Big on Biofuels
A Victoria-area company is on a mission.
“We want to be on the leading edge when it comes to fleet operators in British Columbia using alternative fuels to power their vehicles,” says John Wilson from Wilson’s Transportation Limited.
The second-generation of his family to run the operation, Wilson says the company began using biofuels in its charter and rental buses early in 2007, as soon as it became available at local card locks. He sees no reason to stop.
“We started using a B5 mix that had 5 per cent biofuel in it and 95 per cent diesel but I thought that wasn’t nearly enough to make a difference,” says Wilson. “We’ve now switched to a B20 mix and my goal is to start pumping B40 as soon as possible.”
He hasn’t seen a huge change to the Vancouver Island company’s bottom line with the move, but Wilson knows using biofuel in dozens of its vehicles is having a significant impact on the environment by reducing:
“All you have to do is visit Victoria to know it’s a special place and people living here, including all of us at Wilson’s Transportation, want to keep it that way,” says Wilson. “We want to be the leader of the transportation sector’s green movement.”
There’s more to his statement than awareness of environmental concerns. Wilson has discovered that making the switch to biofuels makes good business sense too. He believes some people are actively seeking out charter and rental bus companies like Wilson’s because of their commitment to biofuels. Meantime, many of their current clients are pleasantly surprised to discover the company uses a more earth-friendly alternative to regular diesel fuel.
“As a participant of Green Fleets BC’s Biofleet Program, we know we aren’t the only ones who have made the transition from 100 per cent diesel.” says Wilson, “At the same time, we want to share our experiences with other fleet operators who may be considering a move to biofuels and want a little more information.”
The environmental upgrades won’t end once Wilson’s Transportation starts pumping B40 biofuel into its highway coaches, school buses, mini-coaches and vans. The company’s future plans include purchasing more vehicles with low sulphur emitting engines and onboard computers to track speed, idling time and engine revolutions per minute (RPMs). Both will result in spectacular cuts to GHG emissions and a big boost to the fleet’s fuel efficiency numbers, which will save money.
“One of the best things about making the switch away from 100 per cent diesel is the buy-in from drivers,” according to Wilson. “The newer ones have been really quick to get onboard. Whether it’s our operations here in the Victoria area or at Chemainus, Port Alberni or Nanaimo, our people are part of those communities and through our commitment to environmental initiatives we want to give something back for the support they’ve given us since my Dad began the business back in 1968.”