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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

Question of the Month: How is fuel economy determined and reported for alternative fuel vehicles?

December 22, 2016 by Clean Cities

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.

PHEV_FE_label

All-Electric Vehicles

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:

  • Vehicle Charge Time: Indicates how long it takes to charge a fully discharged battery using Level 2, 240-volt electric vehicle supply equipment.
  • Driving Range: Estimates the approximate number of miles that a vehicle can travel in combined city and highway driving before the battery must be recharged.
  • Fuel Consumption Rate: Shows how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity an EV would use to travel 100 miles. Like gallons per 100 miles, the kWh per 100 miles relates directly to the amount of fuel used. It is an estimated rate of consumption rather than economy (measured in miles per gallon [MPG] or MPGe), which allows for more accurate energy usage comparisons between vehicles.

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.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles

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.

Other Alternative Fuels

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/feg/toolkit.shtml).

Happy Holidays!

 

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

Question of the Month: It’s tax time! What are some common questions related to the federal tax credits for alternative fuels and infrastructure?

March 21, 2016 by Clean Cities

Tax season is upon us, and the recent federal tax incentive extensions and changes impact the alternative fuel and infrastructure tax credits.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 (H.R. 2029) retroactively extended several tax credits, including the Alternative Fuel Excise Tax Credit and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit. It also included updates to the calculation method for Alternative Fuel Excise Tax Credit amounts, specifically for propane and liquefied natural gas (LNG). Below we discuss three frequently asked questions about these credits.

How have the Alternative Fuel Excise Tax Credit amounts changed for propane and LNG in 2016 and beyond?

The Alternative Fuel Excise Tax Credit applies to alternative fuel sold or used to operate a motor vehicle. Previously, the excise tax credit amount for propane and LNG was based on a volumetric basis ($0.50 per gallon). For fuel sold or used starting January 1, 2016, however, the excise tax credit amount for propane and LNG is based on an energy equivalent basis. This means the credit for propane is now measured per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) and LNG is measured per diesel gallon equivalent (DGE). Specifically, the updated Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 8849, Schedule 3 defines 2016 tax credit rates for propane and LNG as follows:

  • Propane: One GGE is equal to 5.75 pounds (lbs.) or 1.353 gallons of propane.
  • LNG: One DGE is equal to 6.06 lbs. or 1.71 gallons of LNG.

What does this mean for propane and natural gas retailers and fleets? In short, the tax credit for the same amount of fuel is now less:

  • The propane tax credit was previously $0.50 per gallon and is now $0.50 per GGE (1.353 gallons of propane), which equates to $0.37 per gallon.
  • The LNG tax credit was previously $0.50 per gallon and is now $0.50 per DGE (1.71 gallons of LNG), which equates to $0.29 per gallon.

The tax credit amount for compressed natural gas (CNG) is still based on the GGE, where one GGE is equal to 121 cubic feet.

Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVAmerica) provides additional information on federal tax incentives for LNG and CNG, and highlights the impacts of the recent tax credit changes in the article, New Year Rings in Changes for CNG and LNG in 2016. The National Propane Gas Association explains the excise tax equalization for propane.

So, you said the Alternative Fuel Excise Tax Credit was retroactively extended. Does that mean I can claim it for fuels sold or used in 2015?

Yes! Both the federal Alternative Fuel Excise Tax Credit and Biodiesel Mixture Excise Tax Credit were extended to cover 2015, meaning that propane, CNG, LNG, hydrogen, and biodiesel sold or used in 2015 are eligible for the federal tax credit. To file for the tax credit, registered claimants must submit a single one-time 2015 claim with IRS Form 8849, as well as the accompanying Schedule 3. The deadline to submit a claim for fuels sold or used in 2015 is August 8, 2016.

Please note that the tax credit amount for propane and LNG sold or used in 2015 is based on the previous, volumetric rate of $0.50 per gallon.

For additional information on claiming the tax credit for fuels sold or used in 2015, please see IRS Notice 2016-05.

Are tax-exempt entities eligible for the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit?

While a tax-exempt entity, such as a school or state government fleet, may not be eligible to claim the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit directly, the entity selling the fueling infrastructure to the tax-exempt entity can claim the credit and pass the “discount” along to the fleet. According to Title 26 of the United States Code, Section 30C(e)(3), the entity selling the fueling equipment to the tax-exempt entity can be treated as the taxpayer and claim the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit, but only if the seller discloses the amount of the credit allowable to the tax-exempt purchaser in writing. In practice, this means the tax-exempt fleet would have the opportunity to use this information to request a discount. However, the infrastructure seller is not required to pass along any savings associated with the tax credit.

For more information on how tax-exempt entities may be eligible for the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit, please see the IRS Instructions for Form 8911.

Please note that the Technical Response Service recommends consulting a qualified tax professional or the IRS before making any tax-related decisions.

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Showcasing National Leadership, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer Joins Seven Other Mayors to Launch Energy Secure Cities Coalition and Highlight the City’s Transition of its Municipal Fleet to Alternative Fuel Vehicles

March 3, 2016 by Clean Cities

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer joins coalition seeking to retire 50,000 petroleum-powered vehicles, saving tens of millions in taxpayer dollars and improving U.S. national and economic security.

ORLANDO, FL – Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer joined seven other mayors Thursday in launching the Energy Secure Cities Coalition (ESCC), a group of cities dedicated to transitioning their municipal fleets from petroleum-fueled vehicles to vehicles powered by alternative fuels, like electricity and natural gas.

The City of Orlando has been migrating its fleet to advanced fuel vehicles since 2010 as part of its efforts to be one of the most sustainable cities in the country.  Moving toward the use of advanced fuels benefits both Orlando residents and the environment by reducing the dependence on and use of more expensive fuels, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and saving taxpayers money by reducing fuel and maintenance costs.

“The City of Orlando is committed to taking the steps necessary to preserve our natural resources for our children and future generations to come,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.  “That’s why we pledged to run City fleet vehicles on 100 percent renewable resources by 2030 as part of our Green Works Orlando sustainability initiative and we are proud to join with other cities in this effort as part of the national Energy Secure Cities Coalition.”

The City of Orlando boasts 1,689 advanced fuel vehicles currently in its fleet and plans to grow this number to a total of 2,389 by 2030.  This year alone, the City of Orlando will deploy a total of 72 new advanced fuel vehicles including 29 CNG and hydraulic-hybrid trucks, 25 Via Motors Plug-in Hybrid-Electric Vehicles (PHEV) and 18 hybrid vehicles.  The City’s first CNG fueling station also began operation this year.

By joining the Energy Secure Cities Coalition, Orlando joins a network of cities that will share best practices and learn from each other before, during and after the fleet conversion process.  In addition to Orlando, the Energy Secure Cities Coalition includes:

  • Atlanta, Ga.
  • Charlotte, N.C.
  • Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Rochester, N.Y.
  • Sacramento Calif.
  • San Diego, Calif.
  • West Palm Beach, Fla.

“With 92 percent of our transportation sector powered by a single fuel—oil—our local economies are dangerously exposed to a volatile, unpredictable global oil market,” said SAFE President and CEO Robbie Diamond. “Cities are America’s centers for innovation, and it is absolutely essential we put that talent to good use protecting us from oil supply disruptions and economically devastating price spikes. And the more we do here at home to lessen our reliance on oil, the more we help our soldiers abroad, who are all too often forced to intervene to protect supply infrastructure in unstable parts of the world.”

Together, the Energy Secure Cities Coalition will grow to 25 cities by 2025 with the goal of taking 50,000 petroleum-powered vehicles off the road, saving 500,000 barrels of oil every year and protecting city budgets from volatile and unpredictable global oil prices.

The ESCC is a project of its member cities in collaboration with Securing America’s Future Energy and the Electrification Coalition. Learn more at www.energysecurecities.org.

###

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Cassandra Lafser, City of Orlando Press Secretary, Cassandra.Lafser@CityofOrlando.net, 407.246.2182

​​​​​Ellen Carey, Securing America’s Future Energy Vice President of Communications, ​​​​​​​ecarey@secureenergy.org​​​​, 202.461.2382

Heather Fagan

Deputy Chief of Staff
City of Orlando, Office of the Mayor
400 S. Orange Ave, 3rd Floor
Orlando, FL 32802

Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit

January 22, 2016 by Clean Cities

NOTE: This incentive originally expired on December 31, 2013, but was retroactively extended through December 31, 2016, by H.R. 2029 (PDF).

Fueling equipment for natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (propane), liquefied hydrogen, electricity, E85, or diesel fuel blends containing a minimum of 20% biodiesel installed between January 1, 2015, and December 31, 2016, is eligible for a tax credit of 30% of the cost, not to exceed $30,000. Permitting and inspection fees are not included in covered expenses. Fueling station owners who install qualified equipment at multiple sites are allowed to use the credit towards each location. Consumers who purchased qualified residential fueling equipment prior to December 31, 2016, may receive a tax credit of up to $1,000. Unused credits that qualify as general business tax credits, as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), may be carried backward one year and carried forward 20 years. For more information about claiming the credit, see IRS Form 8911, which is available on the IRS Forms and Publications website. (Reference Public Law 114-113; 26 U.S. Code 30C and 38; and IRS Notice 2007-43 (PDF))

Point of Contact
U.S. Internal Revenue Service
Phone: (800) 829-1040
http://www.irs.gov/

Central Florida Clean Cities November Recap

December 14, 2015 by Clean Cities

2015-Protec_3 On Thursday, Nov. 5, Central Florida Clean Cities welcomed its newest sponsor and member, Protec Fuels, as they sponsored a luncheon and workshop on Green Fleet Solutions. Speakers included Orlando City Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Gray, Robert White of the Renewable Fuels Association, Bruce Chesson of NASA/KSC Transportation and Alternative Fuel Vehicle Programs, 100 Best Fleets’ Tom Johnson, David L. Dunn from City of Orlando Fleet and Facilities Management, and Protec Fuel’s Andrew Greenberg to discuss the benefits of adding E85 Flex Fuel to your fleet.

 

2015-Third-Annual-Emerald-Coast-Transportation-Symposium-The Third Annual Emerald Coast Transportation Symposium took place over Nov. 12-13 at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach, FL.  Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition Coordinator Colleen Kettles spoke at the symposium in a panel event on renewable and alternative fuels.  Learn more about the event at http://www.wfrpc.org/events/transportation-symposium.

 

 

 

 
2014-Auto-Show_Volt-Test-DrivesFinally, we capped off the month at the Central Florida International Auto Show, which took place over Nov. 26-29 at the Orange County Convention Center.  We were able to check out many new, exciting, and game-changing alternative fuel vehicles.  Go to http://autoshoworlando.com/ to check out pictures and more information on the event.

We hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday season.  We look forward to reporting back in the new year!

 

 

EV Summit Recap

November 9, 2015 by Clean Cities

We promised you a full recap of the 2015 EV Transportation and Technology Summit, and here it is!  Held at our Florida Solar Energy Center campus in Cocoa, FL from Oct. 20-22, the event was organized by the Electric Vehicle Transportation Center of the University of Central Florida.  The Summit engaged attendees from across the country on the future of Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEVs) and how their expanding adoption effects city, road, and development planning as well as assists in advancing technology, economics, and the environment.

The Summit kicked off with a pre-event PEV Market and Technology Workshop to discuss current trends and opportunities in PEV adoption.  After, Summit attendees were invited on a Kennedy Space Center Tour followed by the opening reception at the Cocoa Beach Courtyard Marriott.

To take a look at the Pre-Summit Workshop Materials, go to http://evtc.fsec.ucf.edu/education/short_course/EV-Workshop.html.

Day 2 began with a focus on PEV Technology, Infrastructure, Product Development, and Resources, featuring presentations on PEV technology and standards, PEV charging technology and the grid, product and market offerings, and vehicle adoption programs and resources.  Trev Hall, Clean Cities Southeast Regional Manager, provided an overview of US Department of Energy Vehicle Technology Office Resources made available through the Alternative Fuels Data Center website.  The day concluded with a PEV Vehicle Display in the Florida Solar Energy Center parking lot nearest the public PEV charging stations.

Finally, Day 3 of the EV Summit featured presentations pertaining to Planning, Policy, and the Future of PEVs.  Linda Bluestein, Co-Director for National Clean Cities, delivered a talk on PEV Public and Policy Awareness as it influences electric vehicle adoption.  Other presentations that followed included an assessment of the current state of the EV, a few discussions of future infrastructure and transportation planning goals, and a concluding panel of Florida electric utilities’ perspectives on PEV advancement.

Please visit the 2015 EV Summit website to take a look at this year’s presentations, presenters, and a full agenda at http://www.evsummit.org/schedule.php.

We thank the Electric Vehicle Transportation Center for organizing the Summit and for allowing Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition to participate in this new and educational event.  Hopefully, we’ll be seeing another wonderful EV Summit in 2016!

Other recent and upcoming events include:

On Thursday, Nov. 5, Central Florida Clean Cities welcomed its newest sponsor and member, Protec Fuels, as they sponsored a luncheon and workshop on Green Fleet Solutions. Speakers included Orlando City Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Gray, Robert White of the Renewable Fuels Association, Bruce Chesson of NASA/KSC Transportation and Alternative Fuel Vehicle Programs, 100 Best Fleets’ Tom Johnson, David L. Dunn from City of Orlando Fleet and Facilities Management, and Protec Fuel’s Andrew Greenberg to discuss the benefits of adding E85 Flex Fuel to your fleet..

Finally, the Third Annual Emerald Coast Transportation Symposium will take place Nov. 12-13 at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach, FL.  Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition Coordinator Colleen Kettles will be speaking at the symposium in a panel event on renewable and alternative fuels.  Learn more and register for the event at http://www.wfrpc.org/events/transportation-symposium.

We look forward to reporting back again soon!

Photos

Co-Director for National Clean Cities, US DOE Linda Bluestein delivers a presentation on Electric Vehicle Public and Policy Awareness at the 2015 EV Summit in Cocoa, FL.  Photo by Nick Waters.

Co-Director for National Clean Cities, US DOE Linda Bluestein delivers a presentation on Electric Vehicle Public and Policy Awareness at the 2015 EV Summit in Cocoa, FL. Photo by Nick Waters.

A participant in the Electric Utility Perspective Panel, James Culp of Duke Energy describes his business’s electric vehicle and alternative fuels advancement programs at the 2015 EV Summit in Cocoa, FL.  Photo by Nick Waters.

A participant in the Electric Utility Perspective Panel, James Culp of Duke Energy describes his business’s electric vehicle and alternative fuels advancement programs at the 2015 EV Summit in Cocoa, FL. Photo by Nick Waters.

A participant in the Electric Utility Perspective Panel, Todd Jensen of Florida Power and Light describes his business’s electric vehicle and alternative fuels advancement programs at the 2015 EV Summit in Cocoa, FL.  Photo by Nick Waters.

A participant in the Electric Utility Perspective Panel, Todd Jensen of Florida Power and Light describes his business’s electric vehicle and alternative fuels advancement programs at the 2015 EV Summit in Cocoa, FL. Photo by Nick Waters.

A participant in the Electric Utility Perspective Panel, Bryan Coley of Gulf Power describes his business’s electric vehicle and alternative fuels advancement programs at the 2015 EV Summit in Cocoa, FL.  Photo by Nick Waters.

A participant in the Electric Utility Perspective Panel, Bryan Coley of Gulf Power describes his business’s electric vehicle and alternative fuels advancement programs at the 2015 EV Summit in Cocoa, FL. Photo by Nick Waters.

A participant in the Electric Utility Perspective Panel, JEA’s Peter King describes his business’s electric vehicle and alternative fuels advancement programs at the 2015 EV Summit in Cocoa, FL.  Photo by Nick Waters.

A participant in the Electric Utility Perspective Panel, JEA’s Peter King describes his business’s electric vehicle and alternative fuels advancement programs at the 2015 EV Summit in Cocoa, FL. Photo by Nick Waters.

A participant in the Electric Utility Perspective Panel, OUC’s Eva Reyes describes his business’s electric vehicle and alternative fuels advancement programs at the 2015 EV Summit in Cocoa, FL.  Photo by Nick Waters.

A participant in the Electric Utility Perspective Panel, OUC’s Eva Reyes describes his business’s electric vehicle and alternative fuels advancement programs at the 2015 EV Summit in Cocoa, FL. Photo by Nick Waters.

A participant in the Electric Utility Perspective Panel, TECO’s Keith Gruetzmacher describes his business’s electric vehicle and alternative fuels advancement programs at the 2015 EV Summit in Cocoa, FL.  Photo by Nick Waters.

A participant in the Electric Utility Perspective Panel, TECO’s Keith Gruetzmacher describes his business’s electric vehicle and alternative fuels advancement programs at the 2015 EV Summit in Cocoa, FL. Photo by Nick Waters.

A Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) Display was held on October 21, 2015 at the EV Transportation and Technology Summit in Cocoa, FL.  Participants were able to climb inside the different vehicles to learn more about the model options and which vehicle offerings best matched their business and personal needs.

A Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) Display was held on October 21, 2015 at the EV Transportation and Technology Summit in Cocoa, FL. Participants were able to climb inside the different vehicles to learn more about the model options and which vehicle offerings best matched their business and personal needs.

A Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) Display was held on October 21, 2015 at the EV Transportation and Technology Summit in Cocoa, FL.  Pictured here is a new 2015 VIA Motors Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), provided by Florida Power and Light.  Many other utilities are also currently using and expanding their fleets of PEVs.  Photo by Nick Waters.

A Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) Display was held on October 21, 2015 at the EV Transportation and Technology Summit in Cocoa, FL. Pictured here is a new 2015 VIA Motors Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), provided by Florida Power and Light. Many other utilities are also currently using and expanding their fleets of PEVs. Photo by Nick Waters.

A Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) Display was held on October 21, 2015 at the EV Transportation and Technology Summit in Cocoa, FL.  Pictured are a Chevy Volt and a Nissan Leaf actively charging at the Florida Solar Energy Center public PEV charging stations.  Photo by Nick Waters.

A Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) Display was held on October 21, 2015 at the EV Transportation and Technology Summit in Cocoa, FL. Pictured are a Chevy Volt and a Nissan Leaf actively charging at the Florida Solar Energy Center public PEV charging stations. Photo by Nick Waters.

A Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) Display was held on October 21, 2015 at the EV Transportation and Technology Summit in Cocoa, FL.  Pictured is a participating Tesla Model S vehicle.  Photo by Nick Waters.

A Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) Display was held on October 21, 2015 at the EV Transportation and Technology Summit in Cocoa, FL. Pictured is a participating Tesla Model S vehicle. Photo by Nick Waters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Central Florida Clean Cities September Re-Cap

October 5, 2015 by Clean Cities

Ford Smart Mobility_2September may be over soon, but we’d like to re-cap all of the exciting events Central Florida Clean Cities was able to be a part of this month.

Starting on Wed. Sept. 9, Central Florida Clean Cities representatives were invited to attend the Ford Smart Mobility Experience at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL.  A traveling presentation, Ford’s Smart Mobility Experience provides a sneak peak at Ford’s transportation designs that revolutionize the way we move ourselves in the future.  Our favorite was a look at the electric bike concept which combined some of our best-loved features:  alternative fuels, multi-modal transport, and a new way for us to travel sustainably.

NDEW_Sept. 12_1

On Saturday, Sept. 12, we kicked off National Drive Electric Week at Valencia College in downtown Orlando.  Attendees at this event were able to check out a variety of electric vehicles and speak with the car owners to learn more about electric driving.  The event also featured a presentation period during which speakers elaborated on the distinctions of the PEV, how this alternative fuel contributes to a healthier community and environment, and what attendees can do to embrace this fun, green, and exciting vehicle market.

NDEW_Sept. 18_2On Friday, Sept. 18, Central Florida Clean Cities representatives were able to attend a Drive Electric Orlando event at the Dr. P. Phillips Performing Arts Center in downtown Orlando.  The event kicked off Enterprise’s commitment to providing electric rental cars for the nation’s number one tourist destination here in Central Florida.  Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer declared the day to be the first ever Drive Electric Orlando Day—before he was able to cruise off in a rented Chevy Volt!

 

NDEW_Sept. 19_2The Space Coast Electric Vehicle Drivers Club capped off Drive Electric Week by hosting an EV event at Satellite Beach on Saturday, Sept. 19.  35 EVs attended the event, and upwards of 120 total test rides we given to prospective EV buyers.  Of the registered attendees, EV owners collaboratively reported more than 650,000 miles between them on pure electric drive.

Finally this month, we were able to welcome a new hire, Shauna Basques, to the Central Florida Clean Cities fold.  Having worked previously on workplace charging (WPC) for the Twin Cities Clean Cities Coalition, she is excited to begin working with the Central Florida EV community to help advance adoption of alternative fuels and spread the word on workplace charging.  If you have any questions for her (or just want to say hi), contact her at sbasques@fsec.ucf.edu.

And don’t forget—Central Florida Clean Cities will be participating in more upcoming events!

On October 2, 2015, we will be celebrating the tail end of Team Sanford’s Fireball Run stint from 3-6 PM on 1st St. in Sanford, FL.  We will provide a small electric vehicle display and cheer on the team to the finish line the following day on the Florida Space Coast.

From October 14-16, the 2015 Florida Energy Summit will be held at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront in Jacksonville, Florida.  Presentations at the summit will focus on alternative fuels, CNG and LNG in particular.  For information and registration, please visit FloridaEnergySummit.com.

We will also assist in hosting the 2015 EV Transportation and Technology Summit at our Florida Solar Energy Center campus from Oct. 20-22 in Cocoa, FL.  For information and registration, please visit EVSummit.org.

Thank you for all of your interest and support.  We look forward to reporting back soon!

National Drive Electric Week is Here! September 12-20, 2015

September 10, 2015 by Clean Cities

National Drive Electric Week, September 12-20, 2015, is a nationwide celebration to heighten awareness of today’s widespread availability of plug-in vehicles and highlight the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more. They are fun to drive, are less expensive and more convenient to fuel than gasoline vehicles, are better for the environment, promote local jobs, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Are you considering going electric? Come talk to owners who have successfully done so.

The Florida dates are as follows:

Valencia NDEW Event

Satellite Beach NDEW Event

 

Destin Florida USA Sep 15, 2015
Fort Lauderdale Florida USA Sep 19, 2015
Fort Lauderdale Florida USA Sep 12, 2015
Fort Myers Florida USA Sep 19, 2015
Jacksonville Florida USA Sep 17, 2015
Oldsmar Florida USA Sep 12, 2015
Orlando Florida USA Sep 12, 2015
Orlando Florida USA Sep 18, 2015
Pensacola Florida USA Sep 19, 2015
Pinecrest Florida USA Sep 19, 2015
Sarasota Florida USA Sep 12, 2015
Satellite Beach Florida USA Sep 19, 2015
St. Petersburg Florida USA Sep 12, 2015
Tallahassee Florida USA Sep 17, 2015

 

For more information about National Drive Electric Week, please visit the event website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question of the Month: What factors affect fuel prices?

July 20, 2015 by Clean Cities

 
 
 

Feeling Pain at the Pump? Factors That Affect Fuel Prices

Source: EIA, Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update, July 13, 2015

Source: EIA, Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update, July 13, 2015

Source: EIA, Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update, July 13, 2015
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When gasoline and diesel prices spike, we often want to blame someone for our pain at the pump. The reality is that the oil industry is a complex market. Though there are numerous factors that could ultimately influence the price of fuel, such as weather, government policies, and international relations, there are four factors that have the most significant influence. These factors include the cost of crude oil, refining costs and profits, distribution and marketing costs, and fuel taxes. Alternative fuels, such as natural gas, propane, electricity, and biofuels, can mitigate some price fluctuations attributable to short-term events, like natural disasters, because they diversify the fuel supply. However, some alternative fuel prices are also dependent on similar factors.

In May 2015, the average retail price of regular grade gasoline was $2.72, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Below is a summary of the factors that affect gasoline prices, and the relative percentage of each component. We have also described how each of these factors may affect alternative fuel prices.

Crude Oil

As of May, approximately 51% of the cost of gasoline was related to the price of crude oil. The fluctuation in crude oil price is the biggest factor in the volatility of the price of gasoline, as the other costs (described below) are relatively static.

Crude oil prices are largely a product of supply and demand. Global demand has grown in recent years due to world economic growth and increased access to vehicles, particularly in developing nations. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which produced about 40% of the world’s crude oil between 2000 and 2014, also has significant influence on oil prices by setting production limits among members. Part of the reason oil prices have declined significantly since July 2014 is that OPEC nations are not limiting production, resulting in a global ‘glut’ of crude oil. Much of this glut stems from a surge in oil production in the United States and Canada over the last few years from unconventional sources, like shale. This price could change dramatically, however, if there is a major global supply disruption.

With the exception of electricity and natural gas, alternative fuel prices can also be impacted by the price of crude oil and the price and demand for petroleum products. Higher or lower demand for gasoline also influences ethanol demand, for example, and ethanol is closely linked to the price of gasoline, as shown in the Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report. Biodiesel wholesale costs are largely influenced by the price of diesel. Propane costs historically tend to follow crude oil prices, though not to the same extent as other fuels, and change seasonally because of the demand for propane as heating fuel in the winter.

Alternative fuel prices are also affected by the applicable commodity price, though the impact varies by fuel. For example, the price of natural gas only comprises 20% of the compressed natural gas (CNG) price at the pump, according to the American Gas Association. Because natural gas is a relatively small percentage of the overall fuel price, a swing in the natural gas commodity prices has less of an effect on the CNG price at the pump. In addition, natural gas costs are typically regulated and less expensive than petroleum (on a gasoline gallon equivalent—or GGE—basis) and the infrastructure is independent of oil infrastructure.

Refining Costs and Profits

Crude oil must be refined into gasoline and diesel so it is compatible with vehicles. Refining oil takes energy and costs may vary based on the type and origin of the crude oil used in the process. In May, refinery costs and profits represented about 22% of the cost of a gallon of gasoline.

Alternative fuels, such as propane, natural gas, and biofuels, are also “refined” or otherwise altered before they can be used in vehicles. Propane is a by-product of crude oil refining and is also produced as a liquid from natural gas and oil wells. Propane from natural gas liquids does not require refining; however, it must go through a scrubbing process to remove contaminants, as well as a separation process. Natural gas is produced from natural gas and oil wells, and is also subject to a separation and treatment process to remove contaminants. It must also be compressed in order to be transported in major distribution pipelines. Biofuel production facilities are often called ‘biorefineries’ because they produce and refine crude biofuels at the same location.

Distribution and Marketing

Since many of us do not live next to oil refineries, gasoline and diesel must be transported to local fueling stations. This occurs through a sophisticated system of pipelines, trucks, or barges to a network of fuel terminals, which can also be referred to as a distribution rack. The distributors, also called jobbers, load and blend the gasoline and diesel with other products (e.g., ethanol, biodiesel) in tanker trucks, which is driven to your local retail outlets and placed in underground storage tanks. In every part of the supply chain there are costs associated with employee salaries and benefits, equipment, taxes, insurance, and other types of overhead. In May, these resulting costs equaled about 10% of the price of a gallon of gasoline.

Taxes

Finally, motor fuel taxes contribute to the construction and maintenance of the roads we use on a regular basis. In the early 1900s, state governments devised ways to collect taxes on each gallon of fuel to help cover these costs and increase revenue. In May, federal, state, and local taxes accounted for 17% of the average retail price of a gallon of gasoline. Federal excise taxes are currently $0.184 per gallon of gasoline or ethanol, and $0.244 per gallon of diesel or biodiesel. Propane and CNG are taxed at $0.183 per gallon of propane or GGE of CNG, and liquefied natural gas is taxed at $0.243 per gallon. The September Question of the Month blog will delve into this topic in more detail.

State and local fuel taxes vary widely by jurisdiction. Though motor fuel taxes are applied to each gallon of gasoline or diesel sold, alternative fuels can also be taxed on an energy equivalent basis with gasoline and/or diesel. Some states use alternatives to traditional state fuel taxes, such as annual fees for alternative fuel vehicles or taxes based on the number of miles traveled. Watch for the August Question of the Month blog for more information on these alternatives.

Though the alternative fuel supply chain differs slightly from conventional fuels, many of the same factors influencing oil prices also impact alternative fuels. Now when you fill up your vehicle, take a moment to think about all the infrastructure and people required to process and deliver fuel from the field to the pump.

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