Linder Farm Network touts Minnesota state government’s impressive volume of renewable fuel use

Linder Farm Network Radio’s farm editor Linda Brekke recently interviewed
Tim Morse, director of travel management for the state of Minnesota, about the state’s impressive record of increasing use of ethanol and biodiesel. Morse not only serves as director of the state vehicle fleet, but he also directs the Smart Fleet Committee, charged with ensuring the growing Minnesota State Government’s use of renewable fuels to reduce dependence on petroleum—Minnesota has to import 100 percent of the oil-based energy it consumes.

Morse’s interview aired at noon on Thursday in the “Minnesota Corn Growers Association Update” segment, and it will be aired again this weekend.

Morse told the radio listeners: “The state has been moving away from petroleum and toward biofuel since 2005. The smartfleet group was put together with various state agencies including Natural Resources, Pollution Control, MNDoT, the Dept of Commerce and the American Lung Association (of the Upper Midwest). We have measured and tracked the usage of fuel with base year of 2005, when we used a little less than a hundred thousand gallons of fuel. This year we will be approaching a million gallons, so we are very happy about that.”

Brekke asked Morse to describe the State of Minnesota vehicle fleet.

“The state fleet includes about 3,000 vehicles that are capable of using E85 fuel,” said Morse. “We also have a significant portion of the state fleet that uses diesel, and so we are looking at using biodiesel as a biofuel. Our goal is to move away from petroleum and we have focused on both ethanol and biodiesel because they are renewable fuels, they are domestically produced and they are cleaner burning than petroleum fuels.”

Brekke noted, “Actually, Minnesota state fleet is number one in the USA when it comes to the percentage of E85 in use in its flex fuel vehicles.”

Tim replied: “We are very proud of the amount of ethanol fuel that we use in the fleet. I am not aware of any state that uses more ethanol than we do. As I said we are approaching a million gallons, and that is very close to 20 percent of the fuel used by our light duty fleet.”

Linda got a laugh out of Morse when she asked him about how he manages his lawn care at home.

Tim said, laughing: “That’s funny. I do have a John Deere diesel lawn tractor and I use 100 percent biodiesel in it whenever I can get it. We count the American Lung Association (of the Upper Midwest) as a valuable member of our partnership and they have been very helpful in ethanol stations, stations that are providing the E85 fuel. We have been working on getting flexible fuel vehicles into the fleet and they (ALAUM) have been working to make the stations available throughout the state.”

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