Long Beach Looking at Biodiesel

John Davis

longbeach.gifThe City of Long Beach, California might be the latest municipality to join the ranks of those that are switching their fleets to biodiesel.

The Long Beach Gazette reports the city is trying to reduce its carbon footprint:

The City Council directed City Manager Pat West to investigate the feasibility of using biodiesel to power its 361 city-owned trucks, large cars and other diesel vehicles. The fuel allows engines to get about 400 miles out of each tank and is 35% more energy efficient than petroleum diesel.

“I think it’s a wonderful time for the city to explore the use of biodiesel, because it has tremendous benefits,” said Vice Mayor Bonnie Lowenthal. “All of us in city government are committed to improving the environment in every way we can.”

Lowenthal got behind the wheel of a biodiesel-converted Volkswagen Beetle this week after winning a three-day test run of the car at a Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters event. She spent some of the time taking environmentalists and other interested community members on excursions through different parts of the city.

“Anyone interested (took) a ride around the block to see that a car with biofuel acts the same way as any other car would and vastly improves the environment,” she said.

Vehicles that run on biodiesel get about 47 miles per gallon and provide a renewable, cleaner alternative fuel with lower toxic exhaust emissions than petroleum. Lowenthal said she supports its use, because it would help reduce the city’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Officials expect little effort to actually make the change. Right now, Long Beach uses more than 21,600 gallons of diesel a year in its vehicles. If the city makes the conversion, it would be eligible for state and federal incentives, tax credits, and other programs.