Transit District Votes to Switch to Biodiesel Blend

Taking its first baby step toward converting to biodeisel, the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District voted to start fueling its buses with a blend of five percent biodiesel, 95 percent petroleum diesel fuel starting May 1. Six months following its February 13 vote, the board will consider upgrading to a 20/80 blend. Its decision will depend largely on a report from the City of Santa Barbara, which since July of 2006 has been using the 20 percent biodiesel in its entire fleet of 150 vehicles, from street sweepers to fire trucks. Unlike stronger blends, the five percent and 20 percent blends can be used with few or no equipment modifications. Biodiesel is less explosive than petroleum diesel, which translates into reduced power, and it costs slightly more than petroleum diesel. However, its use reduces greenhouse gases and tailpipe emissions of lung-damaging particulate matter.

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