A type of diesel fuel made from soybeans is now being used in the entire fleet of Cedar Rapids’ city buses. The switch to bio-soy diesel “B-20” was made today for both economic and environmental reasons, according to Bill Hoekstra, the city’s transportation and parking director. Hoekstra says black plumes of polluting smoke will no longer be seen coming from the stacks of Cedar Rapids’ 60 buses. He expects they’ll pump up to 80-thousand gallons of the Iowa-made B-20 in the next year to drive about a million miles. Hoekstra says the concept of “value-added” agriculture is vital to Iowa’s survival. The Cedar Rapids bus system tested out bio-soy diesel between 1993 and ’96 as part of a program through the Iowa Soybean Promotion Board. Hoekstra says use of the fuel had to be abandoned. The cost was “way out of line” back then. With more people using B-20 now, the price has come down significantly. The B-20 contains a 20-percent blend of soybean oil.
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