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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

What are the current and future medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards?

October 10, 2016 by Clean Cities

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/climate/documents/420f16044.pdf).

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.

Compliance Timeline

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 (technicalresponse@icfi.com) 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.

Compliance Timeline

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.

Compliance

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:

  • Advanced Technology Credits: Phase 1 of the program incentivizes manufacturers to produce advance technology vehicles and engines by effectively allowing manufacturers to “count” certain vehicle and engine types as more than one in their compliance calculations. This includes vehicles with hybrid powertrains and Rankine-cycle waste heat recovery systems, as well as plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). As the new Phase 2 standards are premised on some use of Rankine-cycle engines and hybrid powertrains, these technologies will not qualify as advanced technologies under Phase 2. From MY 2021 through MY 2027, advanced technology credits (with considerably higher multipliers) will only be offered for PEVs and FCEVs.
  • Innovative Technology and Off-Cycle Credits: Both Phases 1 and 2 of the program allow manufacturers to earn credits for off-cycle technologies that result in benefits that are not captured in certification testing procedures.
  • Early Credit Multipliers: Phase 1 of the program enabled manufacturers to earn credits for early compliance. Phase 2 will not include early credits.

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

technicalresponse@icfi.com

800-254-6735

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

 

 

Florida Power & Light Achieves Key Emissions Reductions with Biodiesel

May 12, 2016 by Clean Cities

“Powered by Biodiesel” decals adorn Florida Power & Light Company’s (FPL) diesel vehicles as they traverse Florida and beyond. The signage highlights the key role this advanced biofuel is playing in the company’s sustainability strategy.

“FPL operates one of the largest “green fleets” in the country, with approximately 1,840 biodiesel-powered vehicles and 570 electric and hybrid electric vehicles – allowing us to reduce emissions and pass on fuel savings to our customers,” said Patti Earley, FPL Fleet Fueling Operations Specialist and the newest member of the Biodiesel Ambassadors program supported by the National Biodiesel Board. “In 2015 alone, our fleet saved 684,000 gallons of petroleum fuel and prevented more than 6,600 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.”

FPL’s journey to revolutionize its fleet started in 2006 when it became the first energy company to place into service a medium-duty hybrid-electric bucket truck. Today the company’s fleet includes both electric and hybrid trucks that use up to 60 percent less fuel and reduce exhaust emissions up to 90 percent.

fpl_biodiesel“At FPL, we pride ourselves on being good stewards of the environment and have developed a comprehensive sustainability strategy,” she said. “Biodiesel is the perfect fit because it’s renewable, sustainable and cleaner burning – there is no downside,” she said.

Earley explained that FPL vehicles need reliable fuel because they are constantly put to the test by working in extremely challenging environments. FPL crews drive the trucks all over the Sunshine State, on-road and off-road, often traveling up to 300 miles a day in extreme heat. They also plow through swampy terrain in the Florida Everglades or bull across inaccessible roads to restore power.

“Our 1,840 biodiesel vehicles have accumulated more than 100 million miles using B20 without encountering any biodiesel-related issues,” said Earley. FPL’s vehicle evaluations have demonstrated no appreciable change in fuel economy, engine wear, or driver acceptance with biodiesel.

FPL purchases more than 500,000 gallons of B100 annually. While the company primarily powers its fleet with B20, it’s also used blends of up to B35. “Because biodiesel is a drop-in fuel, there is no infrastructure issues involved, making it very easy to use,” Earley added.

Biodiesel on the Road

When Superstorm Sandy devastated much of the East Coast in 2012, FPL crews headed north to help restore power. With fuel in short supply, FPL crews took transport trailers full of B20 on the road with them. They not only fueled their own vehicles with B20, but pumped it into a variety other utility vehicles that needed fuel.

“No one really knew the difference,” said Earley. “But we knew that we had fuel we could count on that also happens to be better for the environment.”

About FPL

FPL provides energy to more than 4.8 million customers in Florida, with its fleet of 3,800 vehicles covering 27,000 square miles of service territory. In 1999, the company began experimenting with B20 in diesel vehicles in two locations. Since then, the biodiesel program has achieved much success, surpassing expectations.

In 2010, Ford Motor Company asked FPL to participate in an unprecedented “extreme-duty” B20 testing program with 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty® diesels. Positive results help spur the decision to make all 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty® diesel pickups fully compatible with B20.

In 2008, FPL earned the National Biodiesel Board’s annual Eye on Biodiesel Award for its leadership as a biodiesel champion. FPL fields about a dozen calls a month from others interested in transitioning to biodiesel, and educates them about use of the fuel.


 

The National Biodiesel Board is funded in part by the United Soybean Board and state soybean board checkoff programs.

For more information about biodiesel visit www.biodiesel.org.

Question of the Month: What are the various vehicle weight classes and why do they matter?

April 22, 2016 by Clean Cities

How do I know which Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard applies to my vehicle? What are the state emissions testing requirements for my vehicle? Would a medium-duty vehicle qualify for the plug-in electric drive motor vehicle tax credit? To answer these questions, you must first understand the specifics of the vehicle weight classifications to determine which laws, regulations, and incentives may apply to your vehicle or fleet.

You may recall learning about federal agencies and vehicle classes from our February Question of the Month. However, each agency defines vehicle classes differently. So this month, we will dig deeper into the specific vehicle weight classes set by three federal agencies. This guide will help you identify a Class 1 vehicle to a Heavy-Duty Vehicle 8b, and everything in between.

U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

imageThe FHWA defines vehicles as Class 1 through 8, the most common categorization used in the fleet industry. The classes are based on a vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), which is the maximum operating weight of the vehicle, measured in pounds (lbs.). GVWR is set by the manufacturer and includes the total vehicle weight plus fluids, passengers, and cargo. The FHWA’s vehicle classes (listed below) are used in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (e.g., as it relates to the National Highway Freight Program). The vehicle classes are also used by certain states to determine vehicle road and fuel taxes, access to roadways, and idle reduction and emissions reduction requirements.

  • Light-Duty Vehicle: less than (<) 10,000 lbs.
    • Class 1: <6,000 lbs.
      • Example vehicle: Sedan or sport-utility vehicle (SUV)
    • Class 2: 6,001 – 10,000 lbs.
      • Example vehicle: Utility van
  • Medium-Duty Vehicle: 10,001 – 26,000 lbs.
    • Class 3: 10,001 – 14,000 lbs.
      • Example vehicle: Mini bus
    • Class 4: 14,001 – 16,000 lbs.
      • Example vehicle: Step van
    • Class 5: 16,001 – 19,500 lbs.
      • Example vehicle: Bucket truck
    • Class 6: 19,501 – 26,000 lbs.
      • Example vehicle: School bus
  • Heavy-Duty Vehicle: greater than (>) 26,000 lbs.
    • Class 7: 26,001 – 33,000 lbs.
      • Example vehicle: City transit bus
    • Class 8: >33,000 lbs.
      • Example vehicle: Refuse truck

For more vehicle examples, see the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) Types of Vehicles by Weight Class chart.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA uses the following categories to certify vehicles based on emissions standards, in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s CAFE standards to regulate fuel economy. The light-duty vehicle category is also used in the Energy Policy Act vehicle aquisition requirements. Note that there is a distinction between vehicles and engines in the EPA’s classification because there are separate emissions standards for each.

Passenger Vehicles

  • Light-Duty Vehicle: <8,500 lbs.
  • Medium-Duty Vehicle: 8,501 – 10,000 lbs.

Heavy-Duty Vehicles and Engines

  • General Trucks:
    • Light-Duty Trucks: <8,500 lbs.
    • Heavy-Duty Vehicle Heavy-Duty Engine: >8,500 lbs.
  • Heavy-Duty Trucks:
    • Light-Duty Truck 1 and 2: <6,000 lbs.
      • Split is based on loaded vehicle weight (LVW), where:
        • Light-Duty Truck 1: <3,750 lbs. LVW
        • Light-Duty Truck 2: 3,751 – 6,000 lbs. LVW
    • Light-Duty Truck 3 and 4: 6,001 – 8,500 lbs.
      • Split is based on adjusted loaded vehicle weight (ALVW, the average of the GVWR and the curb weight, which is the weight of the vehicle without passengers or cargo), where:
        • Light-Duty Truck 3: <5,750 lbs. ALVW
        • Light-Duty Truck 4: >5,750 lbs. adjusted ALVW
    • Heavy-Duty Vehicle 2b: 8,501 – 10,000 lbs.
    • Heavy-Duty Vehicle 3: 10,001 – 14,000 lbs.
    • Heavy-Duty Vehicle 4: 14,001 – 16,000 lbs.
    • Heavy-Duty Vehicle 5: 16,001 – 19,500 lbs.
    • Heavy-Duty Vehicle 6: 19,501 – 26,000 lbs.
    • Heavy-Duty Vehicle 7: 26,001 – 33,000 lbs.
    • Heavy-Duty Vehicle 8a: 33,001 – 60,000 lbs.
    • Heavy-Duty Vehicle 8b: >60,000 lbs.
  • Heavy-Duty Engines:
    • Light Light-Duty Truck: <6,000 lbs.
    • Heavy Light-Duty Truck: 6,001 – 8,500 lbs.
    • Light Heavy-Duty Engine: 8,501 – 19,500 lbs.
    • Medium Heavy-Duty Engine: 19,501 – 33,000 lbs.
    • Heavy Heavy-Duty Engine Urban Bus: >33,000 lbs.

U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau uses the following Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey classes to measure how many private and commercial trucks operate within the United States.

  • Light-Duty Vehicle: <10,000 lbs.
  • Medium-Duty Vehicle: 10,000 – 19,500 lbs.
  • Light Heavy-Duty Vehicle: 19,001 – 26,000 lbs.
  • Heavy-Duty Vehicle: >26,000 lbs.

Looking for a more visual comparison of the various classifications? Check out the AFDC Vehicle Weight Classes and Categories chart.

Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team
technicalresponse@icfi.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

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protec Fuel/Central Florida Clean Cities Green Fleets Forum 2015

October 28, 2015 by Clean Cities

On October 28th Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the Department Agriculture will be in Kissimmee, Florida will announce the 100 million dollar Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership grant for E85 Flex Fuel Gasoline and higher ethanol blended gasoline.

This is the largest renewable fuels grant in history by the Department of Agriculture and includes public Fleet Managers that qualify for the program.

Click image to view larger

Click image to view larger

This grant and other sustainability topics will be on the agenda at a luncheon sponsored by Protec Fuels and hosted by the Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition on Thursday, November 5, 2015, in Orlando (Click here to view event page). The program includes  speakers from the Renewable Fuels Association, NASA and the Florida Fleet Manager who was recognized in June at the White House by the President of The United States for his Public/ Private Partnership.

Think funding plus emerging green technologies that have a return on investment.

This Protec sponsored luncheon is reserved for the first 50 Public Fleet Managers that RSVP. These are one-time-only presentations by the best Fleet minds in Florida and your opportunity to network with them. We only learn from the best.

PLACE:     Orlando, Florida (directions provided with registration)

TIME:       November 5th 2015. 10:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M.

This unique meeting is FREE to qualified Public Fleet Managers and sustainability officers.  Space is limited so reserve your seat now.

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