January 18, 2008
By Janet Kim
ASHLAND, Ore. — Southern Oregon is seeing its first and largest fleet running on biodiesel blends. Ashland Sanitary and Recycling recently began switching a few of its vehicles to biodiesel blends, and now its whole fleet is running on the renewable fuel.
All 26 of the company’s on and off-road vehicles run on biodiesel blends. “Ashland Sanitary and Recycling is helping to clean up the air while they’re driving around cleaning up your yards,” says David Tourzan, who owns the Rising Phoenix biodiesel station in Phoenix.
The vehicles burn 20 percent biodiesel, a renewable fuel made from soy, canola, and algae. Ashland Sanitary is working in parternship with Rising Phoenix, which provides the blends. Distributors say the business will be the largest fleet in southern Oregon using biodiesel.
“We’re being leaders and showing leadership, and other people need to get on board,” says Eli Savides, a driver for Ashland Sanitary. He has lived and worked in Ashland for at least a decade and says he’s proud his company and community are leading the trend in using renewable energy.
As a driver, the biodiesel isn’t changing his workload. “As far as performance-wise, biodiesel has made no adverse effects whatsoever on the trucks,” he says. “If anything, they smell a little cleaner, and they are a little easier to work around.”
Though the renewable energy may be more expensive for now, distributors say it is an investment for the future, because it is working to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil. “The different in price that’s reflected in biodiesel does not reflect the environmental impact that regular diesel has,” says Tourzan. “(There are ) many costs associated with regular diesel that the American consumer is unaware of, not to mention wars overseas to support foreign oil.”
Rising Phoenix managers say with new state laws requiring renewable energy and fuels, more businesses and people are expected to follow Ashland Sanitary and Recycling’s lead. Distributors say by switching over to biodiesel fuel, the company will help clean up 15,000 pounds of greenhouse gases a month from Rogue Valley skies.