Washington DC recognised for use of biodiesel in government vehicles

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The Department of Public Works (DPW) in Washington DC, US has received a Fleet Leadership Award for its use of clean fuel in vehicles.

The award, which was presented by the Greater Washington Clean Cities Coalition (GWCCC), recognises DPW’s mandate to use 100% biodiesel in most of DC government’s diesel fleet, as well as an 85% ethanol fuel and 15% gasoline mix (E85) in all District flex fuel vehicles.

In order to further reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, DPW launched a pilot programme last winter enabling the use of 100% biodiesel fuel in six refuse trucks. The trial reduced emissions by 75%, compared to DPW’s diesel-fuelled equivalents.

“DPW’s diesel refuse trucks cause the highest amount of emissions per vehicle in the entire District fleet,” explained DPW director Chris Geldart. “We were looking for a solution to maximise emissions reductions while minimising any effect on operations.” Geldart added that the agency has ordered 17 new trucks that will run on 100% biodiesel, due to be delivered in fiscal year 2020.

Of the 1.1 million gallons of diesel fuel used in DC’s fleet of government trucks in 2018, nearly 120,000 gallons was biodiesel, resulting in a 1,000-ton reduction of GHG emissions. Moreover, the District’s light-duty fleet consumed over 283,000 gallons of E85 fuel last year, equating to an extra 480-ton reduction of GHG emissions.

“The Department of Public Works has always shown a willingness to pilot new alternative fuel vehicle initiatives, especially those that can help the District save money and contribute to a cleaner environment,” added GWCCC executive director Ira Dorfman. “The Department’s current initiative to convert garbage packers to B100 is one example of how DPW is saving money and reducing its carbon footprint.”