SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is conducting a $100,000 six-month pilot project to determine the feasibility of using B-20 biodiesel fuel, derived mainly from recycled cooking oil in Southern California. Caltrans began the pilot project in January. About 20 Caltrans vehicles (trucks and construction equipment) in Indio have been running on B-20 biodiesel. The project will conclude in July, followed by a one- to two-month analysis by the University of California, Riverside.

If the results are favorable, Caltrans could begin fueling up to 4,500 diesel vehicles in its fleet with B-20, a blend of 20 percent non-diesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel. Caltrans uses about 3 million gallons of regular diesel from its fuel sites annually. A switchover to B-20 would decrease its consumption of petroleum by as much as 600,000 gallons yearly.

Biodiesel is seen as a viable choice for Caltrans because the infrastructure is already in place — it has about 230 diesel fuel sites statewide — and only minor, relatively inexpensive modifications would need to be made to these facilities.

Last year, Schwarzenegger signed into law the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which places an economy-wide cap on greenhouse gas emissions and requires a reduction of emissions in California to 1990 levels by 2020. He has also set administrative targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Also, the Schwarzenegger introduced the Low Carbon Fuel Standard in January, which uses enforceable standards, market competition, and flexible compliance to reduce emissions at the lowest cost and in the most consumer-friendly ways. By 2020, it will require a reduction in the carbon intensity of California’s passenger vehicle fuels of at least 10 percent and is expected to more than triple the size of California’s renewable fuels market, displace 20 percent of California’s gasoline consumption with lower carbon fuels, and put more than 7 million alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles on its roads without any new government spending.