The nation’s first commuter train using a cleaner renewable biodiesel fuel blend launched yesterday as Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer chugged from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Fort Worth, Texas on a blend of diesel and a beef byproduct. The fuel is a B20 blend — 20% biofuel and 80% diesel — and the Heartland Flyer will be conducting a 12-month study on the effects of the fuel on the train’s emissions, mechanics and performance. Officials are hoping the ride will prove just as enjoyable for passenger’s while saving Amtrak fuel costs and the environment some harmful emissions.
“Renewable fuels such as biodiesel are perfect examples as they combine our state’s two leading industries, agriculture and energy, to come together and create this tremendous asset for Oklahoma,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Terry Peach as the train pushed off on its morning route yesterday. The 12-month experiment is being funded by the Federal Railroad Administration with a $274,000 grant to test the efficacy of biofuels in train travel.
But veggies and vegans beware — if you stick to your guns about animal meat you might not want to board this train. Although the Amtrak officials aren’t specifying what exactly is in their biofuel it is most likely made from beef fat provided by the beef industry — which we all know is one of the most polluting industries on earth. So why Amtrak has chosen a beef byproduct instead of a less harmful biofuel like algae, we’re not sure. We commend the thought behind their actions and hope that they are using something other than fat to fuel their tests.