Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Morris County will embark on a six month study of using biodiesel fuel in some of its vehicles.

Biodiesel is a domestic, renewable fuel for diesel engines derived from natural oils like soybean oil and animal fat.

The use of biodiesel fuel is designed to reduce pollution from diesel vehicles, resulting in cleaner air.

Morris County will use a biodiesel blend called B-5, which is 5 percent biodiesel fuel derived from soybean oil and 95 percent petroleum diesel.

Robert Cook, head of the county’s motor services division, said 10 vehicles have been selected for the controlled study, including 8 public works vehicles and a bus used by the Morris Area Paratransit System, the county’s transportation program for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

Gas milage, maintenance and cost will be evaluated after the study period to determine if using the biodiesel fuel is feasible.

County officials said biodiesel fuel does cost more per gallon than conventional diesel, but its lubricating ingredients may increase the life expectancy of the vehicles that use it.

If that is the case, Morris County Freeholder John Murphy said extending the life of the vehicles may offset the higher cost of the fuel.