In a bid to become more environmentally-friendly, the council has taken delivery of 10 Ford Focus Flexi-Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) which are powered by the renewable fuel, derived from plants such as cereals and sugar beet, or biomass such as wood waste.
Somerset county councillor Paul Buchanan said: ‘Somerset County Council is leading the way in supporting the use of bioethanol vehicles.
The fleet will help the council achieve its goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20% by 2010 and they will be used by our staff regularly, promoting sustainable transport across the county.’
The 1.8-litre FFVs offer a claimed overall 65% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to the same petrol-only models.
Bioethanol pumps have been installed at five Morrisons supermarkets across Somerset.
The bioethanol used by the vehicles is currently imported, but the council claims this will change in early 2008 when a bioethanol production plant at Henstridge in Somerset is expected to be fully operational. It will use locally grown cereals to manufacture the bioethanol.
Somerset has become the bioethanol car capital of Britain following a partnership to bring the vehicles to the UK, which included Somerset County Council, Ford, Green Spirit Fuels, Avon & Somerset Constabulary and Wessex Water.