2008 Vermont Transportation Energy Report Released

A report released recently by the Vermont Clean Cities Coalition Vehicle shows that while miles traveled in Vermont are less this year than in the previous three years, expenditures on fuel continues to increase. Hybrid purchases have increased to 3% of all new vehicles purchases, whereas gasoline-only powered vehicles have decreased by 2%. The full report can be viewed here.

Vermont Clean Cities Coalition, Burlington Free Press]

School Districts Seek Ways to Control Fuel Costs

Chittenden East Supervisory Union is streamlining bus routes so that they will be driving 25,000 fewer miles this year than the last. They are also making fewer stops per development, having high school students walk to corners, and keeping engines fine-tuned to reduce fuel use.

Other districts such as Essex have found that their routes are already efficient and have limited options for reducing fuel costs.

Elswhere, school districts are consolidating bus stops, using engine treatments, and looking to streamline routes to save energy costs. One district in Northwest Arkansas pojects they will save $115,000 in fuel per year with these strategies.

Burlington Free Press, The Morning News]

More Vermonters riding the rails

Nationwide, Amtrak saw 14% more riders in July of this year compared to last year. Passengers on the Vermonter line (St. Albans - Essex Junction - New York City - Washington D.C.) increased 23%. Ridership on the Ethan Allen Express (Rutland - New York City) increased 9%.

Plans to enhance train service in Vermont with more frequent runs and smaller trains have been delayed because of insufficient funding. The earliest small trains could be in service would be summer 2010.

Burlington Free Press, Boston Globe]

Another farmer growing sunflowers for biodiesel

Keith Armstrong of Armstrong Farm, on Route 7 straddling Pownal and Bennington, has planted sunflowers so that he can turn its oil into biodiesel for use in his 1973 International Tractor. Armstrong is benefitting from partnering with John Williamson of Stateline Farm, who already has biodiesel-making equipment to process his own biodiesel feedstock crops.


More on pennycress as biodiesel feedstock

As previously reported, Albany based Innovation Fuels is looking to plant pennycress this fall as a possible biodiesel feedstock. Its ongoing efforts to build biodiesel plants in New York have been frustrated by a lack of a sustainable stream of raw materials, one of the reasons why they are looking into developing pennycress as a local crop.

National Safe Routes to School Task Force releases final report

The National Safe Routes to School Task Force has released its final report that includes recommendations to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Congress. The program aims to increase walking and bicycling by schoolchildren to reduce obesity, crash fatalities, and traffic congestion, while improving environmental quality.

Recommendations include streamlining the process for accessing program funds, encourage stakeholder participation, addressing liability concerns by participants, dealing with societal barriers to walking and bicycling, and tackling policy issues such as school siting. Vermont has 30 schools participating in Safe Routes to School.

Safe Routes to School]

Did You Know...

you can install your own fuel economy gauge?

In Other Vermont Transportation News...

Biodiesel is one of the ways that Vermont farmers are trying to cope with the many challenges of farming today.
[Times Argus]

A Glimpse into Transportation at Large...

20% of Americans polled say they have switched to a smaller, more efficient car. [
Wall Street Journal]

Municipalities all over the Northeast are cutting their transportation energy use. [
New York Times]

Alternative modes

A number of carpooling services exist online, in addition
to Vermont's new automated program launching this fall. [

D.C. launches a 120 bike-fleet bikeshare program. [
Washington Post]

Sales of electric bikes surging. [
Red Orbit]

A new use for glycerin, a biodiesel byproduct, developed. [
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News]

Food vs. Fuel Debate
25x'25 Alliance issues a comparison of recent food price studies. [

Weekly Petro-Stats

Gas at the Pump, VT Crude Oil Futures

This Week
(Aug 18-24) $3.800/gallon $115.746/barrel

Last Week
(Aug 11-17) $3.855/gallon $114.808/barrel

This Week $2.817/gallon
Last Year