Many California City Fleets Run on Bio-Based Diesel Fuels

More cities and counties in California are switching to renewable diesel and biodiesel fuels for their diesel-engined vehicles, according to panelists at the recent League of California Cities annual conference. During a session led by the Diesel Technology Forum, experts from the city of Oakland, California, and Neste US, shared insights into what they say are the benefits gained by pairing the newest generation of diesel technology with renewable bio-based diesel fuels.
Many California City Fleets Run on Bio-Based Diesel Fuels
Adams Point, Oakland (City of Oakland)

“New, advanced bio-based diesel fuels offer state and city leaders new opportunities to put existing and readily available equipment to work, reliably and cost-effectively delivering essential public services alongside clean air and climate progress,” said Ezra Finkin, director of policy and external outreach for the Diesel Technology Forum, and moderator of the League of California Cities panel. “Upgrading a city or county’s oldest and most-used vehicles and equipment to the newest-generation of diesel technology is the fastest, most cost-effective way for cities to reduce emissions and meet climate goals.”

Many cities in California – Oakland, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego and others – now exclusively use renewable diesel fuel in city-owned heavy-duty trucks, buses and equipment. These cities are seeing cost savings and emission reductions achieved by combining new-generation diesel engines with renewable diesel fuel. For example: the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency removed more than 10,000 tons of CO2 in a single year, just by using renewable diesel fuel in 632 transit buses. More locations in California continue to offer this fuel, making it increasingly more available to truckers and fleet drivers.

“Demand for cleaner, low-carbon fuels is on the rise globally, and California cities are leaders in the movement toward an emissions-free future,” said Jeremy Baines, president of Neste US. 

According to recent data from the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program, biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel delivered California’s biggest reduction in transportation-related sources of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2018, California’s use of these fuels in diesel engines eliminated 4.3 million tons of CO2. Since the LCFS program began in 2011, biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel have eliminated more than 18 million tons of CO2.

Today’s diesel engines are near zero in emissions: they nearly eliminate particulate matter (PM) emissions – more than a 95 percent reduction from older generations of the technology; cut nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by up to 90 percent; lower hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions by 50 to 90 percent; and reduce soot emissions by 10 percent.

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