In New Jersey, School Buses Are Green
Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2008 9:11 pm
MEDFORD, N.J. (Oct. 6, 2008) – Biodiesel, a homegrown fuel made primarily from soybeans, has undoubtedly grown in popularity – 450 million gallons were sold last year compared with 25 million in 2002. The United Soybean Board (USB) and the soybean checkoff continue to work on expanding the biodiesel industry in the United States that was started over a decade ago. One school district in New Jersey has shown its support for its students and biodiesel for nearly as long. Medford’s public school district is set to celebrate its 10th anniversary of using biodiesel in its bus fleet next Wednesday, October 15, during a celebration at the Chairville Elementary School in Medford, N.J.
“We transport 3,500 students a day in our buses. This biodiesel program was started because of the students” says Joseph Biluck, Director of Operations and Technology for the Medford Township Board of Education. “It has been proven that biodiesel improves air quality both outside of the bus and in the interior, and that’s the number one reason for starting this program. But that’s not the only benefit we are receiving from using biodiesel in our buses. We are helping with energy security by displacing hundreds of thousands of gallons of petroleum diesel fuel and have experienced significant cost savings through reduced maintenance costs in our bus fleet.”
According to Medford Township Public School System officials, over the past decade the district’s school buses have traveled over 4 million miles, consumed over 615,000 gallons of biodiesel, displaced over 123,000 gallons of diesel fuel, and eliminated 127,000 pounds of hazardous emissions and 428 pounds of particulate matter while reducing the overall cost of fleet operations by $80,000 a year.
New Jersey is not the only place where people are recognizing the benefits of biodiesel. One in two U.S. soybean farmers are currently using biodiesel in their operations, and many equipment manufacturers are making it easier to use biodiesel by endorsing its use in their engines. New Holland approved the use of B20 (20 percent biodiesel, 80 percent petroleum diesel) in all of its equipment using New Holland engines. Cummins also approves the use of B20 in Cummins diesel engines.
“This is a great biodiesel success story,” says Chuck Myers, USB vice chair and soybean farmer from Lyons, Neb. “The soybean checkoff has been involved with supporting the biodiesel industry for over a decade by funding engine tests to show that the fuel is safe for people to use. We’ve also funded studies that have shown the reduction in environmental impact biodiesel has compared to regular diesel. The Medford Public School District in New Jersey is a great example of how incorporating biodiesel into fuel programs can result in great benefits for everyone involved.”
The future of biodiesel looks bright not only in Medford but across the nation. A recent nationwide survey conducted by USB and the soybean checkoff revealed that consumers strongly back U.S. soybean farmers and biodiesel – 82 percent of consumers agree foreign oil-producing countries and the high cost of fuel impacting farming and processing, packaging, storing and shipping food are to blame for food price increases, not U.S. farmers. The survey also showed that 77 percent of consumers favor the use of biodiesel as a source of energy and 74 percent of consumers were more favorable toward biodiesel after hearing it benefits the environment.
“Biodiesel is a fuel every American can get behind,” says Myers. “It’s important to spread the word about its success in places such as Medford so others can do the same and reap the same benefits that have been shown there over the last decade.”
USB is made up of 68 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply. As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.