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Bus company switches to low sulphur diesel

Major bus company makes bold switch to low sulphur diesel

New Zealand’s second biggest public bus fleet has stepped in to help clean up Christchurch air by switching to a new cleaner burning diesel.

From this Friday (March 28) all of Red Bus’s 180 diesel buses will run on BP low sulphur diesel, which has 80 percent less sulphur than regular diesel. Red Bus are the first major public bus company in New Zealand to run all their buses on the healthier lower sulphur fuel.

Red Bus also confirmed today they are investing in 12 new buses.

``These are the latest Euro 3 low emission vehicles with a super low floor,’’ Red Bus chief executive Greg Campbell said today.

``Three of the 12 are also air conditioned. We hope our investment in buses will help with capacity problems we are currently experiencing.’’

He said the low sulphur diesel is more expensive but Red Bus chief executive Greg Campbell said they wanted to lead the way in improving Christchurch’s air quality, particularly in winter. ``The impact of emissions from the bus fleet on Christchurch air is a major concern to Red Bus, and in partnership with BP, we will reduce that impact by using a cleaner burning fuel,’’ he said.

Red Bus’s decision to run their fleet on more environmentally friendly fuel will remove 4.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from Christchurch’s air each year.

Mr Campbell said they wanted to run their 180 buses on the more expensive lower sulphur fuel because they were committed to sustainable business practices in the community.

BP’s lower sulphur diesel average 370 parts per million, compared to other New Zealand diesel of up to 3000 parts per million.

Peter Griffiths, managing director for BP, said Red Bus was showing significant environmental responsibility to the people of Christchurch by substantially cutting back on emissions.

Red Bus is owned by Christchurch City Council and has the youngest and most modern fleet in the country.

The Government plans to reduce sulphur levels in several stages over the next four years. Diesel sulphur has been linked to health problems and increases exhaust smoke and odour from vehicles.

Red Buses move 10.6 million passengers a year in Christchurch. The company, with 350 staff, have spent $11 million on new buses in the last three years.

Note: Sulphur levels in New Zealand’s diesel lag the United Kingdom, Europe and parts of Australia where acceptable levels are between 50 to 500 ppm. Nearly all diesel in New Zealand is manufactured at Northland’s Marsden Pt oil refinery which does not have the capacity to produce a diesel of 500ppm nationwide without significant upgrade.

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