Brattleboro switches vehicle fleet to biodieselBy DANIEL BARLOW Southern Vermont Bureau | July 17,2006BRATTLEBORO — Starting this fall, about three dozen of Brattleboro's municipal vehicles will be running on biodiesel.
The Brattleboro Select Board voted 5-0 last week to begin using the fuel, which comes from vegetable oil and burns cleaner than traditional fuel. The switchover was brokered by Brattleboro Climate Protection, a nonprofit group working with the town on energy issues.
Town officials said vehicles that already have diesel engines will be making the switch, including maintenance vehicles from the Brattleboro Public Works Department, the BeeLine bus system, fire trucks, as well as emergency vehicles operated by the ambulance service Rescue Inc.
"Switching to biodiesel is becoming a mainstream idea for municipalities," said Paul Cameron, the executive director of Brattleboro Climate Protection. "Four years ago, there were only three large fleets using biodiesel. Now there are over 300 in the United States."
The nonprofit group, which operates from an office within the municipal center, has been working with the town to switch over for three years. But the slightly higher cost of biodiesel made the switch difficult, according to Town Manager Jerry Remillard.
Then gas prices began going up and biodiesel looked more like an attractive option, he said.
"The difference right now is about five and a half cents more than regular diesel," said Remillard. "So we're talking only about a $2,000 difference in a line item of $50,000 to $60,000."
Brattleboro will be using a blend called B-20, which is comprised of 80 percent traditional diesel fuel and 20 percent biodiesel. The fuel will be supplied by Fleming Oil in Brattleboro, which was one of the first companies in New England to begin carrying the blend at its fuel pumps.
The vehicles will begin using the fuel in August or September, when Brattleboro buys its quarterly 8,500 gallons of fuel for the vehicle fleet.
Cameron estimates the switch will result in an annual drop of 72 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which a vast majority of scientists say is the leading cause of global warming.
Brattleboro took a pledge in 2000 to reduce its overall emissions by 20 percent by 2010.
"I think we've laid a lot of groundwork by educating people on biodiesel," said Cameron. "People are much more familiar with the product and they know it is not something that will go away."
Contact Daniel Barlow at email@example.com.MORE IN News
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1520, Ferdinand Magellan is first European to navigate passage that bears his name from the Atlantic to the Pacific sea; in 1582, Will Shakespeare, Anne Hathaway secure their marriage license with 40 pound bond.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1778, Capt. James Cook is first European to set eyes on Maui in Hawaiian Islands; 1922, Pharoah Tutankhamun found after 3000 years; 1909, Hollawood movie star Frances Dee born in Los Angeles.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Hazmat unit called downtown, Boys & Girls Club hosts dinner for members and families, Secret Santa back on the beat, city discusses runoff problem on Mayfield Road, Brandon gets creative about fixes to town roads, sidewalks.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 1944, U.S. begins B-29 bombing raids on Japanese main islands; in 1950, Great Appalachian Storm begins to form; 1963, Lee Oswald killed by Jack Ruby; 1974, D.B. Cooper hijacks Seattle-bound airliner; 1974, 'Lucy' found.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1927, striking Colo. miners attacked with machine guns by state police; 1877, Thomas Edison announces invention of the phonograph, 1959, Alan Freed fired by WABC 770 AM for accepting payola to promote records.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivers short speech in Gettysburg, Pa.; in 1984, a Pemex LNG facility destroyed by series of gas explosions, 600 people are killed; in 1998, Senate builds fire under Bill Clinton.