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LTD Switches to Renewable Diesel Fuel

November 9, 2020
Lane Transit District (LTD) has begun using R99 renewable diesel fuel to replace the B5 ULSD it has traditionally used to fuel LTD’s fleet. R99 Renewable Diesel is commercially derived from a diverse array of fats and oil by-products and used in normal diesel engines.

“We believe R99 is better for our fleet, better for our employees, better for our community, and better for our environment,” said Kelly Hoell, LTD’s Sustainability Manager. “We have been tracking R99’s use by other transit fleets and believe that based on its performance and its recent drop in price that it is now a financially sustainable renewable fuel for the District to use in its fleet.”

Hoell says that R99 or any alternative fuel must meet a set of sustainability criteria:

Engine Performance: R99 is considered a “drop-in” fuel as it can be put into LTD’s existing tanks and equipment with no modifications, cleaning, or treatment needed. It can blend well with the existing B5 in our tanks, it needs no additives, and it will not void any Original Equipment Manufacturer or vendor part warranties.

Social Sustainability: R99 has low toxicity and no odor. By reducing the chemical diesel smell of fuel on our buses LTD will provide a cleaner, more comfortable experience for passengers and our employees.  Hoell said recent tests of R99 by Portland’s Tri-Met transit department netted a 61% reduction in unhealthy Particulate emissions.

Environmental Sustainability: Because it is made from waste and plant materials, burning R99 does not release new carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. As plants and trees grow, they bind carbon dioxide onto themselves through photosynthesis. When R99 burns in a vehicle engine, the carbon dioxide simply returns to the atmosphere.  LTD is committed to measuring the lifecycle emissions of the fuels it uses and investing in the fuels with the best performance.

Financial Sustainability: LTD used R99 fuel successfully several years ago until it was no longer available locally.  When it returned to the local market, in part thanks to the Oregon Clean Fuels Program, the price was at a steep premium over B5. LTD did not want to sacrifice transit service, an important climate action in itself, to pay for the expensive fuel.  Recently, the price of R99 has dropped making it a win-win-win.

“Using R99 will help LTD to meet both the goals passed by the Board of Directors this past June to reduce fossil fuel use and to reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions,” Hoell said. “R99 also supports the city of Eugene’s and State of Oregon’s climate change goals."

To Learn more about LTD's Sustainability Goals, Click HERE.

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