Methods of Transition to Sustainable Transportation


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.

For more information about biofuels, please visit

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, please visit


Biodiesel is a renewable fuel made from vegetable oils (such as soybeans or waste cooking oils) and animal fats. It can be used in most unmodified diesel engines. B20 (20% biodiesel, 80% diesel) is the most common biodiesel blend for fleet use.

Biodiesel is nontoxic and biodegradable. The production and use of biodiesel results in a 78.5% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions compared with petroleum diesel (US DOE). Biodiesel has a positive energy balance; for every unit of energy needed to produce one gallon of biodiesel, 3.24 units of energy or more are gained. Biodiesel has positive performance attributes such as increased cetane, high fuel lubricity, and high oxygen content. Locally biodiesel is produced commercially by Pacific Biodiesel on Oahu, Maui, and soon on the Big Island.


DOE  (Biodiesel)

EPA (Biodiesel Activity in Hawaii)

Fuel (film)

Hawaii’s Energy Future(Biofuels)

Reports and Publications

Biodiesel Crop

Implementation in Hawaii

Hawaii Bioenergy Master Plan

Hawaii Biofuels Briefing Book

Biodiesel in Oahu’s Public Transit


E-10 Unleaded

Ethanol is a normal component of today’s gasoline.

All gasoline-powered cars sold in the United States are designed to use gasoline containing up to 10% ethanol, also known as E‑10 Unleaded.  In some states and large metropolitan areas, all of the gasoline contains ethanol, and has for several years. [1]

Gasoline containing up to 10% ethanol has been available in over 41 states for more than 10 years. Today, over 40% of the gasoline in the U.S. contains ethanol, and the percentage is projected to continue to increase. [2]

Ethanol Defined

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 is a high-octane fuel; octane helps prevent engine knocking and generate more power in engines designed to operate at a higher compression ratio. Ethanol enhances the octane properties of gasoline and is used as an oxygenate to reduce CO emissions.

A blend of 10% ethanol with 90% gasoline fuel (E10) can be used in most vehicle engines and generally have a high octane rating than unleaded gasoline. Low-octane gasoline can be blended with 10% ethanol to attain the standard 87 octane requirement. As an alternative fuel, E85 (85% ethanol and 10% gasoline) is used in flex-fuel vehicles. While ethanol is not produced in Hawaii, a 2006 State mandate requires all gasoline sold contain at least 10% ethanol.

National Ethanol Energy Policy

The United States’ energy policy calls for increased use of alternative fuels for transportation.  The national Renewable Fuels Standard requires 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel fuel to be incorporated into the nation’s fuel supply by 2012.  Current U.S. use of ethanol fuel is about 4 billion gallons per year.

State Ethanol Energy Policy

Cost-effective, reliable fuel supplies are essential for Hawaii’s economy.  Hawaii’s need for ground transportation fuels is projected to increase.  Renewable fuels can contribute to Hawaii’s energy supply, as well as to several of Hawaii’s energy objectives.  Diversification of fuel supplies can reduce Hawaii’s future dependence on imported fossil fuels and the impacts of oil price increases or supply disruptions.

Since ethanol can be made from many locally available materials, including agricultural products and even yard or wood waste, it can provide long-term energy diversity and energy security, using plentiful renewable resources. Energy diversification is similar to establishing a diversified investment portfolio: when some prices increase and others decrease, the net effect is a more resilient portfolio with less total risk.

State Requirement

Since April 2, 2006, gasoline distributors in Hawaii have been required to distribute gasoline containing 10% ethanol. [3]

At least 85% of the gasoline distributed to fleets and retail fueling stations is required to be E-10.

Fuel marketers prepared months in advance for the transition, to ensure that properly-blended E-10 Unleaded gasoline would be available from your favorite service station.

Gasoline Prices

Gasoline is made from petroleum (crude oil).  Global demand for petroleum has doubled in less than 3 years. There is concern that prices may continue to rise as the remaining oil becomes more difficult and expensive to extract; also, there are concerns about national energy security associated with increasing levels of dependence on petroleum.  Most of the world’s reserves are located in the Middle East.  More information on global and U.S. energy issues is available from the United States Energy Information Administration[4].

For these and other reasons, a gradual shift towards transportation fuels which can be made from sources other than petroleum is projected to be very important in the long term.

Federal and State incentives reduce the cost of ethanol in order encourage its use, reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuel, and develop renewable alternatives that can be produced in the U.S. and in Hawaii.

Several studies have concluded that ethanol produced in Hawaii can be competitive with imports, and cost-effective for blending with gasoline.

The Federal incentive is 51 cents per gallon of ethanol.  If 40 million gallons of ethanol are blended into Hawaii’s gasoline, Federal payments to blenders in Hawaii will be $20.4 million per year.  This can offset startup costs associated with the program.

Last summer, the net wholesale cost of ethanol was half as much as gasoline.

Minnesota uses E-10 statewide. Their retail gasoline prices tend to be at or below the national average.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my car use it?

Yes. It’s used across the nation. All automakers selling cars in the U.S. approve the use of this fuel formulation.  Here are some excerpts from owner’s manuals:


“You may use gasoline containing up to 10 percent ethanol by volume.”


“You may use unleaded gasoline blended with alcohol… Blend of gasoline and ethanol…must not contain more than 10% ethanol.”

Chrysler     (Applies to ChryslerDodgeJeep, and Plymouth):

“Some fuel suppliers blend unleaded gasoline with oxygenates such as 10% ethanol… Fuels blended with these oxygenates may be used in your vehicle.  Reformulated gasolines contain oxygenates, and are specifically blended to reduce vehicle emissions and improve air quality.  DaimlerChrysler Corporation supports the use of reformulated gasolines.  Properly blended reformulated gasolines will provide excellent performance and durability for the engine and fuel system components.”

Ford (Applies to all Ford products including FordLincoln, and Mercury):

“Ford endorses the use of reformulated “cleaner-burning” gasolines to improve air quality…These gasolines may contain oxygenates up to 10% ethanol or 15% MTBE.”

GM (Applies to all General Motors products including BuickCadillacChevroletGMCGeoOldsmobile and Pontiac):

“Gasolines containing oxygenates, such as ethers and ethanol, and reformulated gasolines may be available in your area to contribute to clean air. General Motors recommends that you use these gasolines…”


“You may use gasoline containing up to 10 percent ethanol by volume. Some conventional gasolines are being blended with alcohol or an ether compound. These gasolines are collectively referred to as oxygenated fuels. To meet clean air standards, some areas of the United States and Canada use oxygenated fuels to help reduce emissions.”


“Gasohol (a mixture of 90% unleaded gasoline and 10% ethanol)…may be used in your Hyundai.”


“Infiniti supports efforts towards cleaner air and suggest that you use reformulated gasolines when available…If an oxygenate-blend…is used, it should contain no more than 10% oxygenate.”


“…gasolines containing oxygenates, such as ethers and ethanol, and reformulated gasolines may be available in your area to help clean the air. Isuzu recommends that you use these gasolines…”


“Fuels containing up to 10% ethanol (grain alcohol) may be used.”


“Do not use gasohol containing more than 10% ethanol.”

Land Rover

“Gasoline/oxygenated fuel blends…up to 10% of ethanol (Ethyl or grain alcohol) and unleaded fuel mix”


“Lexus allows the use of oxygenate blended gasoline where the oxygenate content is up to 10% ethanol…Lexus recommends the use of cleaner burning gasoline and appropriately blended reformulated gasoline. These types of gasoline provide excellent vehicle performance, reduce vehicle emissions, and improve air quality.”


“The common gasoline blend that can be used with your vehicle is ethanol blended at no more than 10%.”


“Gasohol, which contains 10% Ethanol and 90% unleaded gasoline, can be used.”


“A mixture of 10% ethanol and 90% unleaded gasoline may be used in your vehicle…Mitsubishi Motors Corporation strongly supports the use of reformulated gasolines. Properly blended reformulated gasolines should have no adverse effects on vehicle performance or the durability of engine and fuel system components.”


“If an oxygenate-blend…is used…it should contain no more than 10% oxygenate…NISSAN supports efforts towards cleaner air and suggests that you use reformulated gasoline when available.”


“In recent years, a variety of fuel additives and alcohols or oxygenates have been blended with gasoline. Saab approves the use of such ‘reformulated’ gasoline in its products, which help in reducing pollution from all motor vehicles, provided that the [blend is] up to 10% ethanol by volume…”


“Many gasolines are now blended with materials called oxygenates. Use of these fuels can also help keep the air cleaner. Oxygenated blend fuels, such as…ethanol…may be used in your vehicle.”


“Blends of unleaded gasoline and ethanol…may be used in your vehicle if the ethanol content is not greater than 10%.”


“Toyota allows the use of oxygenate blended gasoline where the oxygenate content is up to 10% ethanol…Toyota recommends the use of cleaner burning gasoline and appropriately blended reformulated gasoline. These types of gasoline provide excellent vehicle performance, reduce vehicle emissions, and improve air quality.”


“Blend of gasoline and ethanol [is approved]…blend must not contain more than 10% ethanol.”


“Volvo allows the use of…oxygenated fuels. Fuels containing up to 10% ethanol by volume may be used.”

What’s the point of all this?

This is the first step towards not being completely dependent on petroleum-based fuels for all our ground transportation fuel needs.

Is anybody in Hawaii going to produce ethanol fuel?

Several production facilities are under development in Hawaii.  Others are under consideration but have not been announced.

Where can I get more information?

More information is available from many sources, including:

[1] All of Minnesota, since 1997; Chicago and Milwaukee, since 1999; St. Louis, MO, since 2002; and, since December 2003, all of Connecticut, most of New York, and all of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and San Joaquin Valley. Other areas have been using it to reduce pollution during the winter months: El Paso, TX; Denver, Boulder, and Longmont, CO; Missoula, MT; Provo, UT; Las Vegas and Reno, NV; and Phoenix, AZ.

[2] Source: Energy Information Administration, 2005.

[3] The Annual Energy Outlook is available here:

[4] The ethanol content law (HRS 486J-10) was enacted in 1994.  The specific requirement (HAR 15-35) is for at least 85% of the gasoline delivered to retail gasoline stations and fleets to be E-10 Unleaded.  An exemption is allowed if competitively priced ethanol is not available, or in the case of undue hardship.


DOE – Ethanol

Flex Fuel Vehicles

Hawaii Ethanol Fuel Information

Renewable Fuels Association

Car Sharing

Enterprise CarShare

Formerly known as “WeCar”, Enterprise CarShare is a membership-based car sharing program which was first introduced to Hawaii in 2011 by Enterprise Holdings. This program is a great way to get access to a car without owning one. People can sign up for this Car Sharing option on Enterprise CarShare’s website. CarShare is now available at many locations on Oahu. See below for specific pick-up locations and links to registration information:

UniversitiesUH Manoa (or the university’s website), Hawaii Pacific University (or the university’s website), and Hawaii Student Suites

Other LocationsKaneohe Bay Marine Base


Relay Rides is a car sharing program that allows vehicle owners to rent their personal vehicles out to others for various amounts of time (few hours to a few days) when they are not using them. A car owner can drive to work, rent their vehicle to an individual that does not own a car, and the vehicle can then be returned for the owners commute home at the end of the day. RelayRides screens all potential renters and covers the car for up to one million dollars of insurance. This service is available at many locations on Oahu and the outer islands.

GreenCar Hawaii

While WeCar targets students and military families more, GreenCar Hawaii satisfies the travel and tourism markets, though available to any Hawaii resident. There is no membership requirement. For more information or to make a reservation, visit GreenCar Hawaii‘s website. GreenCar provides clean energy transportation at the locations below:

Oahu:  DoubleTree by Hilton Alana Waikiki Hotel

Kauai:  Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa

Everything Bike

How To Register My Bike?  You can register your bike on various locations around the island.  Find addresses, phone numbers, and hours of those locations by clicking on “How To Register My Bike?”  All bicycles with 20″ or larger wheels are required to be registered in the City and County of Honolulu. There is a one-time fee of $15 and a fee of $5 when transferring ownership of a bicycle.

Lei of Parks:  A system of paths and bike lanes linking the City’s regional and local park and attractions – from Diamond Head to Aloha Tower.

Bike Rentals: Renting a bike is a great way to get around town for a few hours. There are many locations around the island of Oahu where renting a bike is easy and economical. You can rent a variety of different bike (mountain, road, etc.) that are well maintained. Renting a bike is also a great way to try out a make and model before purchasing!

Bike Sharing:  Allows commuters to share the use of bicycles that they do not own. This gives you access to affordable transportation while lowering your carbon footprint to zero!

Bike Oahu:  Follow this link for a current and extensive map of bicycle routes around Oahu, including Suggested Routes for Novice Bicyclists, Suggested Routes for Experienced Bicyclists, and Routes Which Are Not “Bicycle Friendly.”

Peoples Advocacy for Trails Hawaii (PATH), Safely Connecting the People and Places on Hawaii Island with Pathways and Bikeways.  PATH is a pedestrian and bicycle advocacy non-profit organization which started in 1986 and has since worked on .  Visit PATH’s website to learn more about events, programs, Hawaii Island’s bike map, and how you can take action.

Safe Routes To School:  Safe, convenient, and fun opportunities for children to bicycle and walk to and from schools. The Safe Routes To School National Partnership’s mission is to “advocate for safe walking and bicycling to and from schools, and in daily life, to improve the health and well-being of America’s children and to foster the creation of livable, sustainable communities” (Visit their About Us page). Safe Routes To School Infrastructure Grants information.

Complete Streets

Complete Streets (also called Livable Streets) are road networks that are designed to be safer and more attractive to all types of users and commuters, which includes bicyclists, public transport users, pedestrians, motorists and riders of all ages and abilities.  It is designed with all types of users in mind, not just vehicles.

The Complete Streets program has shown to encourage walking and biking, lower driving speeds yet shortening travel time, and strengthen the community’s economy by increasing land value in the area.

See pictures of Complete Streets models here!

The United States enacted the first statewide Complete Streets policy in 1971, but Hawaii only recently adopted Act 054 in 2009 which states that “The department of transportation and the county transportation departments shall adopt a complete streets policy that seeks to reasonably accommodate convenient access and mobility for all users of the public highways… including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, motorists, and persons of all ages and abilities.”  Visit the Complete Streets Task Force Legislative Report to learn about the decision making process and recommendations for implementation.

Learn more by visiting the National Complete Streets Coalition website!  Find out how you can get involved, take action on federal policy, donate to the coalition, or learn about Complete Streets’ members and partners.

Public Transportation


With over 500 buses on its fleet, TheBus operates more than 100 routes with about 4,200 stops on O`ahu everyday. It is the island’s main means of public transportation with an amazing 72,500,000 annual ridership. TheBus has been voted America’s Best Transit System by the American Public Transportation Association for 1994-1995 and 2000-2001, making it the only mass transit system to have obtained this award twice. TheBus is also Going Green by switching their fleet to hybrid, recycling parts, or using water-based parts cleaners and vehicle paint.

Click here to find out how much you could save if you switched from driving to TheBus!

For iPhone and iPad users, download the application DaBus for accurate arrival times and GPS features. Do not miss another bus with this great app!


Individuals with disabilities who are unable to use TheBus can be eligible to use this alternative public transit service islandwide. Reservation is required. Find more information on TheHandi-Van here:  The Handi-Van Rider’s Guide PDF or The Handi-Van Rider’s Guide MS Word.

Ever wanted to find people to carpool with in your area? eRideShare is a great tool that connects commuters around the globe. This ridesharing site allows you to reduce your gas consumption and save money!

Honolulu Rail Transit

First suggested in the 60s, the Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project (HHCTCP) was not approved until 2005 and is projected to open in three phases between 2015 and 2019. Ridership is estimated at 116,300 weekday passenger trips by year 2030. The Rail would extend from Kapolei to Ala Moana Center – a 20-mile stretch.

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is is a type of community development that includes a mixture of housing, office, retail and/or other commercial development and amenities integrated into a walkable neighborhood and located within a half-mile of quality public transportation.  TOD reduces the need to drive as most everyday necessities are in walking distance from a station.  This means that many people on Oahu will be able to access their homes, work and shopping needs simply by getting on the train.  Bus routes and bike paths will be carefully coordinated within the surrounding TOD areas to maximize convenient access to and from the rail.  Specific design elements will also be included in TOD areas to create livable, walkable and sustainable communities.  To learn more about Oahu specific TOD, visit the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting website Get On Board here! (You can learn more about the Honolulu TOD by navigating through this PDF and clicking on the different topics)

Click on the map below to learn more about station details, access a travel time calculator, or watch videos of the future rail.


With the rising prices of gas, people are considering walking over driving more. In our society today, we have become so dependent on our car that walking is not an easy switch to make. However, walking will save you money and has health and environmental benefits.

Below are two websites you can visit to learn more about what’s happening in your neighborhood or city:

Walk Score:  Walk Score’s mission is to increase walkability in various neighborhoods. It also provides an easy way to find a rental and compare its neighborhood’s walk score to other rentals. This helps tenants include walkability as part of their rental search options.

Statewide Pedestrian Master Plan:  The State Department of Transportation is working toward a better and safer pedestrian environment. This plan will reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries by providing safety improvements and repairs. This project will improve walkability in many areas around the island. Find the complete Draft Statewide Pedestrian Master Plan in PDF here.