City of Sioux Falls commits to sustainability, using Biodiesel for fleet vehicles

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soy bean plants(Scotty Smith/Investigate TV)
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 9:59 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The City of Sioux Falls announced it has been using a biodiesel blend in its fleet vehicles as part of its ongoing commitment to sustainability.

B20 is an 80/20 blend of diesel and biodiesel. Biodiesel is a cleaner, renewable fuel produced from diverse, sustainable feedstocks including vegetable oils like soybean oil, used cooking oils, and animal fats. The City’s fleet has been using the fuel blend since April without any impact on day-to-day operations, according to the city’s press release. Neither the fleet vehicles nor the existing fuel stations needed any modification to use B20.

“Switching to a biodiesel blend was a seamless transition that lets us see multiple benefits immediately. Using B20 this year will decrease the City’s use of petroleum diesel fuel by 24,000 gallons, helping the City reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions,” said Holly Meier, Sustainability Coordinator with the City of Sioux Falls. “It’s better for our community’s health and for our drivers as well.”

City partnered with farmers

The City partnered with farmers to utilize South Dakota Soybean checkoff dollars for this B20 pilot program. Through this partnership, the City is receiving a 25-cent discount on each gallon of B20 (up to 120,000 gallons).

Approximately half of the biodiesel produced in the U.S. is made from soybean oil. Soybeans are 80 percent meal and 20 percent oil. Biodiesel production uses only the oil portion, leaving the protein available for food and feed.

“This project has proven that biodiesel is a valid option for fleets and a more environmentally friendly fuel with no modifications to vehicles needed. Biodiesel also helps with the economic stability of South Dakota farm families,” said David Struck, South Dakota Soybean Research & Promotion Council Vice Chairman and fourth-generation farmer from Wolsey.

City fleet vehicles are expected to use 120,000 gallons in 2022. Making the switch to B20 means:

  • 24,000 gallons of petroleum diesel won’t be used.
  • Carbon emissions will be reduced by more than 450,000 lbs.

This reduction is equivalent to taking 44 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles off the road for one year or driving 508,065 fewer miles in a gas-powered car. For the environment, it’s the same as planting 3,384 trees this year and having them absorb carbon through 2032.

The City will continue to use B20 through the fall before switching to a winter blend when temperatures begin to dip.

Other communities doing the same

Fleets throughout the country are utilizing biodiesel blends to help meet their sustainability goals. MEG Corp­—the City’s fuel consultant—has seen similar success in fleets throughout the Midwest, and across the border in Minnesota, where all fleets and other diesel users fuel with B20 throughout the warm weather months, thanks to a state fuel standard.

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