NYC to Use 99% Petroleum-Free Diesel in Over 1,000 City Vehicles

Nov. 2, 2020

The New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) has announced that it will for the first time use renewable diesel, a low-emissions, 99 percent petroleum-free fuel, to power over 1,000 City government vehicles including many of its sanitation trucks.

DCAS made the announcement this week at a Biofuels Forum hosted by DCAS and the NYC Parks Department. The forum is produced in partnership with the National Biodiesel Board and CALSTART and discusses the latest trends and technologies in biofuels.  

The renewable diesel used by NYC will be produced domestically by Renewable Energy Group and will be distributed by Sprague Energy. Renewable diesel is made almost exclusively of plants and animal fats, with just 1 percent of its contents derived from petroleum. Use of the new fuel will power city vehicles to drive 11.3 million miles with reduced emissions, the City said. Renewable diesel will be used in large vehicles like sanitation and fire trucks. 

This initiative is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in New York City by at least 80 percent by 2050.

“Mayor de Blasio set an historic goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, and using plants instead of petroleum to fuel our vehicles is an example of how we’re delivering on this commitment,” said Lisette Camilo, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services. “New York City government has the cleanest and greenest vehicle fleet in the country and we are proud to lead the way.”

Renewable diesel will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 60 percent compared to traditional petroleum-based diesel. New York City will be one of the first fleets to use renewable diesel in the northeast. Currently, San Francisco uses renewable diesel for its entire municipal fleet.

“NYC blends biodiesel in all fleet fuel and heating oil for municipal operations and has over 12 years of practical experience with biofuels,” said Keith Kerman, DCAS Deputy Commissioner and NYC Chief Fleet Officer. “Renewable diesel is an exciting next step which holds the prospect of completely replacing regular diesel with no impact to operations.”

New York and DCAS have been at the forefront of the clean fuels movement for more than a decade," said Donnell Rehagen, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board. "We have been thrilled to see all they have done with biodiesel and are equally excited to see what they can accomplish with renewable diesel."

“New York City continues to be a leader in the adoption of higher blends of biodiesel and implementing policies that support the use of cleaner fuels,” said Randy Howard, President and CEO of Renewable Energy Group. “We are proud to partner with the City to supply domestically produced renewable diesel and look forward to continue to grow the consumption of advanced biofuels in the city to improve air quality for New Yorkers.”