AC Transit testing biodiesel buses

The Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District began the Cleaner Fuels Test pilot program today to test energy efficient fuel in 22 buses, according to program officials.

The six-month study was coordinated with the help of the Chevron Products Company and Cummins Inc., which will provide biodiesel fuel and periodic engine assessments.

The program will study the effectiveness of B20, a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent ultra low sulfur diesel, according to program organizers. The biodiesel used in the blend is produced from “biological sources” and can be used in unmodified diesel engines.

The study hopes to examine the long-term use of B20 in unmodified engines, as manufacturers usually only insure vehicles using fuel blends with 5 percent biodiesel, according to AC Transit.

AC Transit has made efforts to address carbon emissions and their environmental impact for several years, and this pilot program is part of a larger effort, according to the Web site.

Transit officials report engine modifications to older buses, the switch from regular diesel fuel to ultra low sulfur fuel in 2002, and an annual greenhouse emissions inventory available to the public since 2006.

“By exploring a range of emissions-reducing fuel alternatives, we not only provide cleaner, 'greener' public transportation for our region, we also help advance our range of alternative fuels, potentially bringing benefits to communities far beyond our own service area,” AC Transit General

Manager Rick Fernandez said.

Organizers estimate that the 22 buses using the new fuel will serve 1.5 million passengers and travel over 400,000 miles in the six-month

study.

— Bay City News

Bay Area NewsLocal

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