Cleaner Air Ahead for Upstate New York

Steven J. Levy (Sprague), Jacob Ashby (New York State Senator), John T. McDonald III (New York State Assembly Member), and Julie Tighe (President, NYLCV) stand in front of a Sprague truck that is powered by renewable diesel.

The New York League of Conservation Voters and Sprague Operating Resources LLC celebrated a significant step towards a greener transportation sector in Upstate New York with the arrival of renewable diesel (RD) supply at the Sprague Fuel Terminal in Rensselaer, NY.

Sprague Leads the Northeast’s Renewable Fuel Charge

Sprague was an early adopter of the fuel in the Northeast, supplying renewable diesel out of its Bronx terminal location in June 2023, becoming the first in the region to do so. Next, Sprague made history by partnering with Sonomax to open the first retail fuel station east of the Mississippi offering renewable diesel and consuming in its Lawrence NY fleet while offering RD to commercial fleets in Lawrence as well.

Why Renewable Diesel Matters

Renewable diesel is a game-changer when it comes to reducing emissions. It offers immediate reductions in greenhouse gases, particulate matter, and NOx emissions – a crucial step towards achieving New York’s ambitious climate goals. This is especially important considering transportation is the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in the US. Here’s a breakdown of what makes renewable diesel special:

  • Made from Sustainable Sources: Unlike traditional diesel, renewable diesel is not a fossil fuel and is derived from renewable sources like used cooking oil, vegetable oils and animal fats.
  • Drop-in Solution: It can be used directly in existing diesel engines without requiring modifications, making it a seamless transition for the transportation industry.

A Collaborative Effort for Cleaner Air

The program began promptly at 10:30 AM, as Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters, provided opening remarks and welcomed everyone. She emphasized the urgency to move away from fossil fuels and the crucial role renewable diesel plays in meeting the State’s ambitious climate goals.

Steven Levy, Managing Director at Sprague Operating Resources, highlighted its commitment to expanding renewable fuel options and expressed their enthusiasm for promoting its adoption throughout the Northeast and as a drop in fuel transitioning to the electricifcation future.

New York State Senator Jacob Ashby informs the audience of renewable diesel’s important role in New York.

The trucking industry also chimed in with support. Kendra Hems, President of the Trucking Association of New York, acknowledged renewable diesel’s role in providing a greener path without requiring significant investments in new equipment.

This shift towards renewable fuels aligns with the goals of the Clean Communities coalitions and energy associations.  Kris DeLair from Empire State Energy Association, Clean Communities of Central NY, and the Capital District Clean Communities Coalition all commended Sprague’s initiative and pushed for supportive legislation.

The positive impact extends to public health as well. Jeffrey Palmerino of Teamsters Local 294 applauded the introduction of renewable diesel, citing the cleaner air benefits for its members and Upstate residents alike.

Julie Tighe, President of NYLCV, cuts the ribbon at Sprague’s Rensselaer terminal, paving the way for a cleaner future for transportation fuels.

Representatives from transportation and energy companies also expressed their enthusiasm. Brian Brundige of Terpening Trucking Company highlighted the efficiency gains and reduced emissions associated with renewable diesel.

Local business leaders also chimed in with their support. Gregory O’Connor, President of Main-Care Energy, a customer of Sprague, spoke about his company’s commitment to clean energy. Bob Long Jr., President of Long Energy, another Sprague customer participating in the event, echoed similar sentiments.

At 11:10 AM, the ceremony shifted to a ribbon-cutting event held in front of the Terminal Rack, marking a symbolic step towards a cleaner future for transportation fuels, as vehicles were loaded with renewable diesel for their deliveries into the region.

The Road Ahead is Clear: Renewable Diesel Leads the Way

Renewable diesel represents a significant step towards a cleaner transportation sector in New York. It offers immediate environmental benefits, aligns with the state’s climate goals, and is readily adopted by the transportation industry without requiring substantial changes to existing infrastructure or vehicles.

NYS Senator Jacob Ashby presents a Certificate of Recognition to Steven J. Levy of Sprague acknowledging Sprague’s proactive decarbonizing efforts.

We urge everyone to write their legislature in support of the New York State measure that would establish a clean fuel standard, with the goal of reducing carbon emissions from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by 30 percent by 2032 and 100 percent by 2050. The proposal would mirror similar laws in three West Coast states and Canada that require fuel suppliers who don’t meet the fuel reduction standards to buy credits from renewable suppliers.

By working together, we can leverage the power of renewable diesel and pave the way for a cleaner transportation future in Upstate New York and beyond.