California Department of Transportation

California Transportation Journal 2009 Issue 1

In this issue:

Cover Story: Chemists in the nationally renowned California Transportation Laboratory perform a variety of tests, such as this one. This 1972 photo artistically shows Chemical Testing Engineer Ray Warness making a standard solution in a volumetric flask.


Director Message


The Caltrans TransLab


Caltrans Fuel Use


Stormwater Strategies


Battling the Blaze


By: Erin Gallup, Public Information Officer, Headquarters and
James Lawrence, Caltrans Fuel Program Manager, Headquarters

Caltrans maintains and operates a vast fleet of vehicles to scrape snow off roads, preserve the highways and survey roadways.

Since fuel is such a valuable commodity, the Department works hard to ensure accountability, document proper usage and conserve wherever possible. In an effort to do this, the Department created a fuel program.

The new fuel program is designed to increase accountability for each mile employees drive, as well as encourage drivers to use alternative fuels, such as E85, propane and clean natural gas.

The fuel program is also designed to educate employees about the need to limit fuel use. The program focuses on implementing statewide measures that will enable the Department’s fleet to increase its use of bulk and alternative fuels, while conserving overall.

In support of the Governor’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California, Director Will Kempton established a goal to replace 10 percent of conventional fuels used by the Department with alternative fuels during this fiscal year.

Caltrans historically uses 13.5 million gallons of gas each year, but last year consumption was up by 1 million gallons.

Fuel_Kingpin The Director has asked employees to consider mass transit or teleconferencing.

In 2007-08 Caltrans increased its alternative fuel use by 80 percent. As of early February 2009, Caltrans staff used 14 retail and eight Department fueling stations throughout the state. Fuel Program staff keep a log and notify employees of the 14 new retail, and 12 new Caltrans E85 pumps being constructed.

Caltrans owns more than 2,000 alternative fuel vehicles, which includes more than 850 E85 vehicles. As Caltrans vehicles are replaced, the Division of Equipment will increase the number of vehicles that can take the fuel composed of 85 percent denatured ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Caltrans is following the Energy Policy Act of 1992 to have 75 percent of its vehicle purchases be alternative fuel use vehicles.

One of the top five goals of the Department is to ensure stewardship of California’s resources and assets. The new fuel program will help Caltrans accomplish that goal.

For more information on Caltrans’ fuel program, contact
James Lawrence at jim_lawrence@dot.ca.gov.