Using Low Carbon Fuels




Using Low Carbon Fuels

With the increase in financial and technical feasibility of low carbon fuels, it can be anticipated that fuel efficient fleets would move towards the use of low carbon fuels in the near future. More efficient fuels present opportunities to reduce GHG emissions and lower fuel bills. Many local government fleets now rely on fuels such as biodiesel, ethanol, natural gas, and hydrogen. Biofleet reports that B20 biodiesel releases 16% less carbon dioxide than regular diesel. [1]

Low carbon fuels are substantially non-petroleum and yield environmental benefits. These include:

  • Denatured ethanol
  • Biodiesel
  • Natural gas (compressed or liquefied)
  • Liquefied petroleum gas
  • Hydrogen
  • Fuel derived from biological materials and electricity (including solar) [2]

The City of Prince George uses and encourages use of biodiesel as a way to mitigate the impact of fleet GHG emissions on the environment. / E3 Fleet, 2008.Increasing the use of low carbon fuels should be a core component of a green fleet action plan and be reflected in a fuel efficient vehicle purchasing strategy and related policies.

Local government fleets should consider setting targets and defining timeframes for moving towards replacing the costly and environmentally devastating use of more carbon intensive fuels, such as traditional petroleum, however possible.

More recently, controversy has surrounded the use of fuels such as biodiesel and biogas due to increasing competition between fuel and food. Local governments should explore the opportunity to purchasing fuel derived from things such as grease or biological matter already declared as waste.

The Township of Langley ensured that they got full commitment from their three suppliers that the biodiesel they were using came from waste products and does not compete with food. Open communication with suppliers would contribute to moving the alternative fuel movement forward.

Fleets across BC already make use of low carbon fuels. The City of Victoria says that “alternative fuels offer the most immediate opportunity for emission reductions in the short term.” [3] The City of Toronto has reported positive results from some early testing of B50 biodiesel – a mixture far beyond what most fleets use. [4] The City of Colwood recently approved the purchase of an electric truck.


Using low carbon fuels results in the following:

  • Reduced GHG emissions and related pollutants.
  • Reduced fuel costs.
  • Increased driver satisfaction.
[Use the tab above to learn HOW to reduce emissions with this tool.]

[1] Biofleet, (2007). About Biodiesel. 
[2] Canada Green Building Council, (2007). LEED Canada-NC 1.0 Reference Guide Addendum. Page 29.
[3] (2006). Climate Protection Program. Engineering Department – Fleet Operations.
[4] Allan Bolstad, (2007). Greening the Fleet: National Trends and Opportunities for the City of Edmonton.