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What are state and local governments doing to incentivize alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs)?

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 creditor 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 attechnicalresponse@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

All In: Ford Launches Plug-In Hybrid Van Transit Project

Ford Motor Co. is launching a major project designed to help improve air quality as the automaker accelerates its electrification plans with 13 new global electrified vehicles (EVs) scheduled for introduction in the next five years.

The project, supported by Transport for London, features a 12-month trial of 20 new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Transit Custom vans that reduce local emissions by running solely on electric power for the majority of city trips, such as deliveries or maintenance work.

Commercial vehicles in London make 280,000 journeys on a typical weekday, traveling a total distance of 8 million miles. Vans represent 75% of peak freight traffic, with over 7,000 vehicles per hour driving at peak times in central London alone.

Ford will provide the 20 PHEV Transits to a range of commercial fleets across London, including Transport for London’s fleet, to explore how such vans can contribute to cleaner air targets, while also boosting productivity for operators in urban conditions, the toughest working environment for vehicles. As reported, the project is supported financially by the U.K. government-funded Advanced Propulsion Centre.

“Ford is the No. 1 commercial vehicle brand in Europe, and it’s now going electric. Teaming up with our London partners, we will also be able to trial software and telematics with enormous potential to reduce emissions and costs in the city,” says Jim Farley, chairman and CEO for Ford of Europe. “This new type of partnership demonstrates our evolution to both an auto and mobility company. We have lots of work to do, but everyone is so energized by this breakthrough opportunity.”

Ford says it is focusing its EV plan on its areas of strength – electrifying its most popular, high-volume commercial vehicles, trucks, SUVs and performance vehicles to make them even more capable, productive and fun to drive, plus more fuel efficient.

Scheduled to launch in autumn this year, the fleet trial is part of Ford’s commitment to working with major cities around the world to tackle their local transport challenges and help people and goods move more easily.

“The freight sector’s transition to ultra-low-emission vehicles is central to cleaning up London’s toxic air,” says Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. “Transport for London continues to lead by example by increasing the number of its own vehicles that are electric and will find the data from these trials an invaluable resource for the LoCITY program, which encourages the uptake of low-emission commercial transport.”

According to the automaker, the Transit Custom PHEV vans in the London trial are an advanced design that allows them to be charged with mains electricity for zero-emission journeys, while featuring an efficient onboard combustion engine for extended range when longer trips are required. Ford says it is the first volume manufacturer to offer PHEV technology in this segment of the van market.

The trial fleet will operate in everyday use across a cross-section of city-based businesses, using a Ford telematics system to collect data on the vehicles’ financial, operational and environmental performance to help understand how the benefits of electrified vehicles can be maximized.

Development of the 20 Transit Custom PHEV fleet trial vehicles has been supported by a grant from the Advanced Propulsion Centre for 4.7 million British pounds. The vans are being designed and engineered at Ford’s Dunton, U.K., technical center and at Prodrive Advanced Technology in Banbury, U.K., with program support from Revolve Technologies.

“This new project, with nearly 5 million [British pounds] of government money, has secured work here in the U.K. and demonstrates our commitment to not only reducing carbon emissions, but to work with industry on developing next-generation technology that will make a real difference to people’s lives,” says Nick Hurd, Climate Change and Industry Minister. “This government will continue to work with the auto sector as we develop a comprehensive Industrial Strategy that will increase productivity, create high-skilled jobs and ensure sustainable economic growth.”

The Transit Custom PHEV van is planned for commercial introduction in 2019 – part of the automaker’s $4.5 billion investment in EVs by 2020 as it expands to be an auto and a mobility company, including leading in electrified and autonomous vehicles and providing new mobility solutions.

As reported, the Transit Custom PHEV is just one of 13 new global electrified vehicles Ford is launching in the next five years. This total includes a fully electric SUV with an estimated range of at least 300 miles, a high-volume autonomous hybrid vehicle designed for commercial ride hailing or ride sharing to debut in North America in 2021, and a hybrid version of the iconic Mustang sports car. Ford also has a memorandum of understanding with several other automakers to create the highest-powered charging network for EVs in Europe.

New Legislation to Renew, Expand Texas Emissions Reduction Plan

Texas Sen. Craig Estes, R-District 30, recently filed legislation that would renew and expand the Texas Emission Reduction Plan (TERP), continuing the plan’s natural gas vehicle and station funding.

As reported, TERP is the state’s flagship program for lowering ozone emissions to bring Texas into compliance with the national ambient air quality standards issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the federal Clean Air Act. The EPA recently tightened these standards, so the state will use its available tools, including TERP, to achieve compliance.

“Texas has significantly improved air quality over the last 30 years, and this bill will continue that progress without damaging our economy,” says Estes.

Established in 2001, TERP contains 14 different programs: Eight offer incentives to convert or replace dirty engines with cleaner ones, three promote energy efficiency, and three fund air quality research and monitoring. Five of the incentive grant programs are designed to encourage the use of vehicles fueled by alternative fuels that generally have fewer tailpipe emissions than gasoline and diesel.

One such program is the Governmental Alternative Fuel Fleet Grant Program, which encourages state fleets with more than 15 vehicles to purchase new alternative fuel vehicles.

These alternative fuel programs will expire in 2017 and 2018 if they are not renewed this session. The remainder of TERP will expire in 2019 if not extended.

Estes continues, “I appreciate Lt. Governor Patrick prioritizing Senate Bill 26. We, as legislators, have a duty to ensure that our children, grandchildren and future generations have both clean air and a strong economy. This bill keeps Texas on track to have both.”

Drayage Loan Program for Harris and Surrounding Counties

Drayage Grant Call for Projects Now Open

Grants are now available to be combined with Drayage Loans.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the more than 3,000 diesel-powered port (drayage) trucks that move shipping containers at the Port of Houston account for 35% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions at the Port. NOx is a primary precursor to ground-level ozone, which can cause asthma attacks, lung inflammation, and other respiratory illnesses.

The Drayage Loan Program helps reduce NOx emissions from drayage trucks by replacing older, dirtier trucks with newer, cleaner models. Independent truck owners and trucking companies can apply for an emissions reduction incentive grant through the H-GAC Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program to partially offset the cost of a new truck. Qualifying applicants may receive low-interest loans to finance the remaining balance between the cost of the new vehicle and the emissions reduction incentive grant.

Created as a joint effort between H-GAC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EDF, and Port of Houston Authority, this program has replaced over 200 trucks and reduced Houston-area NOx pollution by over 150 tons since 2010.

How to Apply

Get started by filling out our Pre-Qualification Form. If you have questions on the Drayage Loan Program, please contact H-GAC staff as follows:

Telephone:    832-681-2588                           Mailing Address:   Drayage Loan Program, H-GAC
Email:           drayageloan@h-gac.com                                      PO Box 22777
Internet:       www.mysolutionis.com                                         Houston TX 77227-2777

How is the propane industry improving the customer fueling experience through new technology?

As propane vehicle technology becomes more advanced, propane dispensing infrastructure has evolved along with it. In particular, the propane industry is focusing much of its attention on enhancing the customer fueling experience by installing propane dispensers that are dedicated for vehicle fueling, and by upgrading the propane nozzle technology. The increasingly popular European-style, quick-connect nozzle simplifies the customer fueling experience by connecting to the fuel tank through a snap or quick-connect attachment, rather than a conventional threaded connection. Only after the nozzle is safely connected to the fuel tank will it begin to dispense fuel. This attachment eliminates the threading connection necessary with the conventional Acme nozzle, making propane fueling as easy as conventional gasoline fueling.

With the new nozzle, fueling can be completed using only one hand and without wearing protective goggles and gloves. The quick-connect attachment also results in lower emissions, as it more effectively prevents the release of fuel vapor and fumes. Additionally, the nozzle’s design minimizes the amount of fuel that escapes when the vehicle is done fueling and the connector is detached from the vehicle.

There are many affordable quick-connect nozzle options available on the United States market that meet UL 125 certification requirements (https://standardscatalog.ul.com/standards/en/standard_125). Manufacturers of these UL-certified nozzles include Stäubli and ELAFLEX. These European-style connectors are priced around $1,200, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (https://cleancities.energy.gov/files/u/news_events/document/document_url/96/2015_strategic_planning_propane.pdf). The cost of the connection adapters, or fill valves, required for current fueling infrastructure to be compatible with the European-style nozzle, ranges from $50 to $60. Note that the installation of a new fueling nozzle should always be performed by a qualified technician in order to ensure that it is completed properly.

Many propane retailers are optimistic about the European-style, quick-connect nozzle. In fact, the Propane Education Research Council (PERC) highlights its benefits and encourages the use of this connector through its Quick-Connect Nozzle Incentive Program (http://www.propanecouncil.org/Our-Work/Our-Work-With-Marketers/Incentive-Programs/Quick-Connect-Nozzle-Incentive-Program/). Moving forward, the quick-connect nozzle is a significant step towards streamlining and improving the propane fueling experience.

 

For more information about propane and related fueling infrastructure, see the following resources:

LSCFA Helps Hold NFPA First Responder Alt Fuel Class

Feb. 1, 2017

LSCFA  recently partnered with West Virginia Clean Cities to hold one of numerous National Fire Preparedness Association (NFPA) taught First Responder alt fuel classes across the United States, 55 persons from as far away as Abilene registered for the Train the Trainer class on alt fuel vehicles held in Temple, Tx.   Taught by James Plaster and Justin Emory with the National Fire Protection Association, the day long class safety training class presented information on how to identify alt fuel vehicle types, fuel qualities, cylinder specs and safety features, how to identify the different alt fuel  vehicles according to  manufacturer, as well as  general procedures and  considerations for alt fuel vehicles crash response and  extrication .  As Hybrids, electric vehicles ad plug in vehicles are a large component of our on road traffic, emphasis was given to  extractions and crashes involving Hybrids and electric vehicles, damaged high voltage batteries,  the various types of batteries  found in these vehicles and how to identify.

The information and  manual provided vehicle specific information drawn from manufacturer Emergency Response guides, and guidance on initial response procedures and situations such as vehicle fire, submersion and spills.

A natural gas overview was provided by Dmitri Tisnoi –  TDIndustires, our   lunch sponsor. Demonstration vehicles included a Nissan LEAF from nearby BATES Nissan, dedicated LPG ½ ton trucks from CleanFuel USA and the City of Temple,  a CNG refuse truck from the City of Temple, and a bi-fuel CNG truck  provided by CNG4America.

Stacy Neef, Exec. Dir.
Lone Star Clean Fuels Alliance

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