NEWARK, NJ – All diesel-powered vehicles on the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s (UMDNJ) Newark campus have switched to a blend of diesel and agricultural oils for power. Earlier this year, the approximately 40 ambulances, shuttle buses, and other vehicles on the Newark campus, which formerly used diesel fuel, began using B-20 biodiesel fuel. The diesel-powered fleet uses approximately 100,000 gallons of fuel per year.

Alan Binstein, UMDNJ’s director of logistical services who is in charge of the university’s overall 400 vehicle fleet, said the change allows 10 percent of the vehicles, all based in Newark, to use a far more environmentally friendly fuel without having to make any costly modifications to the fleet’s engines.

The biodiesel fuel is supplied through a state procurement contract by World Energy Alternatives, a Massachusetts firm. The contract calls for a state subsidy of up to $17,500 over the length of the one-year contract from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, if the price of B-20 is more expensive than the price of regular diesel fuel at the time of any given fuel purchase. The subsidy is designed to encourage environmental protection measures by compensating UMDNJ for any increased costs to use B-20 fuel.

UMDNJ already had purchased 12 Ford Escape hybrids (using a combination of gasoline and electric power) for its vehicle fleet in the past 18 months. These vehicles get up to 36 miles per gallon, and were also purchased under a state procurement contract, making them eligible for a Board of Public Utilities rebate of $4,000 per vehicle.