For informational/historical purposes only.

NEWS RELEASE
The Ohio Department of Transportation & The Office of Governor Bob Taft
September 20, 2005

 

TAFT ANNOUNCES ALTERNATIVE FUEL INVESTMENT
ODOT to use alternative fuels to power heavy equipment, cars

COLUMBUS (September 20, 2005) Governor Bob Taft today announced that after a successful pilot program, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is now fully integrating alternative fuels into its fleet.  By executive order, the Governor asked ODOT to use at least one million gallons of biodiesel fuel and 30,000 gallons of ethanol per year, and to purchase only new cars that are able to run on both unleaded fuel and ethanol.

 Today Ohio is taking a major step forward in the states commitment to biofuels, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, decreasing emissions and increasing opportunities for the Ohio biodiesel and farm industry, Taft said.  ODOTs pilot program has been a success for everyone and we will continue to make the increased use of alternative fuels a priority at the state and local levels.

 ODOT uses about four million gallons of diesel fuel a year to fuel its 4,200 pieces of heavy equipment that can run on biodiesel or diesel fuel.  The equipment includes pick-up trucks, dump trucks (snow plows) and off-road equipment.  Due to recent advancements in production, biodiesel has become more economical and is nearly equal in cost to conventional diesel fuel. 

 Thanks to the governors leadership, ODOT has been testing the use of alternative fuels since 1999, said ODOT Director Gordon Proctor. We are ready to make a seamless transition to using at least one million gallons of biodiesel fuel each year, in addition to other alternative fuels such as ethanol.

 In 1999, the governor asked ODOT to develop a pilot program to purchase $1 million worth of alternative fuels for use in the ODOT fleet. Since then, ODOT has used 1.2 million gallons of biodiesel fuel, for a total of about $1.6 million.

 As part of the pilot program, ODOT installed an ethanol tank in Columbus for use in sedans and small cars.  At the same time, it began acquiring flex-fuel passenger vehicles that can operate on either normal gasoline or fuel blended with high levels of ethanol.  ODOT now owns 193 flex-fuel vehicles and requires that all new sedans purchased are flex-fuel.  As part of the governors initiative to further invest in alternative fuels, ODOT will now add an ethanol tank as it constructs new district offices around the state.

 In the early stages of the pilot program, ODOT dealt with some setbacks in using biodiesel that caused the fuel to gel in the wintertime as well as some plugging of equipment filters. Technology has advanced far enough to overcome these problems and ODOT has not discovered any limiting factors that would prohibit the widespread use of alternative fuels.

 We are proud to be able to assist in spearheading the initiative to fully integrate alternative fuels into the daily routine of state agencies, said Proctor.  In the past, alternative fuels were cost-prohibitive compared to regular fuel.  The rising cost of traditional gas and advances in technology in the production of alternative fuels has made them much more competitive in Ohio.