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INL Cuts Total Fuel Use 20% in 4 Years; Increased Use of Biodiesel, E85

For the first nine months of Fiscal Year 2009, Idaho National Laboratory (INL) fuel use is down 20.2%—more than 167,000 gallons US—from the same period in 2006.

Four key tactics have resulted in the fuel reduction:

  • Increasing use of alternate fuels. INL has increased the use of alternate fuels, which include biodiesel and the ethanol-based fuel E85. In April of this year, the entire INL bus fleet began running on B20.

  • Fleet modernization. More than a quarter of the INL passenger bus fleet has been replaced with new fuel-efficient buses in the past four years. The average new bus carries more passengers and gets 25% better mileage than the older ones do. The bus fleet upgrade is on schedule to be complete within four years.

    The INL light-duty fleet of cars and pickup trucks is also being modernized. A contract with the General Services Administration signed last year provides a continuing flow of new, more fuel-efficient vehicles to replace the worn-out ones, some as old as 20 years, that have been in service too long. The new vehicles operate on E85. Modernizing the fleet also cuts fleet maintenance costs—a separate savings amounting to thousands of dollars annually.

  • Mass transit improvements. INL bus routes have been streamlined this year, reducing the total number of routes while eliminating many of the old start-and-stop patterns that wove through residential neighborhoods. Centralization of passenger pickup locations continues and has reduced vehicle miles, operating time and with that, fuel use.

  • Reducing unneeded vehicle use. INL drivers have also been coached in reducing unnecessary idling of vehicle engines. Now, engines are frequently turned off briefly as buses wait to load passengers at the Site. With a fleet of approximately 100 buses, the savings can run into more than 1,000 gallons of fuel per month. The use of INL light-duty vehicles has also declined as INL encourages employees to ride its shuttle buses and vans, which run on a regular schedule to INL remote facilities to accommodate employee schedules.


Henry Gibson

The INL is well suited for plug-in-hybrids that use ZEBRA batteries. There will be only rare times when fuel has to be burned. ..HG..

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