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 firstname.lastname@example.org.MORE IN NewsHARTFORD, Conn. Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 971 AD, Southern Han war elephant corps defeated by Song Dynasty troops bowmen; in 1870, Montana, Marias massacre, U.S. kills 173 Native Americans; in 1941, Charles Lindbergh recommends neutrality pact with Nazis.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Bryanna Allen reports Castleton Downtown hosts open house, fire in Springfield leaves family without a roof of their own, suspected Bosnian war criminal trial goes to jury, Brent Curtis reports Rutland Town budget set to rise.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Bill in Legislature proposes naming beagle Vermont state dog; Associated Press looks back at year in opiate abuse; Shapiro's in Brandon soon to close after 75 years; probe shows illegal online gun sales booming.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1861, JEFFERSON DAVIS resigns from the U.S. Senate to become president of the Confederate States of America, in 1908, NYC passes law forbidding women from smoking in public; in 1968, B-52 crashes, loses H-bomb.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Aldermen debate request for $75K from Zamias Fund for Wonderfeet museum, Bryanna Allen covers CSC Spring Convocation, proponents of sugary drinks tax meet press at State House, Neal Goswami reports revenue forecast for state.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Oil prices continue to drop, good news for Vermonters who heat their homes with the stuff; Pawlet man still missing after one year, icy road make driving and walking sketchy propositions, funding for B&G Clubs announced.