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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.

Volkswagen Partial Consent Decree Overview

January 11, 2017 by Clean Cities

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:

VW “Clean Diesel” Consent Decree: The Basics

  • Consent Decree between the U.S., California and VW et al. (Settling Defendants) re: VW 2.0L TDI settlement program
  • June 28, 2016, filed with the Court by Dept. of Justice, on behalf of EPA and State of California
  • July 6, 2016 Federal Register Notice set in motion.
  • 3 parts:
    • $10 billion + (estimated) for VW customers; 2.0 L diesel vehicle buyback/lease termination
    • $2.7 Billion Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund
    • $2 Billion ZEV Investment Commitment

$2.7 Billion Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund

  • $900 Million to be deposited by VW et al. into Trust Account not later than 30 days after the effective date.
  • 2 additional $900 Million deposits by VW et al. into Trust Account, not later than the 1st and 2nd anniversaries of the initial deposit.
  • Allocated among states, Indian tribes and Puerto Rico on a % basis to fund actions that will reduce NOx emissions where the 2.0 L Subject Vehicles were, are or will be operated.

$2 Billion ZEV Investment Commitment over 10 years

  • National ZEV Investment Plan
    • Developed by VW et al.; approved by EPA, which has sole authority for making decisions.
    • $1.2 Billion in four 30 month investment cycles for U.S., except California
  • California ZEV Investment Plan
    • Developed by VW et al.; approved by CARB, which has sole authority for making decisions.
    • $800 million in four 30 month investment cycles for California

$2.7 Billion Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund

  • Goal: Achieve reductions of NOx emissions in the United States.
    • (GHG emissions not addressed.)
  • Beneficiaries: States, Indian Tribes, D.C., Puerto Rico
  • $2.7 Billion over 3 years for Eligible Mitigation Actions.
    • Eligible Vehicle Classes/Equipment:
      • Class 8 Local Freight Trucks, Port Drayage Trucks
      • Class 4-8 School, Shuttle or Transit Bus
      • Freight Switchers
      • Ferries/Tugboats (marine)
      • Ocean Going Vessels Shorepower
      • Class 4-7 Local Freight Trucks (Medium Trucks)
      • Airport Ground Support Equipment
      • Forklifts
      • LD ZEV Supply Equipment
        • L1, L2 or fast charging equipment
        • LD hydrogen fuel cell vehicle supply equipment
      • DERA Option – Beneficiaries may use Trust Funds for non-federal match.
        • Use of funds as match for other Federal funding opportunities is uncertain (not mentioned).

Eligible Actions For HD and MD vehicles, freight switchers, ferries, tugboats

  • Repower with:
    • New diesel engine, including costs of installing engine
    • New Alternate Fueled (CNG, propane, Hybrid) engine, including costs of installing engine
    • New All-Electric engine/motor, including costs of installing engine and charging infrastructure*
  • Replace with:
    • New diesel vehicle
    • New Alternate Fueled (CNG, propane, Hybrid) vehicle
    • New All-Electric engine/motor, including costs of installing engine and charging infrastructure*
  • Funding % for each action ranges from 25% – 100% and varies based on ownership (government or non-government owned) and type of action.
  • Funding is allocated by State. See Table on page 207 of Appendix D-1 in the Partial Consent Decree https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-06/documents/vwpartialsettlement-cd.pdf

*Infrastructure for other Alternative Fuels not eligible. Other Eligible Actions

  • Ocean Going Vessel (OGV) Shorepower
    • Costs of shore-side system, including cables, cable management systems, shorepower coupler systems, distribution control systems and power distribution components
  • Airport Ground Support Equipment
    • Repower or replace with all-electric engine/motor
  • Forklifts
    • Repower or replace with all electric engine/motor
  • Light Duty ZEV Supply Equipment
    • Beneficiary may use up to 15% of its allocation of Trust Funds for acquisition, installation, operation and maintenance of new LD ZEV supply equipment for specific public applications.
      • L1, L2 or fast charging equipment in a public place, workplace or multi-unit dwelling

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):

  • Personnel, including employee salaries and wages, but not consultants
  • Fringe benefits
  • Travel by program staff
  • Equipment with a useful life of > 1 year and acquisition cost >= $5,000
  • Supplies purchased in support of the Mitigation Action, such as educational publications, office supplies, etc. Contractual
    • Contracts for evaluation and consulting services and contracts with sub-recipient organizations are included. Construction
  • Other costs, including insurance, professional services, printing and publication, training and accounting

Beneficiaries

  • Each Governor’s Office or analogous Chief Executive must file a Certification Form with the Court to become a beneficiary and to receive funding, not later than 60 days after the Trust Effective Date.
  • Failure to file Certification Form will result in that state being an Excluded Entity, permanently enjoined from asserting any right to Trust Assets.
  • Each Beneficiary must notify any Federal agencies that control land within its jurisdiction (Interior, Agriculture, etc.) that they may request Eligible Mitigation Action funds for use on those lands.
  • Beneficiaries may submit request for 1/3 of allocated funds each year, for 3 years.

Beneficiary Mitigation Plan must be submitted not later than 30 days after being deemed a Beneficiary, and must include:

  • Overall goal for use of funds
  • Categories of Eligible Mitigation Actions to be undertaken
  • Description of potential benefit of Eligible Mitigation Actions on air quality in areas that bear a disproportionate share of the air pollution burden within its jurisdiction
  • General description of expected ranges of emissions benefits (NOx) to be realized by implementation of Beneficiary Mitigation Plan
  • Plan must designate a lead agency that will have the delegated authority to act on behalf of Beneficiary.
  • Beneficiary must explain process by which it shall seek and consider public input on its Beneficiary Mitigation Plan.
  • DERA Option: A Beneficiary may use its Final Approved DERA Workplan as its Beneficiary Mitigation Plan, and may use Trust Funds for actions not specifically enumerated in the Consent Decree, but otherwise eligible under DERA.

$2.0 Billion ZEV Investment Commitment

Zero Emission Vehicles include:

  • Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel cell vehicles (FEVs)
  • On-road plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) with zero emission range > 35 miles
  • On-road heavy duty vehicles with electric powered takeoff

Not Included:

  • ZEV off-road equipment and vehicles
  • Zero emission light rail
  • Additions to transit bus fleets using existing catenary electric power
  • Vehicles not capable of being licensed for use on public roads

ZEV Investment

  • Investment of money by VW et al. that promotes and advances the use and availability of ZEVs within the categories of actions set forth in consent decree

ZEV Investments May Include:

  • Design/planning, construction/installation, operation and maintenance of ZEV infrastructure
    • L2 charging at multi-unit dwellings, workplaces and public sites
    • DC fast charging facilities accessible to all vehicles utilizing non-proprietary connectors
    • New heavy-duty ZEV fueling infrastructure (in CA)
    • Later generations of charging infrastructure
    • ZEV fueling stations

ZEV Investments May Also Include:

  • Brand-neutral education or public outreach that builds or increases public awareness of ZEVs
  • ZEV car sharing services, ZEV ride hailing services, including ZEV autonomous vehicles
  • California’s “Green City” initiative
    • Includes operation of ZEV car sharing services, zero emission transit applications and zero emission freight transport projects.
    • Selection of the city will be made by VW et al., in consultation with appropriate local authorities in CA.

Public Comment:

  • Within 15 days after the Effective Date, VW et al. shall submit to EPA for review and approval a National ZEV Outreach Plan that includes a description of how they will provide States, municipal governments, Tribes and federal agencies with notice and opportunities to provide suggestions, observations and offers of assistance or support for actions they may take under the National ZEV Investment Plan.

VW “Clean Diesel” Consent Decree: Recap

Timing and Next Steps

  • 30-day public comment period on Consent Decree ends August 5, 2016.
  • Governors’ Offices and Tribal Governments must do the following:
    • File Certification Form to become Beneficiaries, no later than 60 days after the Trust Effective Date
    • Submit a Beneficiary Mitigation Plan no later than 30 days after being deemed a Beneficiary
  • Stakeholders, local government fleet operators and other interested parties should start working with Governor’s offices and relevant planning agencies as soon as possible, to discuss potential project ideas and partnering opportunities.
  • Selection of Trustee for Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund ($2.7 Billion)
    • Not later than 30 days after the Effective date, California, the States and Puerto Rico and Indian tribes must confer with each other and submit to the U.S. a list of 3-5 recommended trustee candidates. The U.S. may consider additional trustee candidates.
    • The U.S. will file a motion with the Court requesting that the Court select and appoint a trustee from among the recommended candidates.

For more information:

What are the current and future light-duty vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards

October 3, 2016 by Clean Cities

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), light-duty vehicles (LDVs) emit nearly 60% of transportation-related GHG emissions and use more than half of all petroleum transportation fuel in the United States. In 1975, Congress enacted the Energy Conservation and Policy Act, which directed the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to implement the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program. The goal of the CAFE program is to reduce national energy consumption through fuel economy improvements. Specifically, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as part of DOT, develops annual fuel economy requirements for new passenger cars and light-duty trucks. Fuel economy is measured based on the average mileage a vehicle travels per gallon of gasoline, or gallon of gasoline equivalent for other fuels.

In 2009, President Obama announced a new national program to harmonize fuel economy standards with GHG emissions standards for all new light-duty cars and trucks sold in the United States. Under this program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) develops GHG emissions standards that correspond with NHTSA CAFE standards for each model year (MY). Thus far, the EPA and NHTSA have implemented the program in two parts, beginning with MYs 2012 to 2016 and followed by MYs 2017 to 2025. GHG emissions and CAFE standards have become increasingly stringent from one MY to the next.

In the final rule that established the coordinated standards for MYs 2017 to 2025, the EPA and NHTSA committed to perform a midterm evaluation (MTE) to (i) determine whether any changes should be made to the GHG emissions standards for MY 2022 to 2025, and (ii) set final CAFE standards for those MYs. This past July, the EPA and NHTSA completed the first step of the MTE with their issuance of a draft technical assessment report. For more information on the MTE, please see the EPA Midterm Evaluation of Light-Duty Vehicle GHG Emissions Standards page (https://www3.epa.gov/otaq/climate/mte.htm) and the NHTSA Midterm Evaluation for Light-Duty CAFE page (http://www.nhtsa.gov/Laws+&+Regulations/CAFE+-+Fuel+Economy/ld-cafe-midterm-evaluation-2022-25).

NHTSA CAFE Standards

NHTSA determines CAFE standards based on each vehicle’s size, or its footprint, which is essentially the distance between where each of its tires touches the ground. In general, the larger the vehicle is, the less stringent the fuel economy target will be. NHTSA then calculates each manufacturer’s fleet-wide compliance obligation, which is weighted based on vehicle sales (e.g., if 15% of a manufacturer’s sales are one model, that model gets a “weight” of 0.15 in average fuel economy calculation), each vehicle’s footprint, and the volume of vehicles the manufacturer actually produces.

Based on previous MY sales, NHTSA estimates that by MY 2025, passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks will need to meet an estimated combined average fuel economy of at least 48.7 to 49.7 miles per gallon. This estimate is subject to change based on the actual individual manufacturer fleet composition and production volumes. To view the annual standards, please refer to page 4 of the NHTSA CAFE Regulations for MY 2017 and Beyond fact sheet (http://www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/rulemaking/pdf/cafe/CAFE_2017-25_Fact_Sheet.pdf).

EPA GHG Emissions Standards

Similar to the NHTSA CAFE standards, the EPA also uses the footprint-based approach to determine carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions standards in grams per mile (g/mi) for each vehicle manufacturer. The EPA GHG emissions requirements are linked to the CAFE standards, and are also based on individual manufacturer fleet and production volumes. The EPA’s passenger car standards call for CO2 emissions reductions of 5% per year from MY 2017 to 2025. Light-duty trucks will have a bit more time to adjust to the standards, beginning with a 3.5% reduction per year from MY 2017 to MY 2021, then ramping up to a 5% reduction per year from MY 2022 to MY 2025. Refer to page 4 of the EPA GHG Emissions Standards for MY 2017-2025 fact sheet (https://www3.epa.gov/otaq/climate/documents/420f12051.pdf) to see the projected CO2 emissions targets.

Compliance

Manufacturers can meet these standards in a variety of ways. In addition to making direct improvements to vehicle components (e.g., engines and transmission efficiency, light-weighting), manufacturers may also achieve compliance by generating credits. First, manufacturers are required to calculate average fleet-wide tailpipe CO2 emissions and average fleet-wide fuel economy. These values serve as the baseline to which any additional earned credits can be added. The regulation also offers incentives to encourage advanced vehicle technologies.

These credits and incentives include:

  • Air Conditioning and Off-Cycle Improvements (EPA and NHTSA): Manufacturers can earn credits from efforts such as air conditioning efficiency improvements, as well as from off-cycle technologies that result in real-world benefits, like engine start-stop or solar panels on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).
  • Advanced Technology Vehicles (EPA Only): The EPA regulation also includes incentives to encourage the production of advanced technology vehicles. For MYs 2017 to 2021, manufacturers that produce all-electric vehicles, PHEVs, compressed natural gas vehicles, and fuel cell electric vehicles may “count” these vehicles as more than one vehicle in their emissions compliance calculations.
  • Hybrid Electric Full-Size Pickups (EPA and NHTSA): Manufacturers are encouraged to produce a certain percentage of full-size pickup trucks that are hybrid electric vehicles, as they will receive compliance credits for doing so.

For more information on LDV GHG emissions and CAFE standards, please refer to the following resources:

Stay tuned for next month’s Question of the Month, where we will delve into the medium- and heavy-duty engine and vehicle standards.

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

Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition 2016 Spring Recap

September 26, 2016 by Clean Cities

The Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition has been keeping busy, working to maintain its status as Central Florida’s leading alternative fuel technologies and vehicle advocates.  In February, Central Florida Clean Cities met virtually before a board at DOE headquarters comprised of Clean Cities Regional Managers, DOE labs personnel, and other program participants.  During this meeting, the coalition presented on its various alternative fuel and emissions reductions programs and partners, reaffirming its commitment to the Central Florida region with its many sustainability projects.  The Department of Energy has once again accepted our pledge, officially redesignating the coalition as a Clean Cities Coalition for the next three years.

The 2015 Clean Cities Annual Report was submitted in March and reflected the cumulative efforts of our Central Florida region, calculating the emissions reductions of Central Florida Clean Cities’ partner fleets.  In 2015, regional fleet managers report a cumulative 4,641,614 gallons of gasoline equivalent reductions, which means a GHG emissions reduction of almost 26,000 tons (a record high for Central Florida).  The majority of these reductions were achieved by local fleets adopting alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure.  Congratulations, Clean Cities partners, and thank you for doing your part in enhancing transportation in our region.

Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition also did its part in attending various energy and alternative fuel vehicle conferences since the start of the year.  For instance, coalition representatives participated in the 2016 Energy Solutions Conference.  Held March 23-24, it was a sequel to the highly successful Virtual Conferences held in 2013 and 2012.  It was a Simulcast—a virtual event accessed by any computer or mobile device as well as in person at the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa, FL.  The event featured presentations on energy options and choices, both now and in the future, with recognized experts from across the country speaking on topics such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, transportation planning, and more.  On Thursday, March 24, Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition Coordinator Colleen Kettles moderated a panel on Clean Cities and Alternative Fuel Vehicles, attended by representatives from various vehicle manufacturers, utilities, and clean cities stakeholders.  To learn more about this event, please visit the Energy Solutions Conference website at http://conference.energysmartplanning.org/home.html.

Next, Drive Electric Florida (DEF) hosted its first 2016 meeting in Jacksonville on Monday, April 4 at the newly constructed North Florida Regional Transportation Management Center.  This state-of-the-art center opened last November, culminating a 12 year partnership between the North Florida TPO, the Florida Dept. of Transportation, and the Florida Highway Patrol to work towards safe and efficient travel in the Northeast Florida area.  The meeting featured speakers on industry updates, utility PEV updates, EV outreach events, and DEF committee reports.  This included a report on the newly formed Drive Electric Florida Workplace Charging (WPC) Committee, which first started meeting in early 2016.  Chaired by Peter King of Jacksonville Electric Authority and staffed by the Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition, the committee is in the process of pledging to be a Workplace Charging Challenge Ambassador, working on behalf of DOE to assist local businesses with WPC adoption.  To learn more about Drive Electric Florida or the Workplace Charging Challenge, please visit the DEF website:  http://driveelectricflorida.org/.

Melbourne-Train-the-Trainer-2Central Florida Clean Cities then kicked off its First Responders Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Safety Training program in Melbourne on April 19.  This was the first of many “train the trainers” sessions, during which local first responder trainers are taught how to conduct workshops with their teams on approaching AFV collisions, particularly for propane, CNG/LNG, and electric vehicles.  This program will continue throughout the year with scheduled trainings pending in Tampa, Ocala, Broward County, and Jacksonville.

On April 20, intern Shauna Basques spoke on her year’s work with the Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition in the Clean Cities University Workforce Development Program’s end of semester presentation.  Busy staffing the Drive Electric Florida Workplace Charging Committee and assisting Coordinator Colleen Kettles with program projects and events, Shauna continued her work throughout the summer, advancing alternative fuel vehicle adoption.

2016-NASA_KSC-Earth-Day-EventCentral Florida Clean Cities also partnered with the Florida Solar Energy Center to present on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and alternative fuel vehicle solutions at the Kennedy Space Center/NASA’s Earth Day celebration, April 21 – 22.  On the event’s first day, presenters met with KSC/NASA personnel, displaying a Chevy Volt, a Nissan LEAF, and two solar ovens.  On the second day, these displays were moved into the Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor Complex, near the Rocket Garden, where presenters were able to meet with KSC visitors and staff alike, speaking on the benefits of AFVs and alternative energy sources.

EnergyWhiz took over the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa, FL on Saturday, May 14.  Hundreds of students participated in renewable energy events, including a solar car sprint, an energy transfer machine competition, a solar energy cook-off, a display of EVs and the Electrathon.  For more information on the event, please visit http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/education/k-12/energywhiz_olympics/index.htm.

2016-Energy-Whiz-ElectrathonFinally, we attended the US DOE Clean Cities Southeast Regional Meeting in Jacksonville, May 18-20, 2016, where CFCCC Coordinator Colleen Kettles made a presentation on the FAST Act and its EV Corridor implications. On May 24, she traveled to NREL in Golden Colorado for a Clean Cities meeting on advanced technology vehicles and their impact on Clean Cities activities.

Although we’re done with spring, we’ll be reporting back on our summer events soon.  In the meantime, check out the upcoming 2016 EV Transportation and Technology Summit at http://www.EVsummit.org.  Hosted at the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa, FL over October 17-20, the summit will feature presentations and industry panels on electric vehicle transportation planning, policy building, and future technologies designed to promote electric vehicle advancement.  Register now!

Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Tire Strategies to Save Fuel

June 21, 2016 by Clean Cities
What vehicle tire strategies and technologies are available to save fuel?

It’s easy to understand why tires are essential to a vehicle, but tires also play an important role in your vehicle’s fuel economy. Tires affect resistance on the road and, therefore, how hard the engine needs to work to move the vehicle. By maintaining proper tire inflation or investing in low rolling resistance or super-single tires, you can improve your vehicle’s fuel economy. Whether you drive a light-duty (LDV) or heavy-duty vehicle (HDV), there is a tire strategy or technology to help you increase your miles per gallon (mpg).

Proper Tire Inflation

Properly inflated tires increase fuel economy, last longer, and are safer. Oak Ridge National Laboratory estimates that you can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3% by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. In fact, under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by up to 0.3% for every one pound per square inch drop in pressure in all four tires. It is especially important to keep an eye on tire pressure in cold weather because when the air in the tire becomes cold, the tire pressure decreases.

You can find the proper tire pressure for your vehicle on a sticker located on the driver’s side doorjamb or in the owner’s manual. Also, check to see if your vehicle is equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), which will illuminate a dashboard light when the tire inflation in one, multiple, or all tires reaches a certain pressure threshold. Fleet managers, in particular, may consider using telematics with a TPMS to assist their drivers with maintenance. Even if a vehicle has a TPMS, however, it is still good practice to manually check your vehicle’s tire pressure in order to ensure all of your tires are properly inflated.

Low Rolling Resistance Tires

Rolling resistance is the energy lost from drag and friction of a tire as it rolls over a surface. This phenomenon is complex, and nearly all operating conditions can affect how much energy is lost. For conventional and hybrid electric passenger vehicles, it is estimated that about 3%-11% of their fuel is used just to overcome tire rolling resistance, whereas all-electric passenger vehicles can use around 22%-25% of their fuel for this purpose. For heavy trucks, this fuel consumption can be around 15%-30%.

Installing low rolling resistance tires can improve vehicle fuel economy by about 3% for LDVs and more than 10% for HDVs. In LDVs, a 10% decrease in rolling resistance can increase fuel efficiency by 1%-2%. Investing in low rolling resistance tires makes economic sense, as the fuel savings from the use of these tires over the life of the vehicle can pay for the additional cost of the fuel-efficient tires. Most new passenger vehicles are equipped with low rolling resistance tires, but make sure you keep rolling resistance in mind when shopping for replacement tires.

Super-Single Tires

Reducing vehicle drag can provide significant fuel economy improvements. One way HDVs can reduce drag is by replacing traditional dual tires with one super-single tire—also called a wide-base or single-wide. In Class-8 heavy-duty vehicles, this can save fuel by reducing vehicle weight and rolling resistance. A super-single tire is not as wide as two tires, so there is a slight aerodynamic benefit as well, further improving vehicle efficiency.

More Information

For more information, see the following pages:

For more information, contact:

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

 

 

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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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!

 

 

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