TDOT Region Three Vehicles Begin Using Cleaner Burning Biodiesel Fuel

Sunday, April 29, 2007 | 07:00pm

Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) announced today it has expanded the use of alternative fuels to TDOT vehicles in Nashville. Biodiesel, which is made from renewable sources such as soybean oil and other materials, burns cleaner than traditional diesel and requires little or no engine modifications. TDOT first began using biodiesel in 2005 in more than 130 fleet vehicles in East Tennessee as part of the Pilot Fleet Program.

“It’s imperative that government and businesses begin identifying ways to improve air quality,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “Using biodiesel is an effective way TDOT can reduce harmful emissions and protect our environment.”

The type of biodiesel fuel that is used in TDOT’s vehicles is B20, which is a blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% diesel fuel. Currently, 81 vehicles in the Nashville area are using the biodiesel B20 mix, including heavy-duty dump trucks and large pieces of equipment, such as bull dozers and back hoes.

Studies have shown that the use of biodiesel can substantially benefit human health and have less negative impact on the environment than regular diesel. Biodiesel emits lower levels of carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, and particulate matter than regular petroleum diesel.

“Protecting and improving air quality is vital for our health and environment,” said Ed Cole, TDOT Chief of Environment and Planning. “Using biodiesel in more of our vehicles will help TDOT make significant progress toward cleaner air by substantially reducing carbon dioxide emissions.”

Due to recent advancements in production, biodiesel has become more economical to use and is nearly equal to conventional diesel fuel in cost. Consequently, TDOT launched a Biodiesel Pilot Fleet Program in the Knoxville area in December 2005. After the program proved to be very successful, it was determined that more TDOT fleet vehicles statewide could benefit from this cleaner burning fuel.

“Switching more vehicles to cleaner burning biofuels is not only beneficial to the environment it also benefits the farmers who grow the materials used to create biodiesel,” Nicely added.

For more information regarding biodiesel fuel please visit

Types of Region Three vehicles using biodiesel fuel:

Heavy-duty dump trucks
Water trucks

Total currently participating in Region Three: 81 vehicles

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