Biofuels, a renewable energy source that can be stored and transported in a manner similar to fossil fuels, can often be used in existing equipment and be blended with petroleum fuels. Biodiesel is a domestically produced, renewable fuel that can be manufactured from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease for use in diesel vehicles. Biodiesel's physical properties are similar to those of petroleum diesel, but it is a cleaner-burning alternative. Using biodiesel in place of petroleum diesel reduces emissions. In Hawaii, biodiesel is locally produced by Pacific Biodiesel, with plants on Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island.

Ethanol is a normal component of today's gasoline. Over 40% of the gasoline in the U.S. contains ethanol, and the percentage is projected to continue to increase. Hawaii State law requires all gasoline sold for vehicles to have 10% ethanol blended (E-10).  Ethanol is an alcohol based fuel produced from plant sugars such as corn and sugarcane or from cellulosic feedstocks (grass, wood, crop residues, or old newspapers). Ethanol enhances the octane properties of gasoline and is used as an oxygenate to reduce CO emissions.

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Local Programs and Partners


Pacific Biodiesel is involved in all aspects of biodiesel business and has been recognized as a renewable energy pioneer by local, national, and international organizations including: the US Dept. of Energy, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Solid Waste Association of North America, the Small Business Administration, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.


Hawaii Military Biofuel Crop Project is a Pacific Biodiesel agricultural pilot program for the Department of Defense. Preliminary findings suggest that short-term crops such as sunflowers can produce biofuels. The company is building a feed mill on the Big Island to extract oils from these crops that can be processed into biofuels.


Hawaii Clean Diesel Initiative was an EPA DERA grant awarded to Honolulu Clean Cities in 2009. The project activities reduced the amount of toxic air pollutants from heavy duty vehicles by utilizing cleaner fuel for a portion of the City & County of Honolulu's transit fleet and TheBus. The program retrofitted 20 buses from TheBus fleet to run on biodiesel.  

Local Resources

Local Publications

Biodiesel in Oahu's Public Transit This paper provides fleet managers with a glimpse of the opportunities, challenges and suitability of biodiesel in their fleets. In the next few sections this paper will explore examples, testimonies, adoption practices, opportunities, challenges and compatibility of Oahu’s public bus fleet with biodiesel.

For a list of State and County government reports relating to bioenergy, Click Here