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City Using Renewable Diesel to Make Its Vehicle Fleet Greener

Cleaner Fuel Option Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions By Up To 80 Percent And Helps Meet The Goals In Mayor Faulconer’s Climate Action Plan

Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – With the goal of making a cleaner San Diego for future generations, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer today announced the City has begun using renewable diesel in its vehicle fleet, a change that is expected to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help meet the goals in Mayor Faulconer’s Climate Action Plan.

“This small change will make a major part of our fleet greener overnight, creating more environmentally-friendly vehicles that are cheaper to maintain,” Mayor Faulconer said. “By transitioning to renewable diesel, we’re significantly reducing the pollution caused by city vehicles that serve the public on a daily basis. We’re leading by example and showing other cities how to make common-sense changes to improve the environment around us.”

The initial phase will support about 900 heavy- and medium-duty vehicles, including service trucks, refuse packers, dump trucks, construction equipment and street sweepers – all of which are fueled at the City’s four major dispensing facilities, including the Chollas Operations Yard where Mayor Faulconer made the announcement. The City expects to begin using renewable diesel at fire stations in the coming weeks, which will result in all of the City’s 1,125 diesel-powered vehicles being powered by renewable diesel.

The transition to renewable diesel is a prime example of the adaptability of the Climate Action Plan. Using a more environmental-friendly diesel fuel source isn’t one of the strategies outlined in the Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the City can take actions outside of the plan that will help reach the goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2035.

“We are constantly looking for ways to make San Diego’s fleet more sustainable and advancements in alternative fuels are making it possible,” said Alia Khouri, the City’s Fleet Operations Director. “Renewable diesel is going to help a significant portion of our fleet run much cleaner with less wear and tear on the engines compared to petroleum diesel.”

A major benefit is that the City can save money by making its existing fleet greener without replacing as many vehicles. Renewable diesel is considered a “drop-in” fuel that can be used in engines that are designed to burn petroleum diesel without any costly modifications to those vehicles or dispensing facilities. A cleaner, smoother combusting fuel also improves engine performance and reduces maintenance costs.

The City’s Fleet Operations Department worked with its local fuel provider, The SoCo Group, to secure ongoing delivery of renewable diesel through Neste Corp., the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel.

“The SoCo Group is excited to help the City of San Diego meet its goals of reducing carbon emissions by partnering with Neste to provide high quality renewable diesel,” said Angus McDonald, President of The SoCo Group. “SoCo has supplied diesel fuels to the city for many years and looks forward to working with the city as it transitions its fleet to renewable diesel.” 

Renewable diesel – derived from renewable resources such as natural fats, vegetable oil, greases and waste from agricultural products – is chemically similar to petroleum diesel but is 100 percent renewable and sustainable. An analysis by the California Air Resources Board determined that renewable diesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 percent compared to petroleum diesel.

“Air quality is a significant concern in many cities around the world today,” said Kaisa Hietala, Neste’s Executive Vice President of Renewable Products. “Neste offers a drop-in solution for reducing traffic-related local emissions and improving local air quality. We are very pleased that our innovative renewable diesel can help San Diego and its inhabitants benefit from our low-carbon fuel.”

CONTACT: Craig Gustafson at (619) 453-9880 or cgustafson@sandiego.gov

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