Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Webinar on AFDC Tools and Resources Updates

This webinar on AFDC Tools and Resources Updates was presented on September 25, 2014, by Andrew Hudgins and Trish Cozart, National Renewable Energy Laboratory; and Alexis Schayowitz and Stacy Noblet, ICF International.

Federal Plug-in Electric Vehicle Tax Credit Phase-out

Question of the Month: How does the federal plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) tax credit phase-out work, and has it begun for any vehicle manufacturers? What is the status of other federal alternative fuel tax credits?

Answer: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Qualified Plug-In Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Tax Credit begins to phase out for a manufacturer when at least 200,000 qualifying vehicles produced by that manufacturer have been sold for use in the United States, based on sales after December 31, 2009. Many of the other federal tax credits, such as the Alternative Fuels Excise Tax Credit and the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit, expired at the end of 2013 and have not been extended or renewed. Additional tax credits have or will expire this year.

Federal PEV Tax Credit Phase-Out
Each manufacturer must report quarterly to the IRS on their vehicle sales. According to the IRS Plug-In Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Credit Quarterly Sales page, no manufacturers have reached the 200,000 cumulative PEV sales mark. This means all qualified vehicles are still eligible for their full credit amounts.

The phase-out period stretches over one year, beginning in the second calendar quarter after the quarter in which the manufacturer hits the 200,000 vehicle sales mark. From there, all qualifying vehicles sold by the manufacturer are eligible for 50% of their specified credit for the first two quarters and 25% of the credit for the next two quarters. For example if a manufacturer sells its 200,000th vehicle in the first quarter (Q1) of 2015, the credit amounts for all of that manufacturer’s eligible vehicles would phase out as shown in the table below.

Q1 2015Full amount
Q2 2015Full amount
Q3 201550% of full amount
Q4 201550% of full amount
Q1 201625% of full amount
Q2 201625% of full amount
Q3 2016No credit

Also see the phase-out example on

Below are some other helpful facts about the federal PEV tax credit:
  • Tax credit amounts range from $2,500 to $7,500 based on the vehicle’s battery capacity and weight. Details can be found on the IRS Qualified Vehicles page.
  • To file for the credit, you must complete IRS form 8936 and attach it to your federal tax return.
  • To qualify for the credit, you must own the vehicle. This means that if you lease a vehicle, you are not eligible. That said, the lessor may decide to pass the discount along to you.
  • Only new vehicles are eligible; the vehicle may not have been titled before.

For more information, see the Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicle Credit page.

Other Federal Tax Credits
Several tax credits expired after December 31, 2013, including:
  • Alternative Fuel and Alternative Fuel Mixture Excise Tax Credits
  • Biodiesel Income Tax Credit and Biodiesel Mixture Excise Tax Credit
  • Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit
  • Qualified Two- or Three-wheeled Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Tax Credit

Even more recently, both the Hydrogen Fuel Excise Tax Credit and the Hydrogen Fuel Mixture Excise Tax Credit expired as of September 30, 2014. The Fuel Cell Motor Vehicle Tax Credit and Hydrogen Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit are set to expire on December 31, 2014.

There have been several bills introduced to extend these tax credits during the 113th Congress. For example, the EXPIRE Act of 2014 (S. 2260;) proposed to extend the tax credits for 2- or 3-wheeled plug-in electric vehicles, biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel mixtures, alternative fuels, hydrogen, fuel cell vehicles, and alternative fuel infrastructure through 2015. However, none of the bills have been enacted as of October 2014.

For more information on federal incentives for alternative fuels and vehicles, see the following websites:
Finally, please note that the Technical Response Service recommends consulting a qualified tax professional or the IRS before making any tax-related decisions.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

One Billion Gallons Saved

Clean Cities Coachella Valley would like to share the Clean Cities programs accomplishments - a shared effort by the more than 100 Clean Cities Coalitions across America.
  • Specific accomplishments
    • In 2013, Clean Cities and its stakeholders avoided the use of 1 billion gallons of petroleum in a single year for the first time ever.
    • Clean Cities efforts in 2013 also helped prevent the production of 7.5 million tons of greenhouse gases, the equivalent of removing more than 1.5 million cars from U.S. roads.
    • In 2013, Clean Cities reported a total inventory of 475,000 alternative fuel vehicles that that coalitions and their stakeholders helped bring to the road.
    • The program is actually ahead of schedule to meet its goal of achieving 2.5 billion gallons annually by 2020.

  • Context
    • From 15 million gallons in its first year to a cumulative nearly 6.5 billion now, Clean Cities is helping shift transportation away from petroleum one fleet, community, and vehicle at a time.
    • None of this could be possible without the endless hard work of the nearly 100 Clean Cities coalitions across the country and the 14,000 stakeholders they work with.
    • Coordinators spent more than 130,000 hours pursuing Clean Cities goals in 2013. They conducted more than 2,000 outreach, education, and training activities that reached about 120 million people.
    • The coalitions’ local knowledge combined with the objective, reliable technical expertise of the Energy Department and its national laboratories make Clean Cities unique in its ability to incite change.
Get all the facts here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Friday, October 3, 2014

Redesigning Society From Scratch

TEDxSoCal - Josh Tickell:

Growing up amongst the oil refineries in Louisiana, Josh Tickell experienced the impacts of dirty oil processing at a young age. After watching members of his family suffer from pollution related cancers, Tickell began a lifelong quest to find sustainable, clean energy sources.

In 1997, Tickell set out on the road with a biodiesel powered "Veggie Van" and a video camera to begin filming what would eventually become known as FUEL, the 2008 Sundance Audience Award winning documentary film that investigates the possible replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy. Over the course of his 11 year journey, Tickell traveled the world going to over 25 countries, authored two books, founded a nonprofit organization, and jumpstarted America's biodiesel movement.

Tickell's Veggie Van Organization was selected by President Bill Clinton as an inaugural part of his Global Initiative on Climate Change. The organization serves to educate people about sustainable energy and provide pathways for integrating sustainable energy into homes, communities, cities, states and ultimately nations.

He holds an undergraduate degree in Sustainable Living from the New College of South Florida and an MFA in Film from FSU's School of Motion Picture Television and Recording Arts.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 88%

Joanna D. Underwood writes about Renewable Natural Gas which is produced by capturing biogases.
If we leave fossil fuel deposits in the ground, their hydrocarbons stay in the ground. But if we leave our organic wastes alone and don’t refine them into fuel, they release their hydrocarbons into the atmosphere anyway as they break down. Every day, in urban and rural landscapes across the U.S., over 78 million tons of food and yard wastes are thrown out by homes and businesses, plus much more organic waste from food processing plants, supermarkets, farms, sewage, etc., are decomposing and emitting GHG without producing usable energy.
Every fleet converted from diesel to RNG would cut its GHG emissions by 88 percent or higher. This exceeds U.S. goals of a 20 percent reduction by 2020 and and 80 percent reduction by 2050, as well as even tougher goals recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). RNG would cost about a third of diesel, and create tens of thousands of sustainable, place-based, unexportable jobs.