Gilbert’s entire fleet of diesel vehicles has switched to a soybean-based biodiesel that is expected to support the town’s clean-air programs, maintain engines for longer life spans and also bring future savings.
The town’s 175 vehicles capable of running on biodiesel — including fire trucks, refuse trucks and street sweepers — began using B2 last week, a biodiesel that uses a mix of soybean oil.
The pilot project is beginning with a 2 percent mix of soybean oil to diesel. The goal is to transition to B5, a 5 percent mix of soybean oil, within coming months, and to review possible increases from that point. The B2 blend is the same price as ultra-low sulfur diesel, and B5 costs 1.5 cents less per gallon on average.
Fleet manager Jim Brohamer, who implemented green fuel programs as fleet manager in Flagstaff before coming to Gilbert in September, said the soybean oil adds a new lubricant to the fuel, which will help engines last longer.
The change was of zero cost to the town, as no vehicles or equipment need to be converted.