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City of San Diego Goes Green with Red- Colored Fuel for Off-Road Vehicles

-Editorial

The City of San Diego Environmental Services Department has started fueling its fleet of off-road vehicles and equipment at the Miramar Landfill with red-dye renewable diesel, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and furthering efforts to meet the City’s Climate Action Plan goals.

In 2016, the City became the first municipality in the nation with a large fleet to use renewable diesel in its fleet of 1,125 diesel-powered on-road vehicles. The use of red-dye renewable diesel completes the City’s switch to renewable diesel in its entire fleet of diesel-powered vehicles and equipment.

“The City of San Diego continues to lead the nation by taking action to address climate change and air quality concerns, “said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer.

“Transitioning to a greener, cleaner and superior-performing fuel in our landfill’s diesel-powered off-road vehicles and equipment is the smart and responsible thing to do. We are committed to leaving behind a cleaner and more sustainable San Diego for generations to come.”

Derived from renewable resources including natural fats, vegetable oil, greases and agricultural waste products, renewable diesel is a direct replacement fuel for petroleum diesel. Red dye is added to renewable diesel to indicate its use for off-road vehicles and exemption from state and federal taxes. According to the California Air Resources Board, this low-carbon fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% compared to petroleum diesel.

In addition to being an environmentally-friendly fuel, renewable diesel is a “drop-in” fuel easily used in engines designed to run on petroleum diesel without any modifications. Renewable diesel costs about five cents more per gallon than standard petroleum diesel but is a cleaner, smoother combusting fuel that improves engine performance, reduces maintenance costs and maximizes engine life.

“The City will continue to incorporate innovative technology and advancements in alternative fuels, such as with renewable diesel, to make vehicle and fueling operations more efficient, and help reduce vehicle emissions, maintenance costs and conserve fuel,” said Fleet Operations Department Director Casey Smith.

Last year, the City’s Climate Action Plan Annual Report detailed San Diego’s progress toward slashing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with a 24% decrease over the past decade – far surpassing the 2020 goal of 15%. The City’s Climate Action Plan calls for slashing GHGs in half by 2035 compared to emissions from 2010. The 2019 numbers marked the fourth consecutive year of reductions.

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