Hamilton Township Becomes First Government in the State to Use E85 Gasoline to Fuel Township Vehicles
Hamilton Township has reached another first when it comes to its environmental sustainability efforts. After becoming the first municipality in the State to use clean-burning, natural gas-powered trucks for its garbage collection service this summer, Hamilton has became the first government entity in New Jersey to begin fueling government vehicles with E85.
E85 is a fueling mixture that consists of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. It is a much cleaner-burning fuel than compared to gasoline and diesel. Over its lifetime, a typical vehicle using E85 will prevent 4 tons of CO2 and other harmful green house gas emissions from entering the atmosphere. It will also reduce ozone forming pollutants by about 20%.
Over the past few weeks, Hamilton has begun fueling approximately 20 Township vehicles with E85. And in addition to these vehicles, the Township plans on expanding the effort by purchasing additional E85-capable vehicles in the future.
“It is another first for our environmental sustainability efforts as we continue to move in the right direction when it comes to keeping Hamilton Township ‘Clean and Green’,” says Hamilton Township Mayor John Bencivengo. “Our efforts will not only benefit current residents, but will also benefit future generations of Hamiltonians.”
E85 is renewable commodity, as starch from corn is most commonly used to produce ethanol in the United States. About 13 % of the total U.S. corn crop is used for Ethanol production. The use of E85 makes the United States less dependent on foreign oil and more energy independent.
Within the next 5 years, it is anticipated emerging technologies will allow what is known as “cellulosic ethanol” to be produced from agricultural and forestry residues, such as from corn stalks, rice husks, or from planned crops like switch grass or trees. This will result in even greater greenhouse gas reductions than from ethanol that is produced from corn.
In addition to the environmental benefits, there are also cost benefits attributed to E85 use. E85 is generally less expensive than gasoline. Currently, Hamilton Township is purchasing E85 for about 14 cents a gallon less than gasoline. Ethanol has been as much as 60 cents a gallon less than gasoline in the recent past.
The Township expects E85 prices to continue to fall as more ethanol manufacturing facilities are constructed in the eastern United States, which allows the potential for additional future savings as cellulosic ethanol becomes more commercially available.
In addition, E85 keeps the engine and fuel systems of vehicles cleaner, which reduces engine maintenance as compared to gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles.
“Anytime we can help make our environment cleaner, and at the same time achieve savings for the taxpayers of Hamilton Township, it is a ‘win-win’ situation for us all,” concludes Mayor John Bencivengo. “I think our example shows that environmental sustainability not only makes environmental sense, but also makes financial sense.”