CLEANER SOY OIL-DIESEL MIX POWERING KY. CITY'S TROLLEYS

CLEANER SOY OIL-DIESEL MIX POWERING KY. CITY'S TROLLEYS

Owensboro has begun injecting something new into its public transit system - soy diesel.

The fuel is being used on an experimental basis in one trolley and if things work out, other buses will be switched to the mixture of soybean oil and diesel.All the city had to do is fill the trolley's tank. No modifications are needed.

Several other cities across the country, including Cincinnati and Evansville, Ohio, are using the product.

Assistant City Manager Bob Whitmer said Owensboro did extensive tests before trying soy diesel, whose pluses include reduced emissions and less odor.

"We're real excited about it," said Debbie Ellis, executive director of the Kentucky Soybean Association.

The soybean association has agreed to help underwrite the cost of the program by paying the difference between what the city is paying for petroleum-based diesel and the soybean diesel.

"Nobody's going to pay $2.40 a gallon when they can get it for $1, and we can't do it forever," Ms. Ellis said. But producers hope to increase demand for the product with programs like the one in Owensboro.

Ms. Ellis said the association's goal is to increase awareness of the product and the demand for soybeans and ultimately increase prices that farmers receive for their crop.

Mr. Whitmer said as initiatives continue toward cleaner, less-toxic fuels, the price could go down.