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San Francisco Mayor Orders B20 Use in All City-Owned Diesels

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom last week issued an Executive Directive ordering the use of B20 biodiesel in 100% of the diesel vehicles owned by the city. San Francisco is the largest US city with such a comprehensive provision.

All diesel-using departments shall begin using a B20 biodiesel blend as soon as practicable in all diesel vehicles and other diesel equipment, with the following sequential goals: initiate and complete biodiesel pilot project by 31 December 2006; 25% implementation by 31 March 2007; 100% implementation by 31 December 2007.

San Francisco now has more than 800 alternative fuel vehicles in its fleets.

Several City departments and agencies have already successfully used B20 including San Francisco Airport, Department of Public Works, MUNI buses, and the San Francisco Zoo.

The City currently uses about 8 million gallons of diesel a year.

Concurrent with the mayor’s announcement, the San Francisco Fire Department announced that it has initiated a six-month pilot program to test and monitor the use of B20 in two fire trucks, six engines and one ambulance.

In April, San Francisco became the first major US city to pass a resolution acknowledging the threats posed by peak oil, and urging the city to develop a comprehensive plan to respond to an emerging global energy crunch.



Someone needs to tell them to purchase plenty of Viton hose and to carry extra fuel filters is all city diesel vehicles. Or they will turn out like the idiots in Minnisota. An ounce of prevention to prevent a pound of bad Bio press.


San Francisco cracks me up. For all the verbal methane that gets spewed about mitigation difficulties, they seem to just set a crazy-ass goal and then go about making it happen. It's heartening and worrying all at once.

But I couldn't agree more, Joseph. Here's to hoping that they bother to do it correctly, and become a sign of possibility rather than a scapegoat staple.

tony chilling

Some city has to be brave enough to....
(as expressed in the lyrics of Cole Porter.)

"You all have learned reliance
on the sacred teachings of science,
so I hope through life you never will decline,
in spite of philistine defiance,
to do what all good scientists do.....

Rafael Seidl

I suppose this is a contribution toward California's stated goal of increased biodiesel use:

The article doesn't state where the fair city by the Bay will get its B20 from but previous announcements regarding biogas from pet litter suggest an unusual feedstock option:

Another option would be to import vegetable oil from e.g. a tropical country using ocean tankers. Overland freight of domestic soy or canola oil would preumably be quite expensive once you get beyond the novelty scale.


Farmers in "Third" World countries suffer low prices and low incomes caused our farm subsidies. I believe 60% of africans live in rural areas. Increasing the value of some of their produce used for cooking oil would benefit them.


Let's see: 20% of 80 Million gallons per year comes to roughly 4400 gallons per day. So the city's restaurants could easily provide sufficient WVO feedstock. I believe there are several Bay Area producers coming online who will be doing just that (biodiesel from used restaurant oil), so I don't think feedstock source will be a problem. And finally, I'm pretty sure the city is working with sfbiofuels, which has knowledgeable people behind it and is well-aware of potential problems and what precautions to take. I think its a great development.

B Dude

Veg oil fuel (WVO and SVO) is not biodiesel-- there seems to be a little confusion on that here. Bio Diesel requires no conversion at all - SVO/WVO requires lots of tinkering conversion collection and brewing heating in the tank etc-- worth it if you've the mechanical know how time and $ , but any ol' modern diesel engine can run B100 today without conversion. Hoses and Filters require a watchful eye, but that's about it.


just remember, can easily just pour wvo into a diesel car.. runs at same power if mix to like 40-50% wvo. If loose too much power, just reduce percentage.. power should gain as engine and oil heats up. good luck!!

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