Gadsden, Ala., switches 146 city diesels to B20 saving $5K a year

By Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition | May 30, 2013

On May 29, the city of Gadsden, Ala., showcased its switch to cleaner biodiesel fuel for many of its garbage trucks, dump trucks, tractors and other heavy equipment.

A press conference took place at the public works department’s new B20 biodiesel tank, which now services 146 diesel-burning vehicles.

The soy-based fuel is 20 percent domestically produced biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel. It currently costs 1 cent less per gallon than traditional diesel. That cent is expected to add up to at least $5,000 a year in savings.

In addition, biodiesel produces less air pollution, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 15 percent.

“We are being kinder to the environment, we are saving money, and we are reducing our dependence on foreign oil,” Gadsden Mayor Sherman Guyton said. “There’s no downside to that. It’s a win-win-win-win.”

The B20 initiative is just one of the city’s alternative-fuel initiatives. For example, Gadsden is producing its own B100 biodiesel from recycled restaurant and household grease for its mowing tractors; Gadsden also is committed to using E85, a cheaper and cleaner fuel made up of 10 percent gasoline and 85 percent ethanol, in compatible city vehicles.

Ira Phillips Inc., a Gadsden-based wholesaler/distributor that typically deals in traditional fuels, won the bid to supply the city with E85 and B20 and to install the public works’ dedicated biodiesel fueling site. The site became operational April 29.

“Ira Phillips listened to the city’s needs to use cleaner-burning fuels, and we were able to meet their needs with biodiesel and E85,” said Jonathan Tang, the fuel company’s vice president of operations. “Not only does the use of clean fuels save taxpayers money, it also helps the environment. The reduced emission allows the city of Gadsden and Ira Phillips to lessen our carbon footprint together.”

The partnership in Gadsden won praise from the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition, which promotes the use of alternative fuels such as B20, E85, electricity, propane and natural gas.

“Using domestic fuels is more economical and environmentally friendly,” said Mark Bentley, the executive director of the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition. “And rather than supporting foreign oil economies, it helps to support jobs here at home. Local governments like Gadsden are on the leading edge of these efforts.”

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