North Carolina agencies cut fossil fuel use by almost 20%

North Carolina state agencies have reduced consumption of fossil fuels.

North Carolina state agencies have reduced consumption of fossil fuels.  

Universities and other state government agencies have cut their use of fossil fuels by 19.9 percent since 2004, according to an analysis by the Clean Transportation Program at North Carolina Sate University's Solar Center.

Most state government agencies are under mandate to hit a 20 percent target by 2016, and the 19.9 percent reduction they hit in the 2011-12 fiscal year put them about 600,000 gallons ahead of schedule. Much of the reduction has come from replacing diesel fuel with B20, a blend of 20 percent biodiesel fuel and 80 percent traditional diesel.

Like most North Carolina drivers, state employees are also tanking up increasingly with E10, a blend of traditional gasoline and 10 percent ethanol.

About half of the reductions have come through simple conservation and more-efficient use of existing fuels, according to the report. The Solar Center estimated those savings at $8 million annually.

The N.C. Dept. of Commerce's Energy Division submitted the Solar Center's report to the General Assembly in late October. The Solar Center published it on Tuesday.

Motor vehicles account for the vast majority of the state’s use of fossil fuels. The 19.9 percent reduction and 20 percent target are adjusted for the various tasks that the agencies handle, which shift somewhat from year to year, the report’s lead author, Marcy Bauer, said. Actual total use of fuel, as measured by gallons of gasoline equivalent, has fallen by about 8 percent since 2004, to 24 million in the 2011-12 fiscal year.

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