Government Fleet Top News

Berkeley Lab Adds Ethanol to the Pump

August 25, 2004

BERKELEY, CA — The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory added a 4,000-gallon ethanol fuel tank last month, according to the Daily Californian newspaper on August 12.The $122,000 dispensary project makes the lab the first ethanol-dispensing station in Northern California. Ethanol-fueled vehicles reduce toxic air emissions, including carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide by 25 percent. With the help of an $83,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, the ethanol tank now powers 60 of the lab’s 250 fleet vehicles, said Don Prestella, fleet manager at the lab. “By the end of this year, our flex-fuel fleet — those that are capable of using unleaded fuel and/or Ethanol-85 — will grow to about 75,” Prestella said in a statement. “It is our goal to run them exclusively on ethanol.” The Berkeley lab joins more than 300 public and private fueling facilities already using Ethanol-85 in more than 20 states. The lab transitioned its fueling methods to meet the requirements of a 1999 executive order that mandated all federal facilities to reduce toxic air emissions by 2005. “Ethanol was the best option,” said Bill Llewellyn, lab site services manager. Llewellyn said other energy-efficient gasoline alternatives such as electric cars and natural gas, were also considered before settling on ethanol fuel. The vehicles at the lab, flexible-fuel cars, can run on either E-85 or conventional gasoline, making the transition to the new fuel simple for lab officials. The switch required few changes other than the addition of the tank and a new vapor-recovery system, which was installed as part of a test by the California Air Resources Board, Llewellyn said.

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