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Long Beach Tests Out Biodiesel

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Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster and City Councilmember Bonnie Lowenthal greeted members of the press and community for a beachfront demonstration of the City's biodiesel program on Tuesday morning. Biodiesel is a cleaner-burning alternative to petroleum diesel and will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and smoke particulates. Ten city vehicles, including skip loaders, tractors and dump trucks will be fueled up with a mixture of 80% diesel and 20% biodiesel over the next 3-6 months to test the cost effectiveness and reliability of these fuels. Existing city vehicles can run on this new fuel without needing any modifications, and the horsepower of the engines remains about equal. If the program is as successful as expected, the City will consider the use of biodiesel in as many as 250 additional vehicles.

"Bonnie Lowenthal started it all", said Mayor Foster. The 1st District Councilwoman proposed this biodiesel fuel test as an agenda item at a city council meeting six months ago and the project received the green light from the City of Long Beach. "I am eager for the results as a validation of its worth in terms of improving the air and, thus, the health of our community", said Lowenthal. After presenting the proposed plan to the press and city employees, Mayor Foster took the driver's seat of the John Deere tractor and did a few laps on the beach as spectators lined the bike path and members of the press seized the photo opportunity.

Story by Sheri Zampelli and photography by Michael Zampelli