City of Portland Enacts Local Renewable Fuels Standard

Date: 21 Jul 2006 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

The city of Portland, OR, has established a mandate that requires minimum blends of biodiesel and ethanol in petroleum-based fuels sold within the city and requires city-owned vehicles to maximize use of renewable fuels.

The Portland City Council voted July 12, 2006 to approve a citywide renewable fuels standard (RFS) beginning July 2007 that requires a minimum 5 percent blend of biodiesel for all diesel fuel sold in the city limits. Gasoline sold in the city is required to contain at least 10 percent ethanol. In addition, the RFS for biodiesel rises to 10 percent blends as of July 2010.

The ordinance provides a schedule of financial penalties for non-compliance. There is an exemption from meeting the biodiesel requirements if a service station provides at least one pump containing a 20 percent biodiesel blend. The requirements of this RFS do not apply to fuel used for the operation of railroad locomotives, watercraft or aircraft.

The new RFS ordinance also requires that City-owned vehicles that operate on diesel use biodiesel blends of not less than 20 percent and City-owned flex-fuel vehicles must use E-85 fuels.

The council has directed the City’s Commissioner of Public Safety to convene a work group to develop further recommendations to “align the requirements of this ordinance with the region’s ability to meet the mandated biofuel demand while maximizing the use of regional feedstock.”

NOTE FROM DEMOCRATIC ENERGY: While we applaud this pioneering effort to establish a local renewable fuels standard we urge other cities that may copy this approach to consider broadening the definition of renewable fuels to include renewable electricity. We can envision a day where plug-in hybrid electric vehicles will become mainstream and if they can be re-fueled using renewable energy technologies they should certainly be able to qualify for meeting any renewable fuels standard.


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John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he develops tools that allow communities to take charge of their energy future, and pursue the maximum economic benefits of the transition to 100% renewable power.