Governor promises to increase New Mexico's use of biofuels

| 8/5/2005

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson this week made a commitment to boosting the state government’s dependence on alternative fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol-blended gasoline.

Richardson said in a written statement Tuesday, Aug. 2, he will issue an executive order to require that 15 percent of the fuel used by state vehicles comes from renewable sources by the end of the decade.

Biodiesel is typically made from soybeans. Flexible fuel vehicles can run on a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, The Associated Press reported. Advocates say the alternative fuels reduce air pollution by cutting emissions of soot and carbon monoxide.

Experts have told Land Line that fuel meeting the federal standard for biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine without modification.

Richardson’s commitment to alternative fuels follows the signing of a bill in Illinois to promote the use of biodiesel by government-owned diesel vehicles.

The new law in Illinois requires any government-owned diesel vehicles to use a 2 percent biodiesel blend, but only under certain conditions. For example, use of the blend is required only if the state vehicle is fueling at a bulk, central fueling facility where the blend is available.

It allows governments in Illinois to use a fuel with a higher percentage of biodiesel if “the engine is designed or retrofitted to operate on a higher percentage of biodiesel or on ultra low sulfur fuel.”

The new law, which takes effect July 1, 2006, applies to “any diesel powered vehicle owned or operated by this state, any county or unit of local government, any school district, any community college or public college or university, or any mass transit agency.”

State facilities already use 2 percent biodiesel fuel in accordance with an executive order issued by Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2004, according to the governor’s office. Early this summer, Blagojevich approved legislation that gives rebates to drivers using fuels with a minimum 20 percent biodiesel blend.