Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty announced that Metro Transit will purchase an additional 150 diesel-electric hybrid buses and 164 new clean diesel buses to replace 314 older buses.
Metro Transit will also double the biodiesel content of its fuel supply from a B5 blend (5% biodiesel) to B10 by mid-2007. The State of Minnesota requires two-percent bio-additives in diesel fuel.
We have already begun an operational test of 20 percent biodiesel in a portion of our fleet. This could be a precursor to even higher concentrations of soy esther, further boosting the use of this renewable energy supply.—Peter Bell, Metropolitan Council Chair
Metro Transit consumes and supplies about 10 million gallons of diesel fuel each year. In recent years, the agency:
Incorporated three hybrid electric test buses into its fleet.
Became the first transit provider in the state to use ultra low sulfur diesel, the cleanest available.
Modified bus transmissions for better fuel economy.
Implemented a strategy to reduce bus engine idling.
The Governor also announced that the Metropolitan Airport Commission (MAC) has installed an E-85 fuel tank at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport, making it the first airport in the US to adopt a biofuel standard for its ground transportation vehicles.
The 6,000 gallon tank will ensure that airport flex-fuel ground transportation vehicles are fueled exclusively with the cleaner burning, homegrown ethanol blend. About 2,000 gallons have been pumped since the tank was installed in June.
MAC purchased its first flex-fuel vehicle for its fleet in 2005 and has added seven more vehicles that run on E-85 this year. Their goal is to add three to five E-85 vehicles annually to replace aging vehicles in its fleet.
E85 usage in Minnesota state vehicles has increased by 53% from last year. In the first six months of 2006, state vehicles have used more than 77,000 gallons of E85 compared to 41,000 gallons in 2005. There are 1,171 flex-fuel vehicles in the state fleet.