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.
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.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Broward Workshop are hosting the 2017 Florida Energy Summit October 18-20, 2017, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The summit brings together the brightest minds from academic institutions and private industries, as well as public officials on the local, state and federal levels, to discuss the future of energy in Florida.
This year’s summit will examine current challenges and look to the future to identify innovative solutions to secure a stable, reliable, and diverse supply of energy.
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
What’s new for Clean Cities mobile tools and resources? Two new mobile tools have recently become available:
Other Mobile Resources
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
|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|
* 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.
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
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:
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/
For more information about state and local alternative fuel incentives, see the AFDC Laws and Incentives page (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/
As propane vehicle technology becomes more advanced, propane dispensing infrastructure has evolved along with it. In particular, the propane industry is focusing much of its attention on enhancing the customer fueling experience by installing propane dispensers that are dedicated for vehicle fueling, and by upgrading the propane nozzle technology. The increasingly popular European-style, quick-connect nozzle simplifies the customer fueling experience by connecting to the fuel tank through a snap or quick-connect attachment, rather than a conventional threaded connection. Only after the nozzle is safely connected to the fuel tank will it begin to dispense fuel. This attachment eliminates the threading connection necessary with the conventional Acme nozzle, making propane fueling as easy as conventional gasoline fueling.
With the new nozzle, fueling can be completed using only one hand and without wearing protective goggles and gloves. The quick-connect attachment also results in lower emissions, as it more effectively prevents the release of fuel vapor and fumes. Additionally, the nozzle’s design minimizes the amount of fuel that escapes when the vehicle is done fueling and the connector is detached from the vehicle.
There are many affordable quick-connect nozzle options available on the United States market that meet UL 125 certification requirements (https://standardscatalog.ul.
Many propane retailers are optimistic about the European-style, quick-connect nozzle. In fact, the Propane Education Research Council (PERC) highlights its benefits and encourages the use of this connector through its Quick-Connect Nozzle Incentive Program (http://www.propanecouncil.
For more information about propane and related fueling infrastructure, see the following resources:
The Clean Cities Technical Response Service, as a result of questions and inquiries related to the 225 page “Volkswagen Partial Consent Decree” released by the U.S. Department of Justice, has produced the following information that provides a general summary of critical information included in the package along with links to important documents:
$2.7 Billion Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund
$2 Billion ZEV Investment Commitment over 10 years
Eligible Actions For HD and MD vehicles, freight switchers, ferries, tugboats
*Infrastructure for other Alternative Fuels not eligible. Other Eligible Actions
Beneficiaries may use Trust Funds for actual administrative expenditures associated with implementing Eligible Mitigation Actions (not to exceed 10% of total cost of such Actions):
Beneficiary Mitigation Plan must be submitted not later than 30 days after being deemed a Beneficiary, and must include:
Zero Emission Vehicles include:
ZEV Investments May Include:
ZEV Investments May Also Include:
Timing and Next Steps
Last month we learned about how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determines and reports conventional light-duty vehicle fuel economy ratings. While alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) fuel economy testing is largely similar to that of conventional fuels, the EPA makes some adjustments to account for different vehicle technology and fuel energy content. By tailoring AFV fuel economy testing and reporting, the EPA is able to provide apples-to-apples comparisons and allow consumers to make informed decisions.
What’s Reported: The fuel economy label for all-electric vehicles (EVs) includes all of the same information as that listed for gasoline vehicles (fuel economy, fuel cost savings, annual fuel cost, and emissions). However, EV labels list fuel economy using miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent (MPGe), sometimes referred to as miles per gasoline gallon equivalent (MPGGE). MPGe represents the number of miles a vehicle can go using a quantity of fuel with the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline. MPGe is a useful way to compare gasoline vehicles with vehicles that use fuel not dispensed in gallons. EV labels also include the following information:
What’s Tested: To test EV fuel economy, the vehicle battery is fully charged and the vehicle is parked overnight. The next day, the vehicle is tested over successive city cycles until the battery is depleted. The battery is then recharged and the energy consumption of the vehicle is determined by dividing the kWh of energy needed to recharge the battery by the miles traveled by the vehicle. MPGe is based on this figure. The process is repeated for highway driving cycles, and the combined city and highway fuel consumption and MPGe is based on the standard ratio of 55% city and 45% highway driving.
What’s Reported: Like EVs, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) fuel economy labels include fuel cost savings, annual fuel cost, and emissions information. For PHEVs that can use either electricity or gasoline (but only one fuel at a time), also known as non-blended or series PHEVs, labels include information for the fuel economy of both fuel modes. The electricity information is identical to that of EVs, listing charge time, fuel economy in MPGe, and fuel consumption rate in kWh per 100 miles. The gasoline information provides fuel economy in MPG and fuel consumption information in gallons per 100 miles. PHEV fuel economy labels also include electricity only, gasoline only, and combined electricity and gasoline driving range estimates. For PHEVs that use electricity and gasoline at the same time, also known as blended or parallel PHEVs, fuel economy labels reflect the fuel economy, fuel consumption, and range of the vehicle when it uses its standard electricity and gasoline mix.
What’s Tested: Because series PHEVs can use either electricity or gasoline, the EPA determines a vehicle’s fuel economy and fuel consumption based both on its use of only electricity and only gasoline. To determine a PHEV’s electric fuel economy, the EPA issues testing methodology nearly identical to that of EVs. If the gasoline engine is required to complete the test cycle, the EPA methodology uses both the electric energy consumption and the gasoline consumption to calculate the MPGe values for the electric operation only. Vehicle testing for the gasoline operation of the vehicle is similar to any other conventional hybrid electric vehicle. Parallel PHEVs are tested using their standard mix of electricity and gasoline.
What’s Reported: The EPA also requires fuel economy information for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) vehicles that use alternative fuels. This includes dedicated natural gas, propane, and hydrogen vehicles, as well as bi-fuel vehicles, such as bi-fuel natural gas, propane, and flexible fuel vehicles (vehicles that may use 51%-83% ethanol-gasoline blends). Note that the EPA does not require fuel economy testing of vehicles converted to run alternative fuels after they are purchased. While the EPA does not list fuel economy information for vehicles that use biodiesel, all diesel vehicles may use fuel blends of up to 5% biodiesel. These vehicles achieve fuel economy very similar to conventional diesel.
For vehicles that use exclusively alternative fuels (e.g., natural gas or hydrogen), the EPA lists fuel economy in MPGe in order to accurately reflect the fuel’s energy content and make easy comparisons with conventional fuel vehicles. Vehicles that can use either alternative fuels or conventional fuel, such as bi-fuel natural gas, bi-fuel propane, and flexible fuel vehicles, have fuel economy, fuel consumption, and range estimates for both the alternative and conventional fuel listed on their fuel economy labels. Fuel economy for alternative fuel use in bi-fuel and flexible fuel vehicles is listed in MPGe, while fuel economy for conventional fuel use is listed in MPG.
What’s Tested: For vehicles that run exclusively on alternative fuels, fuel economy testing methods are similar to those of conventional vehicles. For bi-fuel and flexible fuel vehicles, the vehicle fuel economy is tested as it runs exclusively on each fuel, similar to PHEVs.
For more information about AFV fuel economy, see the FuelEconomy.gov website (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/) and select from the Advanced Cars & Fuels menu. Also, view the Fuel Economy Toolkit (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (collectively, HDVs) are expected to surpass light-duty vehicle (LDV) emissions by 2030. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 directed the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish fuel efficiency standards for HDVs. Then, in 2010, President Obama announced a new national program to implement coordinated fuel efficiency and GHG emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty engines and vehicles. As you may have seen last month, EPA and NHSTA recently finalized the most recent set of requirements under this program.
First promulgated by EPA and NHTSA in 2011, these coordinated standards are being implemented in two separate phases, beginning with Model Year (MY) 2014 to 2018 (Phase 1, which has now been extended through 2020) and followed by MYs 2021 to 2027 (Phase 2), with some exceptions. Under Phase 1, the GHG emissions and fuel efficiency standards generally increase in stringency in MY 2017, then remain steady through MY 2020. GHG emissions and fuel efficiency standards under Phase 2 of the program increase first in MY 2021, and then again in MYs 2024 and 2027. Although the Phase 2 standards do not begin until MY 2021, manufacturers may need to begin compliance measures beforehand in order to be adequately prepared to meet the targets.
Fuel efficiency and GHG emissions standards are determined differently for each of five regulated heavy-duty (HD) engine and vehicle categories: combination tractors; vocational vehicles; HD engines used in combination tractors and vocational vehicles; trailers used with combination tractors; and HD pickup trucks and vans. For more information on these categories, please refer to pages 3 and 4 of the EPA Phase 2 fact sheet (https://www3.epa.gov/otaq/
NHTSA Fuel Efficiency Standards
NHTSA’s fuel efficiency standards are designed to take into account the different functions of each of the regulated vehicle categories. Therefore, the standards are calculated differently for each vehicle category. For HD pickup trucks and vans, there are separate gasoline and diesel target values.
The vehicle-based standards for combination tractors and vocational vehicles are calculated based on weight class, as well as specific characteristics of the vehicle category that affect fuel consumption and emissions, such as roof height for combination tractors and drive cycle for vocational vehicles.
The HD engine standards are determined by the size of the engine, the fuel type (diesel or gasoline), and the characteristics of the respective vehicles into which they are installed. The HD pickup and van standards, engine and chassis included, are fleet-average standards based on fuel-specific (gasoline and diesel) target values that are determined by a “work factor” curve. The “work factor” curve takes into account the payload and towing capacity of the vehicle and whether the vehicle has 4-wheel drive. Like the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program for LDVs, the HD pickup and van targets are production-weighted based on the manufacturer’s total sales volume of all of its different HD pickup and van models.
Manufacturers were required to meet Phase 1 fuel efficiency standards for combination tractors, vocational vehicles, and HD engines beginning either in MY 2016 or 2017. Phase 2 standards apply in MY 2027, with phase-in standards for MYs 2021 and 2024. Trailer fuel efficiency standards are voluntary beginning in MY 2018, and mandatory effective MY 2021. Manufacturers were not required to participate in the Phase 1 HD pickup and van program until MY 2016. At the outset of the program, NHTSA gave manufacturers the option to choose one of the alternative phase-in options for the Phase 1 standards. Phase 2 HD pickup and van standards begin in MY 2021 and increase in stringency by 2.5% each model year through MY 2027.
Fuel Efficiency Standards and Targets
To view the final Phase 1 standards and HD pickup and van targets, please see the Phase 1 Final Rule. For the recently finalized Phase 2 standards and targets, see the Phase 2 Final Rule. You may also reach out to TRS directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like specific information about where to find the finalized standards.
EPA GHG Emissions Standards
EPA also takes into account the varying functions of each of the regulated vehicle categories in its GHG emissions calculation. It uses the same factors as NHTSA to determine emissions standards for each vehicle category, except measurements are based on grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted.
EPA’s mandatory Phase 1 GHG emissions standards for combination tractors, vocational vehicles, and HD engines began in MY 2014. The timeline for the Phase 2 standards mirrors that of the NHTSA fuel efficiency standards. However, Phase 2 trailer emissions standards differ in that they are mandatory in MY 2018. For Phase 1 of the HD pickup truck and van program, similar to the fuel efficiency targets, manufacturers were given the option to choose from two alternative phase-in options. As with the Phase 2 fuel efficiency targets, the separate GHG emissions targets for diesel and gasoline HD pickups and vans will increase in stringency under Phase 2 by 2.5% per year from MY 2021 to 2027.
Emissions Standards and Targets
GHG emissions standards and targets for Phase 1 and Phase 2 can be found in their respective final rules. Please refer to the Fuel Efficiency Standards and Targets section above for more information.
Manufacturers may employ many different compliance measures to meet the fuel efficiency and GHG emissions standards. These measures vary depending on the vehicle category. Each vehicle category has a different certification testing process to determine its GHG emissions and fuel efficiency values. These values are the baseline to which any additional earned credits can be added. The regulation also offers incentives to encourage advanced vehicle technologies
The credits and incentives available for both the EPA and NHTSA programs include:
For more information on the medium- and heavy-duty engine and vehicle GHG emissions and fuel efficiency standards, please refer to the following resources:
Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team
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