Biodiesel Keeps Buses Rolling

John Davis

While some motorists are fretting over the possibility of gas shortages… not to mention skyrocketing fuel prices, the folks who operate the school buses in Gaston County, North Carolina are sitting pretty with plenty of fuel at cheap prices… thanks to homemade biodiesel!

This story from WSOC-TV says the Gaston County Bus Depot (as you might remember from my post back on Nov. 5, 2007) has five weeks worth of reserve fuel and is making more:

The director of transportation, Baxter Starr, said five years ago the department began making biodiesel to protect the environment.

“We are still in awe of what we have been able to accomplish,” Starr said.

While many Gaston County residents are paying $3.99 a gallon, it only costs the depot about a dollar a gallon to make fuel, Starr said.

He said the county saved $100,000 in gas last year, and they don’t have to wait on refineries. Workers use the cooking oil from school cafeterias, restaurants and the Lance Corporation in Charlotte.

They get the oil, clean it up, and drive more than 10,000 miles a day with it.

The county was pretty innovative by buying half a million dollars worth of biodiesel-making equipment for only about $78,000… thanks to eBay and army surplus stores. Considering the $100,000 in fuel savings the district had last year, I’d say that’s a pretty good investment.