Through a donation from biodiesel marketer Peter Cremer North America and Procter & Gamble Chemicals (P&G), the Greater New Orleans Clean Cities Coalition offered free biodiesel to owners of diesel carnival float trucks who wanted to try it during the parades. “We estimate that within the 10 to 12 day period of Mardi Gras, the heavy duty vehicles in the parades consume 25 thousand gallons of fuel – all in the presence of three million people who breathe in the fumes all day long,” said Jim Harvey, Chairman of the Greater New Orleans Clean Cities Coalition. “That’s one reason we decided to promote cleaner burning fuels like biodiesel during this event.” The coalition offered up to 1,400 gallons of P&G’s Nexsol-brand biodiesel. A distribution center was set up for drivers to receive the fuel. River Parishes Oil of Norco, Louisiana was the fuel distributor handling the biodiesel for the event. The company was the first in the New Orleans area to carry B20, a mixture of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent diesel. Harvey said the response from Mardi Gras participants has been extremely positive. “I’m amazed at the reaction of the people who are here to party and have a good time,” he said. “We’re pulling them out of their revelry and asking them to think about the environment and energy security. They become engaged and start asking questions.” The Clean Cities Coalition plans to donate any fuel left over from Mardi Gras to a school district and the Regional Transit Authority in an effort to expose them to cleaner burning options. “New Orleans is close to the edge of falling out of national standards for air quality,” Harvey said. “We’re looking for ways to make sure we stay within those standards, and biodiesel is one way to do that using existing diesel vehicles and fueling infrastructure.” About 300 major fleets use biodiesel commercially nationwide, including all branches of the U.S. Military, the National Park Service, public utility companies, school districts and municipalities. Biodiesel performs similarly to petroleum diesel but significantly reduces emissions like carbon monoxide, particulate matter and unburned hydrocarbons. It is free of sulfates and is the only alternative fuel to have completed the rigorous Health Effects testing requirements of the Clean Air Act. Results show its use significantly reduces the threat of cancer and other ailments compared to petroleum diesel.