Bill signed requiring NYC municipal fleet to use biodiesel blends

By The National Biodiesel Board | September 05, 2013

The largest municipal fleet in the country made a bold environmental statement yesterday with cleaner burning biodiesel. 

New York City Councilman James F. Gennaro, honored by the National Biodiesel Board with the 2011 Clean Energy Leadership Award, sponsored the bill. “I am proud to have been an early supporter of the expanded use of biodiesel fuels that have created an entirely new green industry based right here in New York City employing hundreds of people,” said Gennaro. “Together with the crucial backing of New York City Council Speaker Quinn, we've proven that environmentally sound policies that have a net positive effect on the health of millions of New Yorkers are great job-creators.”

A broad bill to reduce the emissions of pollutants from city vehicles includes several measures focused on biodiesel. Mayor Mike Bloomberg signed the bill yesterday to mandate all city diesel vehicles use fuel blended with biodiesel. The new law requires a fuel blend of 5 percent biodiesel (B5) by 2014, and of 20 percent (B20) by 2016, during the warm weather months. The bill also calls for the city to conduct a pilot program to study the feasibility of using B20 year-round. 

“We have an obligation to leave our city—and our planet as a whole—better than how we found it,” said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn when the bill passed. “To this end, the council has passed ground-breaking legislation to reduce our carbon footprint. Today, we continue in our efforts to make New York City cleaner and greener than ever before.”

Home to nearly 8,000 diesel vehicles, the city already uses biodiesel blends in almost all vehicles and in such prominent and key roles as Central Park management, snow removal and garbage collection. The city was an early adopter and is home to many of biodiesel's biggest champions. A move to B20 would add up to 2 million gallons of biodiesel use annually. 

In addition to the City of New York, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has been operating on B20 since 2000. Their case studies using B20 year-round in airport emergency and snow removal equipment demonstrates biodiesel's performance capabilities. 

Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is the first and only U.S. EPA-designated advanced biofuel with commercial-scale production nationwide. It is produced in nearly every state in the country and supports some 50,000 jobs. The National Biodiesel Board is the U.S. biodiesel trade association.

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