- File photo

File photo

Following a successful six-month demonstration period where New York City tested one million gallons of renewable diesel, the city has announced it will expand the use of renewable diesel and phase out the use of traditional diesel for its fleet.

Renewable diesel (also called R-99) is a 99% petroleum-free diesel alternative that reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 65%, according to the city. Made from animal fat, soybeans, and other organic material, renewable diesel works in traditional diesel-powered vehicles as a complete replacement or in blends with regular diesel fuel.

During the recent demonstration period, renewable diesel was used to power garbage trucks, Parks Department equipment, Department of Correction buses, Police Department emergency service units, and other heavy and specialized fleet units.

The city plans to bid a long-term contract to purchase renewable diesel. Each year, fleet equipment uses up to 17 million gallons of diesel that could be displaced through this initiative.

“NYC has demonstrated over 12 years of leadership in biodiesel implementation in fleet and buildings,” said Keith Kerman, NYC chief fleet officer. “Renewable diesel is the next step in our efforts to replace traditional fossil fuels. This summer’s initial program was successful and the fuel proved fully compatible with our existing trucks and storage tanks.” 

City fleet units will continue to use biodiesel as well, in blends of 5-20%.

In addition to biofuels, New York City now operates 1,700 on-road electric vehicles, nearly 6,000 hybrid units, solar-powered units, and natural-gas-powered fleet units. 

This initiative is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in New York City by at least 80% by 2050.

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