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