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Volkswagen Settlement – Florida Mitigation Fund Update

April 3, 2018 by Clean Cities

Public Informational Meetings

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced a series of public informational meetings to which all persons are invited, and the opening of a 60-day period for all persons to complete an online public survey, the results of which the Department will use in developing Florida’s State Beneficiary Mitigation Plan under the Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Environmental Mitigation Trust. The meetings were held in Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Orlando, Temple Terrace (Tampa), and West Palm Beach.

For individuals who were unable to attend an in-person meeting, the Department will host two webinars on which identical information will be presented to attendees. The Department will announce these dates and times for those webinars in a future notice. All presentation materials used at the in-person meeting and webinar will be posted in the coming weeks. Individuals interested in submitting general comments on Florida’s approach to developing the State Beneficiary Mitigation Plan may also e-mail those comments to VWMitigation@FloridaDEP.gov. The Department is not soliciting funding requests or proposals for any specific diesel emissions mitigation project.

Diesel Emissions Mitigation Program Public Survey

Thank you in advance for your feedback. This survey should take between 5 and 10 minutes to complete.

http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/4147366/Diesel-Emissions-Mitigation-Program-Public-Survey

 

Summary of Alternative Fuel Tax Credit Extensions the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (H.R. 1892)

February 12, 2018 by Clean Cities

On Friday, February 9, President Trump signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (H.R. 1892). Division D of the Act retroactively extends many tax credits.

There are several Bipartisan Budget Act provisions with implications for Clean Cities portfolio items:

  • Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit. Section 40404 extends the tax credit for alternative fuel infrastructure through December 31, 2017. Fueling equipment for natural gas, propane, liquefied hydrogen, electricity, E85, and biodiesel are eligible for a tax credit of 30%, up to $30,000. Residential fueling equipment may receive a tax credit up to $1,000.
  • Alternative Fuel Excise Tax Credit. Section 40415 extends the $0.50 per gallon tax credit for alternative fuels, including liquefied hydrogen, through December 31, 2017.
  • Alternative Fuel Mixture Excise Tax Credit. Section 40415 also extends the $0.50 per gallon tax credit for alternative fuel used to produce a mixture containing at least 0.1% gasoline, diesel, or kerosene through December 31, 2017. Alternative fuel blenders must be registered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) will issue guidance for how to submit claims for this credit by March 11, 2018.
  • Biodiesel Income Tax Credit. Section 40407 extends the biodiesel income tax credit through December 31, 2017. A taxpayer that delivers unblended biodiesel (B100) into the tank of a vehicle may be eligible for a $1.00 per gallon of biodiesel, agri-biodiesel, or renewable diesel tax credit.
  • Biodiesel Mixture Excise Tax Credit. Section 40407 also extends the $0.50 per gallon tax credit for biodiesel, agri-biodiesel, or renewable diesel used to produce a mixture containing at least 0.1% gasoline, diesel, or kerosene through December 31, 2017. Alternative fuel blenders must be registered with the IRS. Treasury will issue guidance for how to submit claims for this credit by March 11, 2018.
  • Fuel Cell Motor Vehicle Tax Credit. Section 40403 extends the $4,000 tax credit for the purchase of qualified light-duty fuel cell vehicles through December 31, 2017.
  • Qualified Two-Wheeled Plug-In Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Tax Credit. Section 40405 extends the two-wheeled plug-in electric drive motor vehicle tax credit through December 31, 2017. Qualified vehicles are eligible for a tax credit of 10% of the cost of the vehicle, up to $2,500.
  • Second Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credit. Section 40406 extends the tax credit for second generation biofuel producers through December 31, 2017. Second generation biofuel producers registered with the IRS may be eligible for a $1.01 per gallon of biodiesel tax credit.
  • Second Generation Biofuel Production Property Depreciation Allowance. Section 40412 extends the 50% special depreciation allowance for second generation biofuel production plants through December 31, 2017.

The changes outlined above are effective immediately. To view the full text of the Bipartisan Budget Act, visit https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-115hr1892enr/pdf/BILLS-115hr1892enr.pdf. See the Alternative Fuels Data Center Federal Laws and Incentives page for descriptions of each incentive.

Fleets for the Future: Alternative Fuel Vehicle Procurement Best Practices

February 5, 2018 by Clean Cities

The Fleets for the Future team has put together four best practice guides to help fleets prepare to successfully deploy alternative fuel vehicles. These best practices build upon both the extensive information provided by the U.S. DOE and a number of recent successful case studies. The specific goal of these best practice guides is to educate procurement officers, fleet managers, and other interested stakeholders to plan for a large scale deployment of AFVs.

STAY TUNED: Fleets for the Future plans to highlight alternative fuel school buses and refuse haulers in early 2018. Contact us with any questions or information on your fleet needs!

  • Gaseous Fuel Vehicle Procurement Best Practices Guide
    This guide briefly summarizes the basic attributes and benefits of both gaseous-fuels and their respective vehicle technologies, then explores best applications and why, highlighting the relationship between upfront premiums, fuel use, and vehicle maintenance to total cost of ownership (TCO). The guide also provides information about fueling infrastructure options and offers planning guidance. Finally, it reviews steps that lead organizations will need to undertake to build a successful cooperative purchasing initiative.
  • Electric Vehicle Procurement Best Practices Guide
    This guide is meant to help fleets and regionally-based buying cooperatives in understanding the benefits of deploying electric vehicles (EVs), as well as EV-specific considerations involved in the procurement process. Topics below cover both battery electric vehicles (BEV), which run solely on electricity as well as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), which use batteries to power an electric motor and use another fuel, such as gasoline, diesel, or fuel cells, to power an internal combustion engine.
  • Guide to Financing Alternative Fuel Vehicle Procurement
    This document lays out the common strategies available for public and private fleets attempting to finance an investment in alternative fuel vehicles. While not all options are available to all fleets, the intent is to educate fleet managers on the best practices and challenges associated with implementation of each strategy.
  • Fleet Transition Planning for Alternative Fuel Vehicles
    This document presents general fuel-neutral guidelines on planning a coordinated bulk procurement of AFVs. It discusses stakeholder engagement efforts, goal setting, prioritization of vehicle procurements, and planning for implementation of a successful procurement.

Plug-In Perks From Drive Electric Orlando

February 5, 2018 by Clean Cities

Drive Electric Orlando is a groundbreaking partnership between Enterprise Car Rental, hotels, and tourist attractions designed to offer vacationers and business travelers an exciting and convenient opportunity to use an eco-friendly car during their next trip.

Your trip to Orlando was always going to be great. But because you rented a Chevy Volt, you also scored a Plug-In Perks Pass for a VIP experience!

For more information, please visit http://pluginperks.com/plug-in-perks/

Volkswagen Settlement – Florida Mitigation Fund

February 5, 2018 by Clean Cities

On January 30, 2018, the Trustee for the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Agreement for State Beneficiaries, Wilmington Trust, N.A., notified the Florida Department of Environmental Protection that Florida has been designated as a beneficiary under the Trust Agreement.

Please visit the Department’s website https://floridadep.gov/air/air-director/content/volkswagen-settlement-florida-mitigation-fund for additional details regarding the Volkswagen Settlement – Florida Mitigation Fund.

In coming weeks, the Department will begin seeking public input into the development of Florida’s State Beneficiary Mitigation Plan through an online survey. Once this survey is available, an announcement will be distributed via e-mail to subscribers to the Department’s Volkswagen Diesel Mitigation Program mailing list.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Emergency Preparedness

October 9, 2017 by Clean Cities

MotorWeek has produced an expanded segment on AFVs and emergency preparedness, titled Emergency Alternatives, that will start airing on PBS stations nationwide on October 14, 2017.

For showtimes in your area, check the MotorWeek and Discovery Channel websites. MotorWeek is also available in high definition on Velocity by Discovery.

 

5 Ways Alternative Fuels Aid Response to Hurricanes and Natural Disasters

September 20, 2017 by Clean Cities

Back-to-back hurricanes Harvey and Irma devastated parts of Houston and Florida and left millions of residents in the dark. The long lines and “out of fuel” gas station signs are reminders that most of the transportation sector still relies on gasoline and diesel. However, in a number of cities and states, alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) are playing a big role in responding to natural disasters and improving emergency preparedness.

Take a look at these five examples:

1. Hurricane Harvey temporarily knocked out nearly 30% of the nation’s refining capacity. While refineries worked to recover from the storm, compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in the area were able to remain up and running. Natural gas is supplied by underground pipelines so stations can operate without a hitch throughout an emergency. Many natural gas fueling stations also come equipped with emergency natural gas-fired generators that can keep the stations running during a blackout.

2. Atlantic City, New Jersey relied on its fleet of 190 CNG buses to shuttle residents to safety when Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012. While other fleets struggled with fuel shortages these shuttles were able to stay moving during and after the storm thanks to uninterrupted CNG supply.

3. Flexibility is also important for vehicles servicing critical infrastructure needs. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has a fleet of bi-fuel (gasoline and natural gas) Ford F350 pickup trucks that operate at key airports, tunnels, and bridges. Being able to run on either fuel provides fueling flexibility, as well as extended range during normal operations.

4. AFVs can also help with recovery. New Richmond, Wisconsin sent a hybrid-electric utility bucket truck as part of a mutual aid mission to help with Hurricane Sandy cleanup. These vehicles operate on battery power when stationary and allow crews to fix power lines. The battery power eliminates engine idling and saves fuel at the same time. Some companies also use biodiesel and have reserve tanks in case of emergency—this helps stretch supplies of regular diesel even further.

5. Diverse fueling options also help reduce recovery time after a disaster. Following Hurricane Sandy, Eastern Propane was able to keep their fleet of propane-powered trucks running, delivering propane to the surrounding community and helping clear tree limbs and branches along the way. In Long Island, utility operators National Grid and Long Island Power Authority used their CNG cars and trucks for infrastructure repairs and cleanup.
Alternative Fuel and Advanced Technology Vehicles Aid in Emergency Recovery Efforts

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) supports a balanced portfolio of early-stage research and works directly with its nationwide network of Clean Cities Coalitions to enable widespread use of alternative fuels and energy efficient mobility technologies that enhance energy affordability, reliability, and resilience and strengthen U.S. energy security. Learn more about VTO’s Initiative for Resiliency in Energy through Vehicles project.

Courtesy of energy.gov

They’re Here! Station Locator Android App and Mobile Trip Calculator

June 21, 2017 by Clean Cities

What’s new for Clean Cities mobile tools and resources?  Two new mobile tools have recently become available:

  • Station Locator app for Android: Android users can now access the Station Locator app through the Google Play store. As with the original iPhone app version, users can access the Station Locator from their mobile device and find the 20 closest stations within a 30-mile radius. Results display either on a map or in a list with station addresses, phone numbers, and hours of operation. Also available for iPhone from the iTunes store.
  • Trip Calculator mobile page: FuelEconomy.gov recently launched a mobile web page version of their popular Trip Calculator tool. This page allows users to easily calculate fuel economy for a trip while on the go.

Other Mobile Resources

  • AFDC Station Locator mobile page: If you’d rather not use an app, the Station Locator mobile page provides an easy way to view alternative fueling station information on your smartphone screen, regardless of the type of mobile device used. Users can access the Station Locator by navigating to this link in an internet browser.
  • Find-a-Car app (Android and iPhone): The Find-a-Car app allows users to view the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy ratings, fuel cost estimates, and safety ratings for new and used cars and trucks. The app also allows users to input driving habits to personalize results, and to scan QR codes on window stickers while car shopping to assist in comparing vehicles. The app is available to download on the Google Play store and download on the iTunes store.
  • Find and Compare Cars mobile page: The Find and Compare Cars mobile page allows users to search for vehicles by year, make, and model. Searches can also filter by vehicle class and combined miles per gallon (MPG).
  • EPA Fuel Economy Label mobile page: The EPA Fuel Economy Label mobile page explains what each piece of information detailed on fuel economy labels for gasoline, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric vehicles means.
  • Calculate My MPG mobile page: On this page, users receive assistance calculating and tracking fuel economy and comparing it with the EPA ratings. To get started, users must first create an account by accessing the tool online. Look for an update to the mobile page later this year.
  • Gas Mileage Tips mobile page: This page provides drivers with quick tips to obtaining better gas mileage and shows how much money per gallon they can save as a result.

You can rate and provide feedback on the Google Play and iTunes stores for the Station Locator and Find-a-Car apps. You may also contact the TRS at any time with feedback about these mobile resources, as well as suggestions for new tools.

Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team
technicalresponse@icf.com
800-254-6735

Question of the Month: How can I compare the energy content of alternative fuels and gasoline or diesel? What implications does this have for overall fuel and vehicle comparisons?

April 26, 2017 by Clean Cities

Measuring Fuels: Understanding and Using Gasoline Gallon Equivalents
Alternative fuels have varying energy densities and are measured using a number of different units, which can make comparing them tricky. The gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) unit allows drivers to make apples-to-apples comparisons of a given quantity of energy from alternative fuels and assess which fuel best suits their needs. Understanding the energy content of fuels can help inform comparisons of fuel prices and vehicle driving range.

What is a GGE? How about a DGE?

A GGE is a standardized unit used to compare the energy content of all fuels. This unit quantifies the amount of alternative fuel that has the equivalent energy content of one gallon of conventional gasoline. For medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fuel applications, diesel gallon equivalent (DGE) is often used.

How are GGE and DGE values determined?

Energy content is measured in British thermal units (Btus) per gallon of fuel, and is often referred to as the lower heating value of the fuel. To calculate GGE and DGE, the energy content of one gallon of gasoline or diesel is divided by the energy content of the comparison fuel. For example, conventional gasoline has an energy content of 116,090 Btus per gallon, while propane has an energy content of 84,250 Btus per gallon. As such, 1.38 gallons of propane has the same amount of energy as one gallon of conventional gasoline.

The table below displays the energy content, GGE, and DGE values of conventional and alternative fuels.

Fuel

Energy Content*

Quantity of Fuel in 1 GGE

Quantity of Fuel in 1 DGE

Gasoline 116,090 Btu/gallon 1.00 gallon 1.11 gallon
Low Sulfur Diesel 128,488 Btu/gallon 0.90 gallon 1.00 gallon
Biodiesel (B20) 126,700 Btu/gallon 0.92 gallon 1.01 gallon
Biodiesel (B100) 119,550 Btu/gallon 0.97 gallon 1.07 gallon
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) 923 Btu/cubic foot (ft3)
or
20,160 Btu/lb
125.77 ft3
or
5.76 lb
139.21 ft3
or
6.37 lb
Liquefied Natural Gas 21,240 Btu/lb 5.47 lb 6.05 lb
Ethanol (E100) 76,330 Btu/gallon 1.52 gallon 1.68 gallon
Ethanol (E85)** 88,258 Btu/gallon 1.32 gallon 1.46 gallon
Electricity*** 3,414 Btu/kilowatt hour (kWh) 34.00 kWh 37.64 kWh
Propane 84,250 Btu/gallon 1.38 gallon 1.53 gallon
Hydrogen 288.88 Btu/ft3
or
51,585 Btu/lb
401.86 ft3
or
2.25 lb
444.78 ft3
or
2.49 lb

* Lower heating value. Source for CNG and hydrogen (Btu/ft3): Transportation Energy Data Book, Edition 35. Source for remaining values: Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) Fuel Properties.

** E85 that is sold in the United States today actually contains, on average, approximately 70% ethanol. Therefore, E85 energy content calculated as [(.70) x (E100 energy content)] + [(.30) x (gasoline energy content)]

*** Electric vehicles are more efficient (on a Btu basis) than combustion engines, which should be taken into account when calculating and comparing miles per GGE (see below).

The values in the table above can help standardize fuel amounts for comparisons. For example, if you have 10,000 ft3 of CNG, you can determine the equivalent number of GGEs by dividing by 125.77 ft3 to get 79.5 GGE. Similarly, to determine the number of DGEs, you would divide by 139.21 ft3 to get 71.83 DGE.

How are GGE and DGE used to compare fuel prices?

Fuel prices can be represented in dollars per GGE or DGE for consistency in pricing between fuels. For that reason, the Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report shows prices on an energy-equivalent basis (Table 3 in recent reports). If values for price per GGE or DGE are not available, you can do the calculation on your own. For instance, if one gallon of E85 is $2.04, you would multiply by 1.32 (see table above ) to find that this price equates to $2.69 per GGE after adjusting for energy content.

What are the factors that impact how far I can drive between fill ups?

The energy content of fuels is one factor that affects driving range. Filling up with a less energy-dense fuel often means that you will not be able to drive as far. However, tank size and vehicle efficiency also play a significant role.

Some alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) have similar tank sizes to conventional vehicles, while others have larger fuel tanks to compensate for the difference in energy content. For example, vehicles that run on propane and biodiesel typically have similarly sized fuel tanks as their conventional fuel counterparts. As you can see in the table above, both of these fuels have lower energy densities than their conventional fuel counterparts, which subsequently can result in lower fuel economy and shorter range per tank. In the case of propane, bi-fuel vehicles are available that can operate on both conventional fuel and propane for extended driving range. In addition, propane and biodiesel offer many other benefits that can offset this difference.

CNG and hydrogen vehicles, on the other hand, often have larger tanks to offset the lower energy densities associated with these fuels. Fleets and drivers purchasing a CNG vehicle may have the option to install an additional CNG storage tank onboard the vehicle. Alternatively, bi-fuel CNG vehicles are also available to extend the range. As for hydrogen, these vehicles tend to have larger fuel tanks overall.

Tank size is not the only other factor that affects range; vehicle efficiency also plays a role. For instance, all-electric vehicles (EVs) are significantly more efficient than conventional gasoline vehicles. According to FuelEconomy.gov, EVs use anywhere from 59% to 62% of the electricity from the grid to power the vehicle, while conventional gasoline vehicles can only convert 17% to 21% of the energy from gasoline to power the vehicle. This is one reason why EVs have such significant fuel economy advantages over conventional vehicles, even when you are comparing the fuels on an energy-equivalent basis.

For more information, contact:

Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team
technicalresponse@icfi.com800-254-6735

Question of the Month: What are state and local governments doing to incentivize alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs)?

March 3, 2017 by Clean Cities

There are many notable incentive activities at the state and local levels. Many states offer incentives for alternative fuels that advance specific environmental and energy security goals, while cities provide even more localized support.

States are targeting vehicles, infrastructure, and other means to encourage AFV adoption. Below are various types of incentives, as well as hyperlinked examples of each:

  • AFV Purchase Incentives: States offer grants, rebates, and tax credits for the purchase of AFVs. While some states may focus vehicle incentives on a particular fuel type, such as electric vehicles, others are more general in their support. States provide AFV purchase incentives to consumers, commercial fleets, and public fleets, such as schools and government agencies. Different incentive mechanisms tend to be more appropriate for different categories of vehicle purchasers; for example, grants are often limited to certain types of entities. Public fleets may not be liable for taxes, so they usually benefit more from grants than from tax credits. Private fleets can benefit from grants, rebates, and tax credits.
  • Fueling Infrastructure Purchase and Installation Incentives: Similar to AFV incentives, states provide grants, rebates, and tax credits for alternative fueling infrastructure. States usually create incentives for the physical fueling infrastructure, but many programs also support installation costs. Some states also offer a tax credit or tax reduction for the production or purchase of alternative fuel itself. Fueling infrastructure incentives may stipulate that the fueling or charging station must be available to the public, which helps to increase the availability of alternative fuels to a broader range of entities.
  • Other Incentives: In addition to financial support for the purchase of AFVs, states may give special benefits to AFV drivers. For example, some states allow high-occupancy vehicle lane access to AFVs, while others provide reduced registration fees, weight restriction exemptions, and emissions inspections exemptions.

Municipalities are also playing a role in supporting AFV deployment. Cities and counties incentivize AFVs in a number of ways, including by offering free or discounted parking, expediting permitting processes, and providing vehicle and infrastructure grants. For example, New Haven, CT, provides free parking on city streets for AFVs, while Los Angeles, CA, offers instant, online residential electric vehicle supply equipment permitting approval. The Alternative Fuels Data Center’s (AFDC) Local Laws and Incentives page provides more information on these and a greater array of other local options; while the page regarding local laws and incentives is not meant to be comprehensive, it provides users an idea of the different municipal programs and policies that exist (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/laws/local_examples). If you are aware of an innovative way that municipalities are supporting alternative fuels and vehicle acquisition, please contact the Clean Cities Technical Response Service at technicalresponse@icf.com to share the details.

For more information about state and local alternative fuel incentives, see the AFDC Laws and Incentives page (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/laws).

Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team
technicalresponse@icf.com
800-254-6735

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