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Responding to pressure to operate in a greener fashion, Santa Barbara City Hall announced last week that it will be powering all of its diesel trucks on a cleaner burning bio-diesel fuel blend. The shift came in response to escalating gas prices – which made the more expensive bio-diesel more competitive – and increased pressure from within City Hall to operate in as green a way as feasible. Late last year, City Hall announced the formation of its “Green Team,” a group of high-level managers from all departments charged with finding environmentally preferable ways of doing business. Bio-diesel fuels – some of which are created using old french fry and donut grease – are typically mixed with standard diesel fuels to create a blend. Two years ago, city fleet managers cast a skeptical eye on bio-diesel, questioning its cost and performance. While the change of heart now makes Santa Barbara the only city in the county – and one of only a few statewide – to use bio-diesel, other municipalities throughout the nation have been using such alternative fuels to good effect. In Clark County, Nevada – home of Las Vegas – the county, school, and water district fleets have been powered by bio-diesel for years.

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