Biofuels are alive and well in Southlake, Texas. With recent funding through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), Southlake was able to pursue alternative fuels to diversify their fleet. ARRA funds were used to purchase fuel tanks holding B20 biodiesel and E85 ethanol along with their accompanying hardware. Southlake chose to purchase a 1,000-gallon tank dispensing only B20 biodiesel and two 10,000-gallon split tanks. One split tanks hold 7,000 gallons of diesel and 3,000 gallons of B20. The other holds 5,000 gallons of gasoline and 4,400 gallons of E85 ethanol. The funds were also used to purchase a 2010 Ford Escape Hybrid. In addition to three hybrids already in their fleet and three more hybrids purchased after the 2010 Escape, Southlake has quite a unique fleet profile.
Purchasing Manager at the City of Southlake, Tim Slifka, mentions how this funding provided Southlake with a unique opportunity to purchase alternative fuel equipment.
“With the funding available, we were able to replace the current tanks with larger capacity tanks and replace very old fuel pumps. We are now able to offer B20 biodiesel and E85 alternative fuels to our staff,” Slifka said.
When switching to an alternative fuel, Slifka knows how important it is to educate the drivers on the fuel.
“I try to explain it is better to use the alternate fuels to help reduce our reliance on foreign oil,” Slifka said.
When Southlake requested funding, they proposed a reasonable amount of fuel usage based on their fleet size. We are happy to report, the actual results of their fuel usage is significantly higher. The city’s annual forecast is to use about eight times the amount of E85 and over twice as much biodiesel as they originally proposed. Data from January 1, 2013 through March 31, 2013 shows 3,721 gallons of B20 and 8,451 gallons of E85 were used.
Currently, Southlake has 25 vehicles utilizing B20 biodiesel and 35 utilizing E85 ethanol.