Nov. 19: Source – Capitol Online
Fuel pumps run by the Navy at an Annapolis, Md. facility are now offering biodiesel to both Navy personnel and the general public. The move is in accord with a Navy directive to get more of its vehicles, especially trucks, to run on biodiesel. Making the alternative fuel available to civilians expands the Navy’s stance on the eco-friendly and energy security benefits of the biofuel.
Biodiesel can only be used in vehicles with diesel engines. In almost all respects, biodiesel is a cleaner burning fuel source than petroleum-based diesel, reducing emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, particulates, and carbon dioxide, a key contributor to global warming. Furthermore, biodiesel can be produced domestically, displacing imported petroleum. But the big problem with biodiesel has been availability. There are approximately 180,000 gas stations in the United States. Fewer than 1,000 offer commercial biodiesel. The Navy Exchange is the only source of biodiesel in the greater Annapolis area.
The fuel available at the Naval pumps is a biodiesel blend called “B20.” It is a mixture of 20 percent soy-based biodiesel and 80 percent regular diesel. Aside from offering some of the reduced emission benefits of pure biodiesel, B20 is also able to compete on cost with regular diesel fuel. It currently costs about a nickel more per gallon.
Since the biodiesel blend went on sale in mid-October, the station has sold 900 gallons. That’s not even a drop in the bucket, but does indicate a larger movement underway. “We try to be on the forefront of new stuff," said Wyatt Hill, general manager of the Annapolis gas station. "We’re trying to get people to go green."