Portland, Ore., mandates biodiesel sales

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Beginning July 1, 2007, Portland, Ore., will require all diesel sold in the city to contain a minimum of 5 percent biodiesel and all gasoline sold in the city to contain at least 10 percent ethanol.

City Council unanimously approved the ordinance July 12. Fuel vendors violating the ordinance will receive a written notice and a penalty, which can be appealed. First offense is a $5,000 fine, and subsequent violations are $10,000.

The ordinance was amended July 5 to require Randy Leonard, Portland’s public safety commissioner, to form an implementation group that will include fuel industry representatives, biodiesel feedstock growers and customers. The commissioner will review the group’s recommendations and report them to council by mid-November.

“This initiative sets the stage for significant investment in our region, creating jobs and putting Oregon in a position to become a national leader in the alternative fuels industry,” Leonard said. “This important first step will also reduce our dependence on oil and lower greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles.”

Biodiesel will not void manufacturers’ warranties and currently is sold in Portland at a lower price than petroleum diesel, according to the commissioner’s office. All diesel engines can use it without engine modification, and cold weather is not a problem for operation.

City-owned diesel vehicles will be required to use fuel with a biodiesel content of more than 20 percent. City gasoline-powered vehicles that can operate on 85 percent ethanol will be required to do so.