Oakhurst Dairy announced that it will have transitioned 130 delivery trucks, or more than 90% of its fleet, to biodiesel fuel by the end of 2006. This switch will make the Oakhurst fleet the largest private biodiesel fleet in New England, reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 1332 tons per year.
"We have been working on decreasing our carbon emissions for several years as part of our commitment to a healthier planet," says Stan Bennett, President of Oakhurst Dairy. "But this is a huge step forward for our organization. We are proud to help make our state a cleaner place to live." Biodiesel is an eco-friendly, cleaner-burning fuel, which reduces carbon and sulfur vehicle emissions, and decreases the nation's reliance on foreign fuel sources.
The company made the switch as part of its commitment to the Governor's Carbon Challenge, a first-in-the-nation voluntary carbon dioxide emissions reduction program initiated in 2004. Oakhurst was one of the first corporations in Maine to sign on to the Governor's Carbon Challenge, agreeing to cut direct emissions by 15% and indirect emissions by 5% (below year 2000 levels).
Oakhurst also cited the 8 cent per gallon reduction in the excise tax for motor fuel that contains at least 2% biodiesel, a provision of Governor Baldacci's energy bill last session, as a reason for the switch to biodiesel. "Maine is supporting sound environmental policies with good tax policies, and this is helping speed the transition to cleaner renewable fuels," said Stan Bennett.
The B20 biodiesel that Oakhurst will use most of the year will consist of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel, which is a blend that has demonstrated significant environmental benefits with no modifications to a diesel engine. The greenhouse gas emissions to be saved by Oakhurst annually are estimated to be equivalent to avoiding the use of 137,628 gallons of gasoline.
Oakhurst's goal is to increase the biodiesel ratio in their fuel beyond 20% in the future, as long as no engine problems arise.