Fuel Alternatives Motivate Bush And UVA

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

May 16, 2005

President Bush is taking his energy plan on the road. Bush spoke today at a Biodiesel Refinery in West Point, Virginia, urging the Senate to take up the energy bill the House approved last month. Bush compared the U.S. dependence on foreign oil to "a foreign tax on the American dream."

"The final step toward making America less dependent on foreign oil is to develop new alternatives to gasoline and diesel. Here at Virginia Biodiesel, you are using Virginia soybean oil to produce a clean burning fuel," said Bush.

The University of Virginia is doing just that. Right now, they're testing biodiesel fuel in two of their buses.

"We're using a blend of B20 which means it's 20 percent biodiesel," said Rebecca White, the Director of UVA Transportation.

The fuel is actually made up of 20 percent soybean oil and 80 percent petroleum diesel. As Bush points out, the fuel efficiency will be similar, but the smell and color of the bus exhaust will be better.

"Our test is going to run through August 1st and then we'll assess the fuel mileage, efficiency, maintenance issues, that sort of thing," said White.

If all goes well, every UVA buses will be converted totally to biodiesel fuel.

Annual U.S. biodiesel production has increased from 500,000 gallons, to 30 million gallons last year, making it the fastest growing alternative fuel in America.

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