Friday, December 6, 2013

How Far We've Come

In its first 20 years Clean Cities has helped to displace 5 billion gallons of petroleum.
Recognizing the breadth of the energy challenges facing our transportation sector, the Energy Department understood that Clean Cities had to draw on resources beyond the federal government. From the beginning, Clean Cities has established relationships with communities and provided them with the tools to move vehicles off petroleum.

$300 million from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act supported 25 Clean Cities projects that deployed more than 8,000 alternative fuel vehicles and nearly 1,500 fueling and charging stations.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Know a Vehicle's Environmental Impact

Clean Cities presents a new resource to help determine the environmental impact of a vehicle. It's called the Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Transportation Tool or just AFLEET. It's a downloadable spreadsheet that a fleet owner can use to "estimate vehicles' petroleum use, greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions, and cost of ownership."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New SunLine Transit Agency General Manager

SunLine continues to be a leader in advancing real live testing in the alternative fuel arena in the nation.
Anyone who follows clean technology transit trends is no doubt familiar with SunLine Transit Agency in the Coachella Valley of Southern California. Two weeks ago Lauren Skiver, the first woman in SunLine's history to head the Agency, stepped into her new role as General Manager. She was shaped by her service in the U.S. Army and brings that training to SunLine, along with a commitment to advancing the clean transportation efforts observing, "SunLine is really the hub of testing real transit applications for the rest of the country."

Free CNG Fuel Offer From Westport WiNG Power System Vehicles

Click for PDF.
Extended Fuel Card Offer V2

Monday, November 11, 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Alternative Fueling Station Locator App For iOS

The Alternative Fueling Station Locator app is available from the iTunes Store.
Developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory with support from the Energy Department, the Alternative Fueling Station Locator app provides information on more than 15,000 stations across the country. Users can search for stations that offer electricity, biodiesel (B20), natural gas (compressed and liquefied), ethanol (E85), hydrogen, and propane. After the user selects a fuel, the app maps the stations closest to his or her current location. The app also includes the stations' addresses, phone numbers, and operating hours. Using the app's filters, drivers can also search for stations that meet certain parameters, such as whether the station is open to the public and what payment methods it accepts.

The app was developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for the Department of Energy.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Electric Vehicle Charging In Coachella Valley

Video on Palm Springs charging stations, now on youtube. We took out the introduction at the beginning of the video. Palm Springs now has over 30 charging stations:) Thanks again for your participation in this production.

Here's a map of the 13 locations in Palm Springs where the 30 charging stations are located.

Newport, California, firm building 'natural gas highway'

News from Orange County on one of our key stake holders of the Coachella Valley Clean City Region Holders - Clean Energy. Clean Energy Fuels has spent $300 million over the past two years on infrastructure, building natural gas fueling stations from Seal Beach to Staten Island.
The firm has yet to turn a profit. But [CEO Andrew J.] Littlefair and [T. Boone] Pickens, who holds a fifth of the company's stock, are betting that a significant share of the nation's buses and trucks will switch from diesel to natural gas in the next five years.

"We are at the tipping point of a huge market," Littlefair says. "We're not dinking around competing in some little niche."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Massachusetts Is The Most Energy-Efficient State


Top 10 States Ranked in Energy Efficiency Scorecard: MA, CA, NY, OR, CT, RI, VT, WA, MD, and IL

5 States Most Needing Improvement: ND, WY, SD, AK, MS

5 Most Improved States: MS, ME, KS, OH, and WV

WASHINGTON, D.C., (November 6, 2013): Energy efficiency measures are thriving in state capitals around the United States, with several states---including Mississippi, Connecticut, Illinois, and West Virginia---taking major steps that moved them up the ranks in the seventh annual edition of the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). For the first time in the history of the State Scorecard, the 2013 ranking of the states is being released with the participation of a U.S. Department of Energy secretary, Dr. Ernest Moniz, along with a top elected official of a state, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

Available online, the State Scorecard shows that the top 10 states for energy efficiency are: Massachusetts, California, New York, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Maryland, and Illinois. Massachusetts retains the top spot for the third year in a row based on its continued commitment to energy efficiency under its Green Communities Act. In California, requirements for reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have led it to identify several strategies for smart growth, keeping the state in a top position at #2. Connecticut is also closing the gap due to passage of a major energy bill in 2013, and Illinois is making its first appearance in the top 10 this year, reaping the benefits of increased energy savings called for in the state's energy efficiency resource standard.

According to the 2013 State Scorecard, the five states most in need of improvement (starting with dead last) are: North Dakota; Wyoming; South Dakota; Alaska; and Mississippi. However, Mississippi also appears on ACEEE's list of the top five most improved states, revealing an upward trend as more and more states embrace energy efficiency. Last year Mississippi passed comprehensive energy legislation that included energy efficiency as a major component. The bill included provisions setting an energy code for commercial and state-owned buildings. Mississippi is now set to become a regional leader in energy efficiency. West Virginia's score improved due to the state adopting stronger building codes. The other three most improved states in 2013 were: Maine, Kansas, and Ohio.

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz said: "Energy efficiency is a critical tool for cutting harmful carbon emissions and the best way to reduce energy bills for America's families. We applaud the continued progress in energy efficiency nationwide and stand ready to help states as they make their communities cleaner and more sustainable, while saving taxpayer dollars and fostering greater economic growth."

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said: "Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in energy efficiency because we have made the choice to shape our future, rather than leave it to chance. We will continue to focus on policies that create jobs, decrease dependence on imported energy sources and protect our environment by reducing emissions."

ACEEE Executive Director Steve Nadel said: "In every region we are seeing states embrace energy saving measures with growing enthusiasm. From Massachusetts, which continues to be the pacesetter in the race to cut down energy waste, to Mississippi, which is emerging as a regional star, state governments are proving that smart policy can still cross partisan divides."

California Energy Commissioner Andrew McAllister said: "California continues earning its reputation as an energy leader by instituting the nation's most advanced energy efficiency standards for buildings and appliances, and for pushing the envelope on ratepayer-funded efficiency programs. Our standards alone have helped save ratepayers more than $75 billion since 1975, grown California's economy with local jobs, and protected our climate by reducing carbon emissions. ACEEE is providing a valuable service by recognizing energy efficiency leaders that other states can follow. We are proud to be one of the leaders."

Mississippi Public Service Commissioner and Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners President Brandon Presley said: "Cutting down on energy waste has become an integral strategy for securing Mississippi's energy future, and we are proud to become the most improved state in this year's State Scorecard. Investing in energy efficiency helps utilities meet growing energy demand, provides reliable service for our customers, and produces economic benefits like energy cost savings. We look forward to seeing Mississippi emerge as a regional leader in tapping the vast economic benefits of energy efficiency."

In the seventh edition of the State Scorecard, ACEEE ranks states on their energy efficiency policy and program efforts, and provides recommendations for ways that states can improve their energy efficiency performance in a variety of policy areas. The State Scorecard report serves as a benchmark for state efforts on energy efficiency policies and programs each year, encouraging states to strengthen their efficiency commitments as a pragmatic and effective strategy for promoting economic growth, securing environmental benefits, and increasing their communities' resilience in the face of uncertain energy costs and supplies.


Facing uncertain economic times, states are continuing to use energy efficiency as a key strategy to generate cost-savings, promote technological innovation, and stimulate growth. The ACEEE Scorecard documents the following trends:
  • Several states have made concentrated efforts related to energy efficiency. Arkansas, Indiana, and Pennsylvania continue to reap the benefits of their energy efficiency resource standards (EERS), leading to substantially greater electricity efficiency investments and savings compared to what ACEEE reported in the 2012 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.
  • A total of 20 states fell in the rankings in the 2013 State Scorecard report, due to both changes in the report's methodology and substantive changes in their performance. Idaho fell the furthest, by nine spots, largely because it did not keep up with peer states in utility efficiency spending and savings. Wisconsin dropped six spots, due to a significant drop in energy savings realized by the state's efficiency program.
  • Connecticut passed a major energy bill in June 2013, calling for the benchmarking of state buildings, expanding combined heat and power programs, and doubling funding for energy efficiency programs.
  • The leading states in utility-sector energy efficiency programs and policies are Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island. All three of these states have long records of success and continue to raise the bar on the delivery of cost-effective energy efficiency programs and policies.
  • The leading states in building energy codes and compliance are California, Washington, and Rhode Island. During the past year, seven states adopted the latest iteration of building energy codes.


The 2013 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard provides a broad assessment of policies and programs that improve energy efficiency in our homes, businesses, industries, and transportation systems. The State Scorecard examines the six policy areas in which states typically pursue energy efficiency: utility and "public benefits" programs and policies; transportation polices; building energy codes and compliance; combined heat and power policies; appliance and equipment standards; and state government-led initiatives around energy efficiency.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Clean Cities has helped put 20,000 PEVs on the road

Clean Cities has "helped deploy more than 20,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), including plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles." "[By] using these vehicles, Clean Cities stakeholders have displaced more than 50 million gallons of petroleum just since 2010."


Here's a NY Times article about KLD Energy Technologies, a company that believes it has the next great innovation in electric-vehicle technology. It's called oneDRIVE It reduces magnetic losses and eliminates driveline losses. It does this with an electric motor that has only one moving part. A vehicle with this motor would have no "gears, clutches, spark plugs, filters, belts, oil or tune-ups."

One vehicle demonstrated for the NY Times article is called the "Skeletor." It has a top speed of 25 MPH and a range of 24 miles. The company's chief scientific officer, Ray Caamano, says it's capable of 50 MPH, but regulations in the U.S. require it to be restricted to half speed. The vehicle can use a smaller array of lithium batteries than similar vehicles. The vehicle operates at a lower voltage than other electrics, providing improved efficiency and extended battery life.

Their website lists four vehicles that use oneDRIVE:
  • A lightweight delivery vehicle called Kombi City. It has a range of 45 miles and a top speed of 50 MPH.
  • A three-wheeled EV that is considered a motorcycle in the U.S. It's top speed is 37 MPH with a range of 32 miles.
  • A four-passenger EV that fits the definition of a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle. Top speed is 25 MPH and the range is 24 miles.
  • A two-wheel scooter that can reach 50 MPH and has a range of 53 miles.

Here's a video from Fox11 in Los Angeles during a recent KLD promotional tour. You can ride the scooter wearing high heels!

Comparing Diesel, CNG and LNG

An article in The Province discusses some of the differences between natural gas, gasoline and diesel for powering trucks.
  • Using natural gas can save $200,000 to $240,000 (Canadian dollars) over diesel.
  • Four times as much compressed natural gas (CNG) is required to get the energy of one gallon of diesel.
  • Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is more compact. 1.8 cubic feet of LNG equals 1 cubic foot of diesel.
  • Combusting natural gas requires a spark-ignited natural-gas engine (CNG or LNG) or high-pressure direct injection (LNG only). The latter uses a small amount of diesel to ignite the gas.
  • Some companies retrofit trucks to burn a mix of CNG and diesel.
  • There are about 1,300 CNG stations in North America, but only 80 LNG stations.
  • Since 2010 natural gas and diesel engines have fairly similar environmental profiles.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Industry Partners are Critical to the Mission

DOE has recognized Cummins Westport and Honda "for their notable contributions to widespread deployment of alternative fuel vehicles."

Cummins designs, engineers and markets 6 to 12-liter natural gas engines for commercial applications.

Honda first manufactured the Civic Natural Gas model in 1998. "The company and its dealers have worked closely with Clean Cities coalitions to help fleets successfully incorporate these vehicles into their operations to cut petroleum use."

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Question Of The Month: Alternative Fuel Use During Emergency Situations?

Question of the Month: How have fleets benefited from alternative fuel use during emergency situations?

Answer: Another hurricane season is upon us. As such, we are reminded of the lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy, which made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey last October. Specifically, alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles were able to provide critical services and assist in recovery efforts when conventional vehicles were taken out of service due to fuel shortages and power outages at fueling stations.

It has been reported that more than 20% of conventional fueling stations had no fuel as many as 11 days after the storm. Meanwhile, alternative fuel fleets were still operating. For example, the compressed natural gas (CNG) Atlantic City Jitney minibuses were assisting with evacuation and the Oyster Bay CNG refuse and dump trucks were helping with clean-up efforts. Because CNG infrastructure is typically fueled by an underground pipeline, these stations are not as dependent on fuel delivery trucks for their supply. Therefore, these fleets were able to jump into action and provide support during a difficult time. CNG was not the only alternative fuel used during the Superstorm Sandy aftermath. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey continued their use of biodiesel blends without fuel supply interruptions. For a video summarizing the use of alternative fuel vehicles after Superstorm Sandy, see the following MotorWeek story:

Emergency situations can include natural disasters, such as hurricanes, flooding, tornados, earthquakes, and wildfires. However, they also include systems and infrastructure failures, pandemics, and physical or cyber attacks. To that end, the Valley of the Sun Clean Cities Coalition in Phoenix, Arizona is working with the Arizona Department of Emergency Management to encourage fuel diversity in an area of the country that is vulnerable to fuel shortages due to pipeline ruptures.

How can we learn from these experiences?

  • Incorporate alternative fuels into emergency planning efforts.

    • Energy Assurance Plans. Through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) State Energy Assurance Program provided grants to 48 states to develop or update their Energy Assurance Plans. The goal of these plans is to ensure secure and reliable energy infrastructure that will allow for rapid restoration and recovery in the case of an emergency. As such, many state plans champion fuel diversity and include a shift to alternative transportation fuels to reduce petroleum demand, manage fuel supply, and maintain essential public needs during emergency situations. State energy offices are encouraged to revisit and update their plans frequently. As alternative fuel infrastructure expands in your area, Clean Cities coalitions are encouraged to get in touch with their state energy office to incorporate alternative fuels into their Energy Assurance Plan. For more information, see the DOE State Energy Assurance Program website. The National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) Energy Assurance Planning website is also a useful resource.

    • Disaster Preparedness Plans. In addition to energy planning, state offices and agencies of emergency management have overarching plans to manage emergency situations. Alternative fuel and advanced vehicles can also play an important role in these strategies. To find your state emergency management office, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website.

  • Work with stakeholders to educate them on the benefits of alternative fuels in emergency situations. Tell them the stories about alternative fuel use during Superstorm Sandy. Utilities, municipal governments, and refuse companies may be particularly interested in these lessons learned.

  • Know where the available fueling infrastructure is. Using the Alternative Fueling Station Locator, you can identify stations in your area and work with those station operators to determine whether they will be available during an emergency situation. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is collecting information from natural gas stations about generator availability, specifically those that could power compressors and other infrastructure during an outage. Initial results indicate that over 50% of planned and existing CNG and liquefied natural gas stations have access to a generator that can operate the station. Please note that information about generator availability at individual stations will not be available through the Fueling Station Locator. However, it will be used to assist DOE and others in developing federal, state, and local energy assurance and emergency preparedness plans that incorporate alternative fuels.
For additional information about the response to Superstorm Sandy and alternative fuel use in emergency situations, please refer to the Webinar on the Role of Alternative Fuel Vehicles in Emergency Preparedness.

Monday, October 21, 2013

US Energy Security Council Issues New Report Supporting Alternative Fuels

NGVAmerica Newsletter 10/18/13

This week, the United States Energy Security Council (USESC) issued a report filled with recommendations for improving energy security and increasing fuel choices for consumers. The report, titled Fuel Choice for American Prosperity, includes a number of recommendations for increasing the availability of NGVs. The overriding point made in the report is that energy security depends on having real choices and real alternatives to oil in the transportation market. It also concludes that simply focusing on improved energy efficiency and increased oil production –- the policy of the past 40 years -- will not provide price protection to the U.S. economy or to consumers.

To advance energy security and increase alternative fuel use, the report largely focuses on the need for an open fuel standard. That translates to finding ways to encourage automakers to make more vehicles that are capable of running on multiple fuels such as flexible fueled vehicles, bi-fuel vehicles or dual-fuel vehicles. The report notes that one option for the open-fuel standard is to mandate that automakers offer vehicles that are capable of operating on alternative fuels so that fuel providers will then have an incentive to build alternative fuel refueling stations. The report's authors acknowledge, however, that many in Washington, including the automakers, have an aversion to mandates.

Alternatively, to encourage automakers to offer more alternative fuel choices, the report recommends that the current fuel economy rules or CAFE rules be adjusted to provide an incentive for manufacturers to produce bi-fuel and dual-fuel alternative fuel vehicles such as to count these vehicles as toward compliance with the EPA's greenhouse gas regulations. The current rules largely limit the effectiveness of alternative fuel vehicles because the rules don't allow such vehicles do not generate significant greenhouse gas credits (even though they can offset a significant amount of petroleum use).

Other recommendations include relaxing the US EPA rules for alternative fuel aftermarket conversion systems in order to expand the availability of such systems so that a large portion of the existing fleet market can also operate on alternative fuels. A specific recommendation is to waive virtually all environmental requirements for in-use vehicles that are five years or older. The report also recommends working with other countries to develop international standards that address requirements for aftermarket conversion systems including CNG fueled vehicles.

With respect to tax policy, the report recommends adjusting fuel taxes so that motor fuels are taxed based on energy content and not volume since the volume based tax can penalize alternative fuels, like LNG, that have less energy per volume. The report recommends that Congress should address the current tax treatment of LNG so that it not penalized and, with respect to state taxation, it recommends that the National Governors Association "review tax policy …with the objective of leveling the fuel tax playing field in mind."

A copy of the report can be found at: For more information, contact Jeff Clarke 202.824.7364, or

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fall 2013 Edition Of Fuels Fix

This edition of Fuels Fix includes these articles
  • Exciting Biogas Developments
  • Clean Cities Coalition Updates
  • E85 Use Increases in Minnesota
  • Natural Gas Rolling Tour

Friday, October 4, 2013

Sunday, September 29, 2013

How An Internal Combustion Engine Works

An impressive (and very large at 5.7MB) animated GIF that illustrates how every part of an internal combustion engine works. It's more than just the basic 4-stroke cycle. There's an animation of a 4-cylinder 4-stroke engine operating, one that highlights the fuel injectors, one showing air flow, one for oil, one for the spark plugs, and one that puts it all together with cooling and exhaust systems. Then for dessert there's one illustrating the three states of a hybrid vehicle: regenerative braking, electric motor drive/assist, and automatic start/shutoff.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

59 million gallons of petroleum not burned

In 2012 59 million gallons of biodiesel replaced petroleum in 103,000 vehicles nationwide. Most biodiesel is blended with diesel. Any diesel engine can use B5 fuel which is 5% biodiesel and 95% diesel.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ozinga Adds 14 Natural Gas Concrete Mixers to Its Fleet

This week's Clean Cities success story takes us to Chicago, Illinois, and highlights how Ozinga Ready Mix Concrete added 14 compressed natural gas mixers to its fleet. The 85-year-old family business partnered with Chicago Area Clean Cities for initial federal funding and plans to convert or replace its entire fleet by 2020.

Produced by Maryland Public Television's MotorWeek program, this short segment will air on PBS stations nationwide starting Sept. 28, 2013 (in the regular weekly MotorWeek timeslot on your local PBS station). MotorWeek is also available on Velocity by Discovery.

For show times in your area, check the MotorWeek and Discovery Channel websites. While many local PBS affiliates are still broadcasting in standard definition, viewers can watch the episode in high definition on Velocity by Discovery.

Previous video segments are available on the Alternative Fuels Data Center. New segments will be posted as they air.

More Reasons To Convert To Natural Gas

Jim O’Connor, Retired CEO and Chairman of Republic Services, the nation’s second-largest waste services provider, shares his views on CNG-fueled vehicles.
The refuse industry has been the frontrunner in this race for several years and for good reason. Natural gas allows our trucks to operate cleaner while they clean the communities they serve, reducing smog-causing emissions by more than 80% and greenhouse-gas emissions by more than 20% over traditional diesel-powered vehicles.

Refuse trucks built with natural-gas engines are also up to 90% quieter than their diesel counterparts, meaning calmer streets throughout our neighborhoods, a more peaceful sleep for our urban communities and protection from the risk of hearing loss among workers.
While natural-gas vehicles do require a higher initial investment today of $35,000 to $40,000 for a heavy-duty truck equipped with a 12-liter engine, it can be quickly recouped when you consider that natural gas costs, on average, approximately one-third less than conventional diesel at the pump. Depending on the market, the savings can be $1.50 per gallon, meaning the upfront costs can be recouped as quickly as a little more than a year.

In addition, natural-gas trucks don’t require diesel particulate filters or selective catalytic reduction, making the cost advantage that much clearer. And we can anticipate the costs to drop precipitously as technology continues to develop and the list of users keeps getting longer, as it did for refuse trucks by 50% after the initial 9-liter natural-gas engine was introduced in 2007.

AQMD Displays Natural Gas-Powered Police Pursuit Vehicle

Last weekend South Coast Air Quality Management District unveiled a 2011 Ford Crown Victoria Interceptor that had been converted to run on CNG. "These police vehicles look and operate just like their gasoline counterparts," said Michael Cacciotti, SCAQMD Board Member and Councilman for the city of South Pasadena. "But they are much cleaner and better for air quality and our health, which is especially important in pollution-plagued Southern California."
The SCAQMD demonstration 2011 Ford Crown Victoria police pursuit vehicle has been retrofitted to run entirely on CNG and is capable of speeds up to 100 mph. Just like its gasoline-powered counterpart, the CNG cruiser has a 4.6 liter, V-8 engine producing an estimated 250 horsepower. It achieves a similar fuel efficiency of 15 miles per gallon. With a fuel tank capacity of 15 gallons it has an approximate range of 225 miles. At fast-fill stations, refueling takes three to five minutes.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Saudi Oil Is Going To Run Out

From T. Boone Pickens:
Every day, Saudi Arabia exports 9.3 million barrels of oil. That makes the Saudis the largest oil exporter on earth. And they need to be. Why?

Because the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a welfare state, a very wealthy welfare state. Seventy percent of the country is under age 30, and 40 percent of those young Saudis are unemployed. That means each year the Saudi government has to make billion-dollar handouts to keep millions of Saudis happy.

The kingdom's biggest oil field has been in production since 1951 and its best years are behind it. Combined with the social uncertainties and pressures there, it's a bad cocktail brewing, and problematic for countries that rely on Saudi oil. And America doesn't need to be one of them.

We've got enough energy in the U.S. - including the world's largest natural gas reserves. One thing is for sure: Saudi oil is a big problem spot for us. Let's put a plan in place before it becomes a bigger problem.

Have a look at this video for more of my thoughts on this issue and Tweet me at @BoonePickens with your thoughts.

Climate Change Deniers

Rolling Stone provides a short list of the "polluters, politicians and propagandists" who are trying to stop President Obama's efforts to fight climate change. They are…
  • Charles and David Koch.
  • Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).
  • Jack Gerard, President and CEO, the American Petroleum Institute.
  • Alex Epstein, President and founder, Center for Industrial Progress.
  • Craig Idso, Chairman, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide & Global Change.
  • Sen. David Vitter (R-LA).
  • American Legislative Exchange Council.
  • Ken Cuccinelli, Attorney General of Virginia.
  • Rex Tillerson, CEO, ExxonMobil

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Clean Cities Guide to Alternative Fuel and Advanced Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles

A new publication from Clean Cities is the Clean Cities Guide to Alternative Fuel and Advanced Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles. The guide "provides an overview of alternative fuel power systems (engines, microturbines, electric motors, and fuel cells) and hybrid propulsion systems. It also lists individual medium- and heavy-duty vehicle models by application, along with associated manufacturer contact information, fuel type, power source, and related information."

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Electric Drive Vehicle & Infrastructure Terminology

Question of the Month: What are the key terms to know when discussing electric drive vehicles and their fueling infrastructure?

Answer: It is important to know how to "talk the talk" when it comes to electric drive vehicles. Becoming familiar with the terms below will help you better understand these vehicles and the associated fueling (charging) infrastructure, so that you can ask the right questions and make informed decisions:

Vehicle Types

There are two main categories of electric drive vehicles:

  • Hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) are powered by an internal combustion engine or other propulsion source that runs on conventional or alternative fuel, as well as an electric motor that uses energy stored in a battery. The battery is charged through regenerative braking and by the internal combustion engine, and is not plugged in to charge. Regenerative breaking is a technology by which energy normally lost during braking is captured by the electric motor and stored in the battery for extra power during acceleration. There are two different types of HEVs:
    • Mild hybrid: This type of HEV uses a battery and electric motor to help power the vehicle and can allow the engine to shut off when the vehicle stops (such as at traffic lights or in stop-and-go traffic). Mild hybrid systems cannot power the vehicle using electricity alone. Example: Chevrolet Malibu Eco
    • Full hybrid: This type of HEV generally has more powerful electric motors and larger batteries, which can drive the vehicle on just electric power for short distances and at low speeds. Example: Toyota Prius

    HEVs can be designed in two different configurations:
    • Parallel: This configuration connects the engine and the electric motor to the wheels through mechanical coupling and allows both the electric motor and the engine to drive the wheels directly, either simultaneously or independently.
    • Series: In this configuration, only the electric motor drives the wheels. The internal combustion engine is used to generate electricity for the motor.
  • Plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) refer to any on-road vehicle that can be charged through an external source of electricity. There are two different types of PEVs available:
    • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV): Like HEVs, these vehicles are powered by an internal combustion engine that can run on conventional or alternative fuel, as well as an electric motor that uses energy stored in a battery. The difference is that these vehicles can be plugged into an electric power source to charge the battery. PHEVs can have a parallel or series design as well. Example: Chevy Volt
    • Electric vehicle, or all-electric vehicle (EV): These vehicles use a battery to store the electric energy that powers the motor. EV batteries are charged by plugging the vehicle into an electric power source. EVs are sometimes referred to as battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Example: Nissan Leaf
    • Neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV): These vehicles are smaller and have less battery power than traditional EVs, and are often referred to as low-speed vehicles. NEVs are confined to roads with lower speed limits and states set specific regulations regarding their use.

Infrastructure Terminology

Charging equipment for PEVs is known as electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). Charging times vary based on how depleted the battery is, how much energy it holds, the type of battery, and the type of EVSE. Before exploring types of EVSE, it's important to first understand the basics of electricity through the following terminology:
  • Current type:
    • Alternating current (AC): Movement of electric current that reverses or alternates direction. AC is the form of current normally generated and delivered by an electric utility to homes and businesses.
    • Direct current (DC): Movement of electric current that continuously flows in the same direction. DC is the form of current normally delivered through batteries and is essential to charging vehicle batteries. As certain types of EVSE only provide AC (Level 1 and Level 2 described below), all PEVs are equipped with onboard equipment to convert the current to DC.
  • Amperage: The amount of electrical current, which can be thought of as the rate of flow. Amperage is measured in amperes, commonly referred to as amps.
  • Voltage: The electric potential energy per unit charge, which can be thought of as the force or pressure that drives the electric current. Voltage is measured in volts (V).
    • By multiplying amperage by voltage, you can find the unit of power, otherwise known as watts (W). There are 1000 watts in a kilowatt (kW). A typical residential three-prong outlet can supply 12 amps at 120V, or 1.44 kW based on the following equation:

      12 amps x 120V =3D 1440 W / 1000 =3D 1.44 kW
    • PEV battery pack energy capacity is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). A kWh is a unit of energy that indicates the ability to provide a given amount of power for one hour. In theory, a 24 kWh battery pack would take 16.7 hours to charge using a standard 3-prong outlet based on the following equation:

      24 kWh / 1.44 kW =3D 16.7 hours

EVSE Categories
There are five different types of EVSE outlined in the table below.
CategoryBasic InformationConnector(s)Charge Time
Level 1
  • 120V AC plug
  • Typical for residential charging; uses a standard household outlet
  • All PEVs come with a two-ended Level 1 EVSE cordset. One end has a standard three-prong plug and the other has a connector that plugs into the receptacle on the vehicle.
SAE J1772, NEMA 5-15 or NEMA 5-20 2 to 5 miles of range per hour of charging time to a light-duty PHEV or EV
Level 2
  • 240V AC plug (residential applications) or 208V AC plug (commercial applications)
  • Typical for residential, workplace, fleet, and public facilities
  • Most homes have 240V service available but require equipment installation and a dedicated circuit of 20 to 80 amps, depending on EVSE requirements
SAE J177210 to 20 miles of range per hour of charging time to a light-duty PHEV or EV
Level 3Pending industry consensus on definitionUndefinedUndefined
DC Fast
  • 480V AC input with AC-DC converter
  • Enables rapid charging along heavy traffic corridors and at public stations
Three types:
  • CHAdeMO
  • SAE J1772 Combo
  • Tesla Supercharger
60 to 80 miles of range to a light-duty PHEV or EV in 20 minutes
Legacy "Paddle" Inductive
  • Uses an electromagnetic field which transfers electricity without a cord
  • Today's available PEVs do not use this type of charging
Small paddle or large paddle inductiveVaries
Wireless Inductive
  • Uses an electromagnetic field which transfers electricity without a cord
  • Currently in planning and testing stages, not yet available
SAE J2954 (pending)Undefined
Additional information on electric drive vehicles, infrastructure, and batteries can be found on the Alternative Fuels Data Center Electricity website.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

California Clean Energy Bill Awaits Governor's Signature

The California legislature has approved and sent Assembly Bill 8 to Governor Brown for his consideration. "Central to AB 8 is an extension of the state's clean transportation incentive programs through 2023." Here is the bill itself. The bill includes an extension of AB 118 which has helped put thousands of alternative-fueled vehicles on the road in California.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Fuel Economy Labeling For Used Vehicles

Energy Department and Environmental Protection Agency Release Fuel Economy Tool for Used Vehicles

WASHINGTON – As part of the Obama Administration's ongoing efforts to increase fuel efficiency, reduce carbon pollution and address climate change, the U.S. Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released a new label that features EPA fuel economy estimates and CO2 estimates for used vehicles sold in the United States since 1984.

Consumers may create the new label electronically as part of a new tool on This electronic graphic can be downloaded and included in online advertisements on the web, while the paper label may be printed and affixed to the vehicle window. As a vehicle's fuel economy changes very little over a typical 15-year life with proper maintenance, the original EPA fuel economy estimate remains the best indicator of a used vehicle's average gas mileage

"Fuel efficient vehicles cut carbon pollution, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and help American families and businesses save money," said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson. "The new fuel economy label gives consumers an easy, quick way to get the information they need to find the used vehicle that's right for them."

"Making fuel economy information more easily accessible can help Americans save money at the gas pump and reduce carbon pollution," said EPA Acting Administrator for Air and Radiation Janet McCabe. "Buying any vehicle is an investment, and the information on these labels will help consumers make informed decisions and calculate the cost of ownership."

The Obama Administration has taken unprecedented steps to improve the fuel efficiency of vehicles sold in the U.S., establishing the toughest fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles in U.S. history. These standards are expected to save consumers $1.7 trillion at the pump -- or more than $8,000 in costs over the lifetime of each vehicle – and eliminate six billion metric tons of carbon pollution.

All new vehicles now include a comprehensive fuel economy and environmental window sticker from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, including passenger vehicles that meet the new fuel economy standards. With the tool released today, used vehicle sellers can provide potential buyers with comparable fuel economy information. Last year, over 40 million used cars were sold in the United States – roughly three times the number of new cars sold in 2012.

Used vehicles' information will also be available on in addition to annual fuel cost and petroleum use estimates. Individual fuel economy will vary for many reasons. Visit for personalization tools. Consumers can also view gas mileage estimates from other drivers with the same vehicle year model and configuration.

More information on the used vehicle tool is available at

Basically, this allows the seller to generate a fuel economy label on vehicles manufactured after 1983. For example, your 1984 Buick Century Estate Wagon would get a label like this:
1984 Buick Century Estate Wagon label

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell of the Kentucky Clean Cities Partnership is the longest-tenured Clean Cities coordinator. She has held the position since 1994. "Howell worked closely with Mammoth Cave National Park over several years, helping it become the first national park in the country to operate all its vehicles on alternative fuels."

Thursday, September 12, 2013

AM General To Buy VPG

"AM General, which manufactured the Vehicle Production Group's MV-1 in Indiana until VPG shut down earlier this year, says it's buying the business itself, by buying VPG's U.S. Department of Energy loan.
The MV-1 is also, AM General says, the only vehicle in its class available with a factory CNG fuel option. It "fills a significant void in consumer, government and paratransit fleet markets while providing unsurpassed accessibility and comfort." CNG range is stated at 290 miles.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fracking Review

Here's a short overview of fracking:

A question to the EPA as to the current view of the safety of fracking brought this response:
The EPA is currently conducting a study on the impacts of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on drinking water. According to the EPA website, a draft report is expected to be released by 2014. However, a progress report was released in December 2012. According to the progress report executive summary:
The EPA has identified chemicals reportedly used in hydraulic fracturing fluids from 2005 to 2011 and chemicals found in flowback and produced water. Appendix A contains tables with over 1,000 of these chemicals identified. Chemical, physical, and toxicological properties are being compiled for chemicals with known chemical structures. Existing models are being used to estimate properties in cases where information is lacking. At this time, the EPA has not made any judgment about the extent of exposure to these chemicals when used in hydraulic fracturing fluids or found in hydraulic fracturing wastewater, or their potential impacts on drinking water resources.

The following report from the Argonne National Laboratory gives a good overview of the fracking issue: Hydraulic Fracturing and Shale Gas Production: Technology, Impacts, and Regulations. The Summary and Implications section (on page 18) summarizes the potential environmental risks and the proposed methods to overcome them:

Shale gas production represents a large, new potential source of natural gas for the nation. Development of this resource is, however, not without risks to natural resources. Potential impacts include the following:
  • Greenhouse gas emissions during completion and production activities,
  • Air emissions that affect local air quality during completion and production activities,
  • Water withdrawals for hydraulic fracturing,
  • Induced seismicity from improper management of flowback water,
  • Water quality impacts to surface water or aquifer from faulty well design and construction or improper flowback water management, and
  • Additional community impacts including noise and light pollution.

Improved science-based assessments of these risks are underway, but early results indicate that the risks can be managed and lowered through existing practices including the following:
  • [Reduced emissions completions] that limit [volatile organic compounds], [hazardous air pollutants], and [methane] emissions and reduce flaring,
  • Engineering controls and appropriate personal protective equipment to reduce worker exposure to crystalline silica,
  • Reusing flowback water to limit fresh water withdrawal requirements and reduce water management burdens,
  • Drilling of multiple wells from a single well pad to reduce the footprint of operations,
  • Proper siting, design, and construction of gas production and fluid disposal wells, and
  • Groundwater quality monitoring coupled with fracturing fluid chemical disclosures.

Please see sections 3.1 – 3.4 (beginning on page 7) of the report for an in-depth discussion of the potential effects to air and water quality from fracking operations.

Clean Cities Top 20 Fact #10

An idling vehicle gets 0 MPG. "Every year, vehicle idling in the United States consumes more than 6 billion gallons of fuel at a cost of more than $20 billion."
Clean Cities coalitions have helped their stakeholders reduce idling through various approaches, from obtaining funding for school bus heaters, to partnering with government agencies and businesses to establish truck stop electrification sites, to helping set idle-reduction policies.

This work is paying off. In 2012, Clean Cities stakeholders' idle-reduction initiatives saved 31 million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs). This reduction corresponds to nearly 400,000 tons of GHG emissions averted.

Electric Vehicle Quarterly Webinar - September 25, 2013

Info here.
Plan to join us for the upcoming Electric Vehicle (EV) Quarterly discussion webinar scheduled to take place on Wednesday, September 25 beginning at 10am Please forward and share this invitation, as the webinar is open to all stakeholders and other interested parties.

The webinar will be hosted by Linda Bluestein, DOE National Clean Cities Co-Director, and will feature two speakers, Ted Bohn from Argonne National Laboratory and Matthew Shirk from Idaho National Laboratory.

Ted Bohn will provide an update on standards relevant to EVSE-PEV Interoperability and Managed Energy Networks for EVSE in workplace and Multi-Unit-Dwelling installations. Examples covered for multiple EVSEs installed on a single location source, with and without managed energy systems in place. Matthew Shirk will provide a data update on the EV project.

You can join the webinar directly by using this link.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

What Happens When Your CNG Tanks Expire?

Today's CNG cylinders are certified for a 25-year life, but older cylinders were certified for shorter lifespans. "Tanks cannot be recertified after reaching the expiration date set at time of manufacture and must be taken out of service. That leaves vehicle owners two options: retire the vehicle or replace the cylinders."

A notice from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states "cylinders should be inspected for damage or deterioration every 36 months or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first, or after a fire or accident."

Propane Is #3

Clean Cities Top 20 Facts #9 tells us that propane is the third most common vehicle fuel in the world. There are more than 2,800 propane fueling stations in the United States.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Growing CNG Infrastructure In North America

40% of the world's new CNG fueling stations will open in North America over the next two years, making it the area with the greatest growth. By 2020 it is forecasted that there will be 30,000 CNG stations worldwide.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Success Stories and Case Studies

Clean Cities Question Of The Month: Where can I find case studies and other information about fleets that have successfully adopted alternative fuels and advanced vehicles?

Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) Resources

The AFDC Case Studies search is a great resource for examples of what real fleets are doing related to alternative fuels. This page allows the user to search by category or keyword. Categories include fuels and technologies, such as biodiesel and idle reduction, as well as applications such as law enforcement and public transit. The Case Study search functionality was recently updated to provide a better search experience, so be sure to check it out.

Another useful tool is the AFDC Publications database. The publications database includes more detailed reports and case studies written by the national laboratories and other organizations regarding the implementation of alternative fuels and advanced vehicles in fleets. This page is also searchable by category or keyword.

Clean Cities Resources
The Clean Cities YouTube Channel is one of the newest Clean Cities tools. The channel features more than 200 case study videos, including MotorWeek Clean Cities Success Story segments and other educational media for fleets. In addition, Clean Cities Now includes a "Fleet Experiences" section in each biannual publication. Each "Fleet Experiences" article contains information about a fleet that has successfully transitioned their fleet to alternative fuels.

Clean Cities coalitions are also great resources for information about the "real world" use of alternative fuels and advanced vehicles at the local and regional level. The Clean Cities Coalition Contacts page provides a list of coalitions and their websites. Some coalitions post stakeholder fleet case studies on their websites or feature success stories in their newsletters.

Industry Associations and Publications
Some industry association websites also contain useful case studies that focus on the use of specific fuel and technology types. For example, the National Biodiesel Board "Market Segments" page provides examples of fleets using biodiesel in different applications as well as stories on several "feature fleets." Additionally, fleet publications such as Automotive Fleet and Green Fleet publish articles about fleets that are adopting alternative fuels and advanced vehicles.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Technical Assistance

Clean Cities Top 20 Fact #8

Clean Cities coalitions and their stakeholders implement thousands of projects every year within their local communities—all in the pursuit of cutting U.S. petroleum use. These projects are aided by the robust collection of information and technical resources within the Clean Cities program framework. And one of the most valuable of these resources is the Clean Cities Technical Response Service (TRS).

As far back as 1992, the service began as the National Alternative Fuels and Clean Cities Hotlines before being combined into the current Clean Cities TRS in 2005.

Learn why Margaret Larson (Honolulu Clean Cities co-coordinator) said, "The Technical Response Service is my best friend" in this case study.

But the TRS isn't just available to Clean Cities coordinators. It's also for stakeholders and people like you. The staff keeps abreast of industry trends and current research and publications, and they are experts at identifying the right resources to assist you.

Stakeholders in particular have relied on the TRS to help them:

  • Explore the benefits of various fuels and technologies
  • Quantify the costs of infrastructure and vehicles and calculate returns on investment
  • Identify incentives that will help offset the costs of vehicle acquisitions and infrastructure development
  • Understand standards, laws, regulations, and requirements
  • Locate fueling stations and related information
  • Identify case studies, best practices, and lessons learned.

Consider the TRS your go-to source for information. You can reach the service at or 800-254-6735. Keep this contact information handy or add it to your contacts list.

Have a particularly tough challenge? Clean Cities offers hands-on technical assistance for eligible projects through Tiger Teams. These technical experts help Clean Cities coordinators, stakeholders, equipment manufacturers, and fuel providers overcome obstacles to deploying alternative fuels and advanced vehicles.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Small changes can make a big impact

Clean Cities Top 20 Facts #7:
Over the last 20 years, Clean Cities coalitions have worked with their stakeholders to reduce petroleum consumption by 5 billion gallons. This has been possible not only by deploying alternative fuels and vehicles, but also through fuel economy improvements, such as using more efficient vehicles (including hybrid electric vehicles) and better driving habits.

" estimates that you could save about $900 per year on fuel by choosing a vehicle that gets 30 mpg instead of 20 mpg."

"Just reducing driving speed can result in significant fuel and cost savings."

Monday, August 5, 2013

Nearly 63,000 natural gas vehicles in service

Clean Cities Top 20 Facts #6:
Clean Cities coalitions have played an important role in the growing use of natural gas as a transportation fuel. Recent coalition reports show that stakeholders displaced more than 215 million gallons of petroleum in 2012 by using some 63,000 natural gas vehicles. Of these vehicles, about 95% were powered by compressed natural gas; the rest were powered by liquefied natural gas.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Using compressed natural gas to its full potential"

An opinion piece by Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association.
Does CNG make sense for you and your company? The economics are completely sensible. The availability is beyond a 100-year supply just in the United States. And lastly, using U.S.-produced CNG will discourage our country's dependence on foreign resources — this alone can strengthen our country's national security. If there is a true downside to CNG use for vehicles, it has not been made known.

Complete text here.

Debunking Gasland Part II

In case you need to defend natural gas production from the claims made in the Gasland II movie, EnergyInDepth (EID) has prepared an extensive (7,000 word) debunk of the false claims that it made. If you're not up for that much reading, EID has released a new, simple infographic that highlights four of the biggest distortions from Gasland Part II: well "failure" rates, greenhouse gas emissions, regulatory compliance, and that infamous flaming hose. You can download the infographic [PDF] here. For the 7,000 word debunk, go here.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Clean Cities Top 20 Facts #5

From the Clean Cities Blog:
The success of the Clean Cities program over the past 20 years is possible in part because of a network of coalitions, stakeholders, and technical experts who collaborate to make an impact within local communities. Leveraging this network, Clean Cities is able to monitor trends in the marketplace, identify barriers to implementing projects, and develop solutions to these barriers.

These solutions include a set of more than a dozen easy-to-use online tools. These calculators, interactive maps, and data searches help fleets and drivers evaluate, select, and deploy alternative fuels and advanced vehicles as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Below are a few examples of these great resources.

The Petroleum Reduction Planning Tool helps users evaluate options and develop a plan to reduce petroleum use. The tool allows you to set goals and then quantify the estimated energy, environmental, and cost benefits associated with a deployment of alternative fuels, advanced vehicles, and efficiency measures.

The GREET Fleet Footprint Calculator can help calculate your fleet's well-to-wheels petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions footprint, and estimate the reductions that would result from future vehicle purchases.

The Find a Car tool allows users to search for a vehicle by comparing fuel efficiency, annual fuel costs, greenhouse gas emissions, and more. It includes vehicle models dating from the current year all the way back to 1984.

All of Clean Cities' online tools are listed in one convenient, central location on the Alternative Fuels Data Center. In addition to those listed above, you'll also find the Alternative Fueling Station Locator, BioFuels Atlas, the Light-Duty Vehicle Search, the Vehicle Cost Calculator, and the Laws and Incentives Search.

Many of Clean Cities' tools are available as widgets so you can feature them on your own website. And to explore petroleum-saving strategies on your handheld device, see Clean Cities' mobile tools.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Clean Skies Bulletin

American Clean Skies Foundation offers The Clean Skies Bulletin. This issue focuses on advancing cleaner transportation.

High gasoline prices and the need for natural gas

From T. Boone Pickens:
If you have a vehicle, you've seen what's happening to gasoline prices. They're going up, and in a hurry. As you may have seen on CNBC on July 22, average national prices rose 12 cents in the past week alone.

Take a look at this video and you'll have a better idea of why it's happening. And what the solution is.

We need to introduce competition to bring down prices and break the hold of OPEC oil, and we have the domestic fuel to do just that: Natural Gas. Watch this video and send it along to your friends and elected representatives.

Monday, July 22, 2013

NGV Today

Go here to subscribe or get a complementary issue of NGV Today. "Whether you are a natural gas producer, fuel service vendor, fueling station developer, vehicle and component manufacturer, NGV converter, fleet operator, natural gas utilities, with government or a Clean Cities coalition, you’ll find NGV Today a must read for breaking news, of-the-moment trends and a wealth of compelling data."

100,000 Plug-in Electric Vehicles

Clean Cities Top 20 Fact #4:
In May of this year, cumulative sales of commercially available plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) in the United States surpassed the 100,000 mark. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has been tracking PEV sales, including those of all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, since 2010. What was once a trickle has now gained significant momentum, as no fewer than 10 original equipment manufacturers are selling in volumes of a few dozen to thousands of vehicles per month.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Question Of The Month

Question of the Month: What are the key terms to know when discussing natural gas vehicles (NGVs) and their fueling infrastructure?

Answer: As with all alternative fuels, it is important to know how to "talk the talk" when it comes to natural gas. Becoming familiar with the terms below will help you better understand NGVs and the associated fueling infrastructure, so that you can ask the right questions and make informed decisions:

Fuel Types
  • Compressed Natural Gas (CNG): CNG is one of two forms of natural gas used to power vehicles. CNG is a gaseous fuel stored in a cylinder on the vehicle at a high pressure (see "psi" below). It may be kept in the vehicle cylinder for long periods of time without venting. A CNG vehicle gets about the same fuel economy as a conventional gasoline vehicle on a gasoline gallon equivalent basis (see "GGE" below). CNG is used in light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicle applications.
  • Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG): LNG is produced by super-cooling natural gas to negative 260°F in order to convert it to a liquid. The fuel is stored in a double-walled, vacuum-sealed pressure vessel. LNG is appropriate for trucks and other heavy-duty applications that require a long range because liquid is more dense than gas (CNG) and more energy can be stored by volume in the vehicle's tank. LNG stored in a vehicle will increase in temperature and pressure over time and vent; therefore, LNG should be used within a week or two of fueling.
  • Renewable Natural Gas (RNG): Also known as biogas or biomethane, this emerging fuel source is derived from decaying organic materials, such as waste from plants, landfills, wastewater, and livestock. After purification, RNG may be compressed or liquefied to fuel vehicles.

Vehicle Types
  • Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV): There are three different types of NGVs available:
    • Dedicated Vehicle: Dedicated vehicles are designed to run only on natural gas and are used in both light-duty and heavy-duty applications. In general, dedicated NGVs demonstrate better performance and have lower emissions than bi-fuel vehicles (see below).
    • Bi-fuel Vehicle: These vehicles are able to run on either natural gas or gasoline because they have two separate fueling systems. Bi-fuel vehicles are typically light-duty models.
    • Dual-fuel Vehicle: These vehicles are traditionally used in heavy-duty applications and have fuel systems that run on natural gas, but use diesel fuel for ignition.

Fuel Measurement and Characteristics
  • CNG and LNG may be measured in:
    • Gasoline Gallon Equivalents (GGE): A unit of measure that represents the quantity of fuel that contains the same amount of energy as one gallon of gasoline. Measuring fuel in GGEs is a good way of comparing natural gas to gasoline, particularly when looking at fuel price or range. A GGE is equal to about 5.66 pounds of CNG and 1.55 gallons of LNG.
    • Diesel Gallon Equivalent (DGE): A unit of measure that represents the quantity of fuel that contains the same amount of energy as one gallon of diesel. A GGE is equal to about 6.34 pounds of CNG and 1.72 gallons of LNG.
  • CNG is also measured in:
    • Cubic feet (ft3): CNG is a gas, so it may be measured by volume. MCF represents 1,000 cubic feet.
    • Pounds (lbs.): CNG may also be measured in mass. Approximately 21 cubic feet of CNG equals one pound.
  • LNG is also measured in gallons, much like gasoline or diesel.
  • Pounds per Square Inch (psi): Psi is a measurement of the CNG pressure when it is stored in a dispenser or vehicle cylinder. CNG is typically stored onboard a vehicle at a pressure of 3,000 to 3,600 psi. The vehicle psi rating is important because it indicates the psi that the fuel system, vehicle cylinder, and the safety hardware are capable of handling safely.

Station Components
  • CNG stations have the following components:
    • Compressor: The device used to compress CNG to a high pressure.
    • Storage Tank: Once the gas is compressed, the CNG is moved to storage vessel(s) or tank(s) specially designed for the fuel.
    • Temperature Compensation: The temperature of CNG is important because it affects the density and energy per unit volume of the fuel. At higher temperatures, CNG expands and becomes less dense, causing it to contain less energy per unit volume as it would at a lower temperature. The temperature compensation devices ensure that the CNG is delivered to the vehicle at the appropriate temperature.
    • Dispenser: The device used to transfer CNG into a vehicle's tank. A CNG typically dispenser displays the pressure and temperature at which the tank is being filled and then calculates the amount of fuel being delivered.
  • LNG stations also have storage tanks and dispensers, but do not require a compressor or temperature compensation devices.

CNG Infrastructure Types
  • The following are two different types of CNG infrastructure:
    • Fast-fill: Drivers fueling their vehicles at a fast-fill station can fill up in approximately the same amount of time as a conventional vehicle at a gasoline or diesel station. This set-up is best suited for retail stations, where vehicles arrive in need of a quick fill, and CNG can be dispensed alongside gasoline or other fuel dispensers. Fast-fill stations receive low-pressure fuel from the local utility line and employ a compressor on site. Once compressed, the CNG is stored at high pressures so it can be delivered quickly to a vehicle. As such, fast-fill stations may have smaller compressors but a larger storage capacity than time-fill stations.
    • Time-fill: At a time-fill station, a vehicle may take several minutes to many hours to fill up; the time depends on the number of vehicles fueling, compressor size, and storage. Time-fill stations are typically used for fleets with central refueling locations or private stations that allow vehicles to fill up overnight. Time-fill stations can also work for smaller applications, such as residential fueling infrastructure. The fuel is also drawn from a local utility line into a compressor on site. Time-fill stations may have larger compressors and the vehicles are generally filled directly from the compressor, not from fuel stored in tanks. Time-fill stations have an advantage over fast-fill stations in that their heat of recompression is less so that vehicles at these stations usually get a fuller tank of fuel than with fast-fill.

Additional information on natural gas production and distribution, NGVs, and natural gas infrastructure can be found on the Alternative Fuel Data Center website. The NGVAmerica website also provides a wealth of information on natural gas and NGVs.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Spotlight On Ethanol

#3 from the Clean Cities Blog is "Spotlight on Ethanol". This is third in a series of 20 Clean Cities Updates on the DOE Clean Cities Blog as part of the Clean Cities 20th Year Celebration. Here in the Coachella Valley we don’t have any public E-85 Dispensers that we are aware of. Checking the Clean Cities Alternative Fuels Data Center shows the closest public fueling station is the Oak Valley Chevron-Pearson Fuels in Beaumont (886 Oak Valley Pkwy; Beaumont CA 92223) and at the ARCO AM/PM-Pearson Fuels in Salton City (2084 S Marina Dr; Salton City, CA 92275). Here is the link for E85 fueling stations in our area.

The Editor

Friday, July 12, 2013

GNV Magazine: natural gas is in a stage of wealth

GNV Magazine reports on Shell Global's position on natural gas.
In a context that requires a clean and efficient fuel, natural gas could play an important role in meeting the growing needs of transport in the world, says Shell Global.

In a study on the future of fuel, the oil company ensures that natural gas is in a stage of wealth due to the exploitation of unconventional resources.

According to the analysis posted on its website, this fuel offers the ability to move ships, trucks, buses and airplanes.

Shell notes that in Europe, and with new environmental regulations in North America, is required transport operators to reduce local emissions, so that the liquefied natural gas (LNG) becomes the ideal fuel to be free of sulfur and particulate.

Regarding the use of natural gas in road transport, Shell says that this fuel has the potential to offer significant savings in fuel costs compared to conventional diesel. It also stresses that as in the case of ships, can help reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) from production to use, compared to conventional diesel and biodiesel in new engines.

Given this potential of natural gas, Shell focuses on the heavy transport sector in Canada and the United States, so that works to supply this fuel along a truck route in Alberta.

Here's Shell Global's web page on natural gas.
Natural gas offers an affordable and environmentally acceptable option to power people’s lives today. It will also help to meet the world’s rising demand for more, cleaner energy into the future. Shell is using advanced technology to open up new resources of natural gas. Cooling gas to liquid allows us to ship it to faraway markets and we are moving ahead to build the world’s first giant floating facility to turn gas to liquid. In Qatar, we have constructed the world’s largest plant to turn natural gas into liquid products.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

CNG Cylinder Inspection Training, August 19-20

The dates for the next training will be August 19 & 20, 2013. All other information below is unchanged.
CNG Cylinder Inspection Training

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pickens Plan 5th Anniversary


This week marks the fifth anniversary of the announcement of the Pickens Plan. When we began, no one was talking about energy. Now, every Governor and Senator and nearly every Member of Congress is discussing energy.

I want to share with you a video celebrating all we have accomplished together as well as an op-ed I wrote that ran in today's Dallas Morning News.

For the first time in more than 40 years, America is not playing defense in the energy field. Our vast resources of natural gas from shale and our ability to recover oil more efficiently and safely have turned the United States from having to worry about where our next imported tankful of gasoline or diesel was coming from to serious discussions about the status of exporting natural gas.

But we are not finished. We are making great gains at the state level to remove outdated taxes and regulations that allow a growing number of shippers to move their over-the-road trucks from imported diesel to domestic natural gas.

I will not rest until the last barrel of Middle Eastern oil has passed through the Strait of Hormuz on its way to the United States. We can get on our own resources for transportation. We can let the Chinese pay to protect their Middle Eastern oil. We can continue to grow our economy - and the economies of our two largest trading partners, Mexico and Canada. We can provide good, permanent jobs to more Americans. And we can clean up our environment by continuing to push our state and federal leaders to take the simple measures necessary to focus on domestic natural gas.

Thank you for your continued support. It would not have been possible - and I am not saying that lightly - without the support of members of the Pickens Plan Army like you. Let's keep the pressure on our elected officials to do the right thing and kick our addition to OPEC oil.

Here's to another five years!


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Clean Cities Hall of Fame Reaches 14 Inductees

This is #2 of Clean Cities Top 20 Facts.

During the Clean Cities 20th anniversary event on June 24, the U.S. Department of Energy recognized two Clean Cities coordinators for their valuable contributions to the deployment of alternative fuels and advanced vehicles: Yvonne Anderson and Rita Ebert.

Go here to see the 20 year history of Clean Cities.

Natural Gas Vehicles-The Clean Transportation Alternative

From Southern California Gas Company:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New 12-Liter Engine Will Boost Sales Of NG Trucks

Transport Topics reports that significantly higher sales of natural gas-powered trucks are expected. "They projected sales of natural gas-powered Class 8 vehicles would rise to about 4% of the total this year and 10% by 2016. That compares with almost 2% last year." Comments on the subject were made during a panel discussion at the Alternative Clean Transportation Expo last week.
  • Kenworth Trucks: "Natural gas is now a mature market." "We're rockin' and rollin,'"
  • Cummins Westport said thousands of the 12-liter engines will be sold this year.
  • DTNA: "by 2020, the heavy-duty natural-gas market share could range between 10% and 25%."
  • Peterbilt has 2,000 orders for natural gas trucks; 30% have specified the 12-liter engine.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Clean Cities Blog

The Clean Cities Blog began in October 2012. The Clean Cities Blog helps Clean Cities coordinators and stakeholders access information about alternative transportation topics that affect their coalitions around the United States.

This blog supports the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities program.

Learn about the Clean Cities blog policy.

20 Years On the Road to Energy Independence

This is the 20-year anniversary of Clean Cities. In those 20 years, the program's cumulative petroleum savings surpassed 5 billion gallons.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Momentum For Natural Gas This Week

This week, in a speech devoted to climate change, President Barack Obama underscored - again - the benefits of natural gas as a heavy duty truck transportation fuel. (View the speech here on C-SPAN.) It's cleaner than imported diesel. That has long been the cornerstone of the Pickens Plan.

National Journal recently hosted a conversation about the future of natural gas in America and the opportunity we have for reducing our dependence on OPEC oil through this cleaner burning, abundantly available American resource.

Watch this video for highlights from the panel featuring Andrew Littlefair, CEO and Chairman of Clean Energy Fuels, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Representative John Larson (D-CT), and former Governor Bill Graves, President and CEO of the American Trucking Association.

After you've watched the video, share your thoughts via Twitter @BoonePickens and @PickensPlan or at

P.S. This week's Western Governors' Association annual meeting in Park City, Utah will be streamed live online featuring speeches on Friday by T. Boone Pickens and new Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell. Click here for more information about when and how to tune in.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fracking Forum At UCLA, July 25, 2013

The Union of Concerned Scientists and The Center for Science and Democracy will hold a forum on fracking on the campus of UCLA on July 25, 2013, from 2 PM to 5 PM.
This event will be a unique opportunity to join leading thinkers and key stakeholders for a dynamic discussion about the state of the science around hydraulic fracturing, the state and federal policy landscape, and what citizens and policy makers need to know to make informed decisions on oil and gas fracking.

There is no mention of any charge to attend this forum. There will also be a webcast. Register here for either the webcast or live attendance.

Click here the complete program for the forum, with subjects and speakers. The subjects:
  • Why Here and Now: Understanding how the best available science can help inform public’s discussions and decisions on fracking
  • “The Curious Case of Fracking—Questions from the road”: A Video Screening
  • Assessing the state of existing science and identifying key knowledge gaps to be addressed
  • Global energy security, economics, and geopolitics of Fracking
  • Strengths and weaknesses of the current regulatory landscape, and the role for science in the decision-making process
  • California in the context of the national debate over fracking
  • Improving access to information for citizens and policymakers and working together to advance informed decision making
  • Who Has a Say?: Where science and social justice meet and the public power to decide
  • In Everyone’s Backyard: the fight for information in the high-stakes shale gas debate

Monday, June 24, 2013

WSJ Summary Of The Natural Gas Market

In this MoneyBeat article James Herron discusses natural gas growth in Europe (where it competes with cheap U.S. coal), the effect on Russian natural gas exports, and plans to increase shale gas production around the world.

Political Battle Over Fracking Creates New Bedfellows

An analysis published in The Desert Sun on the alliance between labor unions and Republican business entrepreneurs to defeat a fracking moratorium bill in the California Assembly. The Democrats who voted with Republicans represent central California, where unemployment stand at 12%.

Suggestions For The Success Of The CV Link

Using the report Unraveling Ties To Petroleum: How Policy Drives California's
Demand For Oil
produced by Next 10 as a starting point, K Kaufman, energy reporter for The Desert Sun, offers her suggestions for the CV Link, the bikeway to be construction along the Whitewater River channel through the Coachella Valley. These include…
  • The valley will need a comprehensive network of bike lanes and town walking paths to get people from their neighborhoods to the parkway.
  • The valley should also plan for a bike-share program, similar to those that are gaining popularity across the country.
  • The valley needs better public transportation, which may mean thinking beyond SunLine Transit Agency; specifically, she mentions jitneys.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Alternative Fuel Buyers Guide For Ford's Commercial Vehicles

From Ford, download it here (20-page PDF, 2.5 MB).

June's Question Of The Month

Question of the Month: What are the requirements for state and alternative fuel provider fleets under the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct 1992) and subsequent regulations and directives?


EPAct 1992 mandates that certain state government and alternative fuel provider fleets in the United States acquire specified percentages of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) on an annual basis as they add light-duty vehicles (LDVs) to their fleets. Below we have described a number of means beyond simply acquiring AFVs by which these fleets may achieve compliance.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is responsible for overseeing compliance with these requirements, which were promulgated and published at 10 CFR Part 490 as the Alternative Fuel Transportation Program. Information about state and alternative fuel provider "covered fleets" (fleets subject to EPAct 1992 requirements) and the requirements associated with this compliance program are outlined below for each fleet type.

State Fleets
Covered Fleets
State government (including state agency and state university) fleets are considered covered fleets if all of the following conditions are met:
  • They own, operate, lease, or otherwise control 50 or more light-duty vehicles (LDVs; vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 8,500 pounds or less) within the United States and are not on the list of excluded vehicles. Excluded vehicles include emergency, law enforcement, and non-road vehicles;
  • At least 20 of those vehicles are used primarily within a single metropolitan statistical area (MSA)/consolidated MSA (CMSA), based on 1980 census data. A list of covered MSA/CMSAs can be found online; and
  • Those same 20 vehicles are centrally fueled or capable of being centrally fueled, meaning they are capable of being fueled at least 75% of the time at a location that is owned, operated, or controlled by the fleet or is under contract with that fleet for fueling purposes.

The following resources may be used to determine whether a state fleet is covered:
Like federal fleets regulated under EPAct 1992, a covered state fleet must acquire in a model year the number of AFVs that is equal to at least 75% of the fleet's non-excluded LDV acquisitions.

Compliance Methods
Covered state fleets may meet their requirements using multiple means through one of two compliance methods:
  • Standard Compliance: Fleets can acquire the requisite number of new or used AFVs, convert conventional vehicles to run on an alternative fuel within four months of acquisition, or obtain AFV credits from other covered fleets. Covered fleets earn one credit for each light-duty AFV that is acquired beyond the fleet's annual requirement for the model year. Credits earned by going beyond compliance are banked for future use. Credits may also be traded with other fleets. Covered fleets may also meet up to 50% of their AFV-acquisition requirements by purchasing biodiesel blends of at least B20 for use in medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. One credit toward compliance is earned for every 450 gallons of neat biodiesel (B100) or every 2,250 gallons of B20 purchased for use. Credits earned for biodiesel purchase for use may not be banked. In addition, a fleet may earn credits for its medium- and heavy-duty AFV acquisitions, but only after the fleet has met its light-duty AFV acquisition requirements.
  • Alternative Compliance: Covered fleets may obtain a waiver from the AFV acquisition requirements of Standard Compliance by submitting and then implementing a DOE- approved plan to reduce the fleet's annual petroleum consumption. The plan must result in petroleum reductions equal to what the fleet would have achieved if all its AFVs were running on alternative fuel all the time. The plan must also include a sufficient level of data and information to support the fleet's compliance requirements, particularly information on fuel use. Alternative Compliance petroleum reduction methods include, among others, hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) use, alternative fuel use, reduction in vehicle miles traveled, idle-time reduction, and truck stop electrification.

For a summary of compliance methods, visit this website.

Inclusion of Hybrid Electric and Plug-in Electric Vehicles
Currently, all-electric vehicles (EVs) and some plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) qualify as AFVs under Standard Compliance. DOE published a notice of proposed rulemaking in October 2011, pursuant to Section 133 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, that would allocate AFV credits for covered fleet acquisitions of the following vehicles:
  • HEVs would receive one-half credit
  • PHEVs (those that do not already meet the definition of an AFV) would receive one-half credit
  • Fuel cell electric vehicles (those that do not already meet the definition of an AFV) would receive one-half credit
  • Neighborhood electric vehicles would receive one-fourth credit

For more information on this proposed rulemaking, please see this proposed rule fact sheet and the full notice.

Alternative Fuel Provider Fleets
Covered Fleets
A covered alternative fuel provider is any entity that meets one of the following conditions:
  • The entity's principle business involves producing, storing, refining, processing, transporting, distributing, importing, or selling any alternative fuel (other than electricity);
  • The entity's principle business involves generating, transmitting, importing, or selling electricity at wholesale or retail; or
  • The entity produces, imports, or produces and imports in combination, an average of 50,000 barrels per day or more of petroleum, and 30% or more of its gross annual revenues are derived from producing alternative fuels.

An alternative fuel provider is not covered if its principal business involves:
  • Transforming alternative fuels into products that are not alternative fuels; or
  • Using alternative fuel as a feedstock, or fuel, in the manufacturing of products that are not alternative fuels.

In addition to meeting this definition, alternative fuel provider fleets are also subject to the same conditions for inclusion as state fleets (see above). For example, if a fleet does not own, operate, lease, or otherwise control at least 50 non-excluded LDVs, then it is not considered a covered fleet.

The Decision Tree for Alternative Fuel Provider Fleets may be used to determine whether an alternative fuel provider fleet is covered.

A covered alternative fuel provider fleet must acquire in a model year the number of AFVs that is equal to at least 90% of the fleet's non-excluded LDV acquisitions.

Compliance Methods
Covered alternative fuel provider fleets have the same options for achieving compliance as state fleets.

Additional information on state and alternative fuel provider requirements and compliance options, as well the annual reporting requirements, may be found on DOE's EPAct Transportation Regulatory Activities website. In addition, the online Clean Cities University course on Understanding EPAct-Regulated Fleets provides an overview of state and alternative fuel provider requirements.

Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team