San Francisco Mayor Announces Citywide B20 Plan

The San Francisco City Government has long been a leader in its commitment to alternative transportation fuels to promote clean air, encourage renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Mayor Gavin Newsom recently issued an Executive Directive to increase the pace of municipal use of biodiesel.

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) praised the City for showing its commitment to biodiesel. “This makes San Francisco the largest U.S. city ever to institute such broad biodiesel use,” said Joe Jobe, NBB CEO. “The mayor’s leadership in taking his city diesel fleet to B20 is a demonstration of true commitment to the environment, and to weaning ourselves from foreign oil.” The City uses about 8 million gallons of diesel a year. Since 1999, the City’s Healthy Air and Smog Prevention ordinance has established requirements for City fleets to purchase vehicles using alternative fuels or energy-efficient vehicles with low emissions. San Francisco now has more than 800 alternative fuel vehicles in its fleets. Several City departments and agencies have successfully used B20 (a blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel), including San Francisco Airport, Department of Public Works, MUNI buses, and the San Francisco Zoo. Ferries operating out of San Francisco have also used B20 with excellent results. And the Fire Department is not far behind. Among other things, the directive states: — Central Shops and individual department fleet managers shall identify vehicle and equipment applications that can most quickly be transitioned to biodiesel, and shall make any necessary preparations for biodiesel use, including modifications to engines or cleaning of existing diesel storage tanks. — All diesel-using departments shall draft a report listing all diesel vehicles and diesel equipment and send it to Department of Environment, with a copy to the mayor’s office, by July 1, 2006. The Department of Environment and Central Shops shall identify additional related information to be included in the report and notify the departments of those requirements no later than May 31, 2006. — All diesel-using departments shall begin using a B20 biodiesel blend as soon as practicable in all diesel vehicles and other diesel equipment, with the following incremental goals in each department’s use of B20: Initiate and complete biodiesel pilot project by December 31, 2006; 25% by March 31, 2007; and 100% by December 31, 2007. The San Francisco Fire Department announced that it has initiated a six-month pilot program to test and monitor the use of B20 in two fire trucks, six engines and one ambulance. The program will take place in the southeastern section of San Francisco, an area that consistently experiences the city’s poorest air quality. Upon successful completion of the pilot program, the Fire Department expects to expand the use of biodiesel throughout the City. Biodiesel is a renewable diesel fuel that is made from domestic resources such as soybean oil or other domestic fats and vegetable oils. It can be used in any diesel engine with few or no modifications, and can be blended with petroleum diesel at any level.

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