Diesel gas pump. Photo credit: Alexander Nguyen

To further efforts to meet the city of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2035, the Environmental Services Department has begun fueling its fleet of off-road vehicles and equipment at the Miramar Landfill with red-dye renewable diesel, it was announced Friday.

San Diego in 2016 became the first city in the country with a large fleet of on-road vehicles to use renewable diesel. The city has used renewable diesel in 1,125 on-road vehicles since then.

Friday’s announcement involves the 29 landfill off-road fleet of loaders, bulldozers, a stacker belt and other specialized equipment that previously ran on red-dye petroleum diesel fuel.

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

The renewable diesel comes from sources such as natural fats, vegetable oils, greases and agricultural waste products. The red dye is added to indicate use for off-road vehicles and exemption from both state and federal taxes.

The California Air Resources Board says red-dye diesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% compared to petroleum diesel.

According to the city, the replacement fuel is easy to swap out with the petroleum fuel without any modifications to vehicles. It costs an average of 5 cents more per gallon than standard diesel, but is cleaner-burning and improves engine performance.

“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.

San Diego’s Climate Action Plan calls for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2035 compared to 2010’s levels. The city’s emissions have decreased by 24% since 2010.

–City News Service

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