The numbers are in for the amounts of Grants and Incentives that will be available through the Texas Emission Reduction Plan (TERP). In fiscal year 2016, $118,124,844 will be appropriated and $118,138,163 in fiscal year 2017. The estimated allocation for these funds by program are listed in the chart below. To find out how to apply please visit the TERP website.
|Regional Air Monitoring Program||$3,000,000||$3,000,000|
|Emissions Reducation Incentive Grants||$61,733,913||$61,741,371|
|Texas Clean Fleet Program (minimum)||$5,906,242||$5,906,908|
|Texas Clean School Bus (maximum)||$4,724,994||$4,725,527|
|Texas Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program (minimum)||$18,899,975||$18,902,106|
|Clean Transportation Triangle Program (maximum)||$5,906,242||$5,906,908|
|Alternaitve Fueling Facilities Program||$5,906,242||$5,906,908|
|New Technology Implementation Grants (maximum)||$3,543,745||$3,544,145|
|Health Effects Study (maximum)||$200,000||$200,000|
|Energy Systems Laboritory||$216,000||$216,000|
|Drayage Truck Incentive Program||$2,362,497||$2,362,763|
Dallas, TX (PRWEB) June 30, 2015
School transportation directors from all over Texas converged on Dallas for the Texas Association of Pupil Transportation (TAPT) Conference at the Hilton Anatole this weekend. The Propane Council of Texas (ProCOT) was on hand to educate transportation officials on propane cutting-edge technology to help districts lower school bus emissions.
Propane school buses reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, produce fewer smog-forming hydrocarbon emissions, and do not expose children to harmful particulate matter found in diesel exhaust. Particulate matter can increase breathing-related issues and worsen asthma.
“Propane autogas is a smart choice for Texas schools,” said Jackie Mason, Educational & Marketing Director for the Propane Council of Texas. “Not only does propane lower harmful emissions, but it reduces fuel costs and has a proven safety record in Texas.”
Even with the low cost of motor fuel, propane autogas still offers very significant savings over diesel for school districts looking to make the switch, and it’s found right here in our own backyard. Texas produces nearly half the nation’s propane and the U.S. is a net exporter of the domestic, cleaner-burning fuel.
“School districts have options. Top school bus manufacturers have responded to requests for greener buses, and they now produce propane buses, including Blue Bird, Collins Bus Corporation, Thomas Built Bus, and IC Bus,” says Mason.
There are nearly 2,500 school buses powered by propane operating in Texas. Over 70 school districts, including Arlington ISD, Conroe ISD, Houston ISD, and Eanes ISD in Austin are using propane alternative fuel buses. Dallas County Schools and Northside ISD in San Antonio host the largest propane powered school bus fleets in Texas.
For many school districts across the state, running propane-powered school buses and other vehicles on cleaner-burning autogas is a great way to help build greener schools and healthier budgets.
About the Propane Council of Texas
The Propane Council of Texas (ProCOT) is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 dedicated to educating the public and the propane industry on safety and on the newest clean-burning propane technologies. ProCOT is the state entity that represents the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), which was authorized by the U.S. Congress with the passage of the Propane Education and Research Act (PERA) of 1996. To find out more about propane autogas, visit FuelingTexas.com.
The Obama administration’s proposal Friday to slash medium- and heavy-duty vehicle emissions could transform the niche market of low-carbon haulers into a mainstream fleet. The standards, which target 18-wheelers, school buses and garbage trucks, will drive manufacturers to adopt the hybrid-electric systems, natural gas engines and other fuel-efficient technologies already in use on America’s roads.
“The new requirements are just going to make them more attractive. It’s going to drive the market further,” said Anne Tazewell, the transportation program manager at the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, which promotes alternative fuel use in the state.
Hundreds of U.S. cities in recent years have traded diesel engines for less polluting, more efficient models to drive down municipal energy expenses and improve neighborhood air quality. Cheap natural gas supplies, federal and state incentives, and – until recently – high petroleum prices drove local governments to buy natural gas-powered and hybrid-electric garbage trucks, school buses and maintenance equipment.
Autocar Co., an Indiana manufacturer, says 60 percent of the garbage trucks it makes now run on compressed natural gas (CNG), which is clear and odorless and stored in thick aluminum tanks. The company started making CNG models in 2005, as municipal leaders began searching for ways to cut costs and reduce toxic diesel fumes from slow-moving, idling refuse trucks and school buses. The average garbage truck gets just 2.8 miles per gallon and burns about 10,000 gallons of diesel each year; the typical U.S. driver, by comparison, uses around 400 gallons of gasoline a year.
“Our customers are telling us that big heavy trucks driving in neighborhoods are potentially disruptive, so they’re looking for ways to have a lighter impact,” Adam Burck, Autocar’s head of marketing, said. Autocar’s CNG garbage trucks have 23 percent lower tailpipe emissions compared to its diesel versions, which are equipped with advanced emissions-reduction technologies. The company’s hybrid-electric E3 model has 45 percent lower emissions compared to a standard refuse truck, Burck said.
In the last decade, the number of natural gas-fueled garbage and recycling trucks in the U.S. has grown sixfold, with around 8,800 of the vehicles on America’s roads today, the Natural Gas Vehicles for America organization (NGV America) reported. Thousands more buses, trailers, street sweepers and other large vehicles use hybrid-electric engines, nonpetroleum biofuels and other alternative fuels.
Around 163,000 medium- and heavy-duty trucks used alternative fuels in 2011, according to the Energy Information Administration’s most recent estimates.
Bringing technologies like these mainstream is critical for reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, experts say. Large vehicles account for about 20 percent of the emissions and oil use from the entire U.S. transportation sector, yet comprise only 5 percent of the vehicles on America’s roads, the Environmental Protection Agency said.
But so far, cleaner alternatives are only a small slice of the nationwide market for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
For natural gas alone, only about 6 percent of the nation’s 140,000 refuse trucks use the cleaner-burning fuel, while just over 1 percent of school buses run on natural gas, the NGV America report found. Lower-carbon models can cost tens of thousands of dollars more upfront than conventional trucks, while alternative fuel supplies — such as CNG stations or battery-charging hubs — aren’t widely available or convenient for many truck operators.
Natural Gas Vehicles for America
The recent plunge in U.S. oil prices — from above $100 a barrel last summer to around $60 a barrel today — has also reduced customers’ desires to switch to low-emissions models. Natural gas vehicle sales in particular fell by 6.5 percent in 2014 from the previous year in part because of cheaper oil, NGV America said.
The Obama administration’s proposed emissions rules could help stifle the effects of oil price swings and fickle consumer demand on clean-vehicle manufacturers, Tazewell said. “Right now we’re getting mixed signals … but in the long run, what’s good for our country is to diversify our fuel supplies and reduce emissions,” she said. “Having consistent policy is important for this.”
Under the proposed rules, semitrucks, large pickup trucks and vans, buses and work trucks for the model years 2021 through 2027 must achieve up to 24 percent lower carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption compared to equivalent models from 2018, the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a joint announcement Friday.
The standards are expected to slash emissions by 1 billion metric tons and cut fuel costs by about $170 billion over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the program. Friday’s proposal builds on the agencies’ first-ever federal standards for big trucks, announced in 2011, that apply to models built between 2014 and 2018. The Obama administration also requires light-duty passenger cars and trucks to double their fuel economy by 2025.
“Once upon a time, to be pro-environment you had to be anti-big vehicles. This rule will change that,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a Friday statement.
Burck said Autocar couldn’t comment directly on the EPA’s proposed emissions standards, or whether the limits might offer a boost to clean vehicle companies. “Anything that can lead to a cleaner environment and lower the use of fossil fuels is a positive thing for everybody,” he said. “We would be doing that in the absence of regulations.”
The American Trucking Associations, an industry group, offered cautious support for the forthcoming rules. “Fuel is an enormous expense for our industry — and carbon emissions carry an enormous cost for our planet,” Bill Graves, the organization’s president and CEO, said in a Friday statement. “So the potential for real cost savings and associated benefits of this rule are there.”
But he expressed concern that the pending EPA rules could force truck and engine manufacturers to adopt expensive or unreliable technologies in order to meet the emissions limits. Companies “will need adequate time to develop solutions to meet these new standards,” Graves said.
Chet France, a consultant for the Environmental Defense Fund and former senior EPA official, said the emissions standards should be more aggressive in order to spur innovation in vehicle technologies. France worked on the EPA’s first phase of standards of medium- and heavy-duty trucks, as well as fuel economy limits for light-duty cars.
He said the Obama administration should push trucks to curb emissions to 40 percent, a more stringent target than the 24 percent proposed Friday. “A 40 percent reduction will encourage creative ways to meet the standards,” he said. “Alternative fuels is one of them.”
Oil Price Volatility and the Continuing Case for Natural Gas as a Transportation Fuel
The recent decline in world crude oil prices is bringing new attention to the factors that drive the price and stability of transportation fuels. This paper provides a historical and forward-looking perspective on oil prices, as well as those for gasoline, diesel and natural gas fuels. It also discusses the variety of factors that drive the market price for these fuels. In doing so, the research examines several key questions:
Our analysis reveals a compelling case for the continued transition to natural gas-powered vehicles (NGVs), especially among commercial and government fleets for whom transportation costs represent a significant portion of their budgets. The long-term stability and low prices for natural gas relative to oil are likely to remain for many years – perhaps even decades, based on well-documented economic models.
Volatility and short-term declines in crude oil and related gasoline and diesel prices mask the underlying long-term oil supply-demand imbalance. Ignoring this reality and deferring investment in NGVs only delays the economic benefits and long-term fuel price stability that only natural gas can deliver as a transportation fuel.
The recent upheaval in international oil markets has led to a steep decline in trading prices, as reflected in the benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent oil price indices. In January of 2014, WTI closed as high as $98 a barrel but now is trading at less than $50 a barrel. 2014 oil prices peaked in June at $101 (WTI) and $111 (Brent).
As a consequence of the change in oil price, gasoline and diesel fuel prices have experienced steep declines as well. At their high points in 2014, the national average price for gasoline was $3.75 (April) and for diesel was $4.01 (March). As of January 5, 2015, average prices for gasoline and diesel had dropped to $2.21 and $3.13, respectively.
The chart below shows the change in price per barrel of oil compared to the barrel price equivalent for natural gas in recent years. Most noticeable is the period in late 2008 where prices “decoupled” as U.S. shale gas exploration significantly increased and massive natural gas reserves became recoverable. It is also important to note that even with the steep decline in oil prices, a significant barrel equivalent price advantage still exits for natural gas.
Why have oil prices declined and where is the price of oil headed over the next 12 months and in the long-term?
Currently, world-oil supply is outpacing world-demand for a number of reasons, many of which are well-known and include the significant U.S. production increases associated with hydraulic fracturing. Oil supplies began to overtake demand sometime around Q1 of 2012 and have remained firmly above demand since late 2013, largely because of economic stagnation in Europe and economic slowing in China. Demand for oil is still increasing but not as fast as was once forecasted. In short, when demand does not keep up with growing supply, prices decline.
Supply has reached historic levels, in part, spurred by recent $100 oil prices and the use of hydraulic fracturing to tap oil resources that were previously uneconomical to recover. In the past, large oil producing countries would cut back on supplies to offset declines in demand, but the Organization of Petroleum Export Countries (OPEC) has been unwilling or unable to limit production by its members. Furthermore, much of the recent growth in supply is outside of OPEC’s control.
There are also a variety of geopolitical factors that some analysts believe are influencing the price of oil (e.g., some believe the Saudi’s are trying to drive smaller oil producing countries and U.S. shale producers with higher costs out of the market). This analysis will leave those matters aside except to agree that world events and concerns over the stability of some oil producing countries will always play a key role in the volatility of oil supplies and pricing.
Over the long-term, oil demand is likely to increase as economic growth returns to more normal levels and economic activity picks up. As has been the case in recent years, the developing countries led by China and India will likely lead the way in driving oil demand. The developed countries, including the U.S., are not expected to experience much growth in overall levels of petroleum use.
Boom and bust in the oil industry is nothing new. In fact, since 2009, the oil markets have been fairly volatile. While it may not be possible to predict where prices will settle in the short-term, some analysts believe that the current levels could put a temporary halt on new production as producers find it difficult to justify going after new supplies with oil below $60 a barrel. There is also the likelihood that today’s prices and reduced revenues will lead to consolidation in the oil industry, which could further drive down future production.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), oil markets may turn the corner sometime in late 2015, as that is when these agencies are predicting that oil demand and supply will cross back over. These agencies also are forecasting 2015 prices in the mid- to high-$50 per barrel range. The most recent Short-Term Outlook from EIA (January 2015 SEO) pegs the price of Brent oil at an average of $58 a barrel in 2015. That level reflects averages as low as $ $49 a barrel and a high of $67 a barrel in the latter part of the year. The WTI price of oil is expected to average $3 less than Brent for a 2015 average of $55 a barrel. For 2016, EIA’s January SEO forecasts average prices of $75 per barrel for Brent oil and $71 for WTI oil.
Will diesel prices fall further and are factors other than crude oil prices influencing its price?
While it is difficult to predict when diesel fuel prices will reach bottom, there are unique factors that have contributed to its slower decline in cost at the pump as compared to gasoline. For starters, demand for diesel fuel in the rest of the world is high and is increasingly drawing supplies away from the U.S. market. The current export restrictions in place on crude oil do not extend to finished products. Thus, about one million barrels per day of U.S. diesel fuel is exported abroad where it fetches higher prices. Higher refining, marketing and distribution costs are also an issue with diesel. These factors are heavily influenced given that the diesel market in the U.S. is much smaller than the gasoline market.
Another important issue is the current number of U.S. refineries. In the U.S., virtually no new refineries have been built for several years and the number of operable refineries has dropped from 150 to 142 between 2009 and 2014. Moreover, refineries have several potential markets for diesel fuel other than transportation uses, since it can be used for home heating, industrial purposes and as boiler fuel. The lead up to winter has increased home heating fuel demand, particularly in the northeast, which has likely also contributed to a slower decline in diesel prices.
Looking toward the future, it is also expected that the market for diesel fuel will see new pressures that could lead to higher prices. These changes include increasing demand in the U.S. for diesel fuel in light-duty vehicles and, in the marine sector, a shift away from bunker fuel to ultra-low sulfur diesel (and potentially LNG). EIA also continues to forecast growing energy demand in the U.S. freight transportation sector, where diesel fuel is most widely used.
On a Btu basis, natural gas holds a strong price advantage over oil. Until the recent drop in crude oil, which most analysts agree will rebound when the current supply-demand imbalance returns to more “normal” levels, average retail natural gas fuel prices have been 35 to 50 percent less than gasoline and diesel prices. This advantage that is expected to return and remain stable due to our nation’s abundant supply of natural gas. Even with the current slump in oil prices, current average CNG prices are still $0.75 to $1 lower than diesel.
What is the long-term outlook for the price of all transportation fuels?
EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) is a widely accepted source for long-term transportation fuel price information. For many years, the AEO has shown natural gas transportation fuel prices well below those forecasted for gasoline and diesel fuel. The AEO 2014 table below shows that natural gas prices are expected to remain relatively low and stable, while other fuels that already begin at higher prices, continue to trend upward.
Similarly, historical data collected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program, shown below, clearly demonstrate that natural gas transportation fuel prices have been competitive with gasoline and diesel, and have become even more competitive since the “de-coupling” of oil and natural gas commodity prices in late 2008. Natural gas pricing also has been more stable, which is attractive to fleet operators who budget over the long-term and make conversion decisions based on both the economics and consistency of fuel prices.
Consumers, businesses, fleets and governments who have yet to make the switch to natural gas, but are enjoying today’s lower petroleum prices, should consider that switching to natural gas will allow them to enjoy comparable prices with significantly more stability over the long run.
Why do the strong economic advantages of natural gas remain solid over the long-term?
Analysts continue to be bullish on the ability of the U.S. to develop and deliver economically priced natural gas for decades to come. Natural gas wellhead prices have been relatively stable since about 2009, and forecasted prices have natural gas at about $2 per diesel gallon equivalent through at least 2025. That stability and price outlook demonstrates the clear economic advantage of natural gas and should give confidence to fleets and governments that are making long-term transportation decisions in a period of fickle oil markets.
Another key factor in assessing the long-term stability of transportation fuel prices is the cost of the commodity as a portion of its price at the pump. Market volatility and commodity price increases have a much larger impact on the economics of gasoline and diesel fuel prices than they do for natural gas. As shown below, as much as 70 percent of the cost of gasoline and 60 percent of diesel fuel is directly attributable to the commodity cost of oil, while only 20 percent of the cost of CNG is part of the commodity cost of natural gas. This is key in understanding the volatile price swings of petroleum-based fuels compared to the stability of natural gas.
Proven, abundant and growing domestic reserves of natural gas are another influence on the long-term stability of natural gas prices. The recent estimates provided by the independent and non-partisan Colorado School of Mines’ Potential Gas Committee have included substantial increases to domestic reserves. The U.S. is now the number one producer of natural gas in the world.
Finally, even with today’s lower oil prices, natural gas as a commodity is one-third (3:1) the cost of oil per million Btu of energy supplied. More recently, the price of oil has exceeded natural gas by a factor of 4:1 and as much as 8:1 when oil was $140 a barrel and natural gas was trading at $3 per million Btu. Perhaps most relevant is that the fluctuations in these comparisons have been almost totally based on the volatility of oil prices. As the earlier tables clearly demonstrate, natural gas pricing has been relatively consistent and stable and is projected to be for decades to come.
Environmental regulations have increasingly influenced product offerings from U.S. vehicle and engine manufactures to require more complex controls to reduce gasoline and diesel emissions. Some regulations, such as new lower-sulfur limits on gasoline, have yet to take effect and therefore have not yet affected refineries. In the future, these regulations will affect refineries and increase the price of gasoline and diesel. In some cases, these policies have helped promote the superior emissions benefits of natural gas.
Federal policy and, more recently, state policies have also influenced the market for alternative fuels by providing incentives and removing economic barriers. Many states now provide tax incentives to assist fleets in purchasing natural gas vehicles and also to encourage the development of fueling stations. Numerous states also provide lower fuel tax rates to encourage increased use. Given the desire to encourage the use of alternative fuels, many of these policies likely will continue to remain in place and in some cases expand in the near-term.
The Congress may also extend various incentives or enact new policies to address inequities that would encourage more natural gas fuel use in vehicles. It is possible that legislation to help alternative fuels could be part of the highway excise tax reauthorization next year or part of a major rewrite of the tax code if that occurs. While it is too soon to assess how the new Congress will address issues that are important to the industry, there are strong advocates for fuel diversity and those who clearly view natural gas as the backbone of greater energy security.
From NGV AMERICA
What are the latest updates on hydrogen and fuel cell electric vehicle deployment?
Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) have been around for a while, mostly in limited quantities and locations through demonstration projects. But these vehicles, with their potential to significantly cut petroleum consumption and reduce emissions, are starting to make their way into dealerships and onto roads across the country. Though the market for FCEVs is still in its infancy, many government organizations and private companies are working on research and deployment efforts to make hydrogen a widespread, viable, affordable, and safe alternative vehicle fuel.
Below are some of the recent activities related to FCEV commercialization:
FCEVs are beginning to enter the consumer market in certain regions in the United States and around the world. Hyundai introduced the 2015 Tucson Fuel Cell in California last year for lease, and Toyota Motor Company announced they will release the 2016 Mirai for sale this October at eight California dealerships that were specially selected for their experience with alternative fuels and their proximity to existing hydrogen fueling stations. Vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mercedes/Daimler, Nissan, and Volkswagen are expecting to launch FCEV production vehicles in select regions of the country in the coming years. Other automakers continue to introduce their FCEVs through demonstration projects. The FCEV market is also growing for buses, ground support equipment, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, back-up power, prime power applications, and continues to be strong for forklifts.
While OEMs are offering affordable lease options, some of which include the cost of fuel, FCEVs are still expensive. However, production costs have decreased significantly in recent years and FCEVs are expected to be cost-competitive with conventional vehicles in the coming years.
As the FCEV market expands, hydrogen fueling infrastructure will need to grow to match demand. Most of the hydrogen stations available today have been built to support OEM FCEV demonstration projects. According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC)’s Alternative Fueling Station Locator, there are 12 publicly accessible hydrogen stations in the United States, with many more in the planning stages. According to the California Fuel Cell Partnership, there are 49 more stations in development in California that will be publically available. Development efforts are also underway in Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Like the vehicles, the high cost of fueling equipment remains a key challenge. Hydrogen station costs can vary significantly based on hydrogen feedstock, station capacity, utilization, proximity to production, and available incentives. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Hydrogen Station Cost Calculator estimates that stations can cost between $2 and $5 million. However, like FCEVs, as the demand grows, the cost of hydrogen fueling equipment will decrease and the number of stations will increase.
The widespread deployment of FCEVs and the associated network of hydrogen fueling stations requires the development, maintenance, and harmonization of codes, standards, and regulations to keep up with the technology. These efforts are ongoing and are supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), as well as domestic and international organizations.
Incentives will also continue to be important to promote and maintain a market for hydrogen and FCEVs. California is leading in the number of relevant state incentives. For instance, to meet the objectives of California’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Program, the California Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program is allocating $20 million annually for the construction of at least 100 public hydrogen stations in California by January 1, 2024. In addition, California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project offers up to $5,000 for the purchase or lease of approved FCEVs. Nine other states (Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont) have also adopted California’s ZEV mandate to increase the number of ZEVs, including FCEVs, on the roads.
Significant research and development efforts by DOE, the national laboratories, and other H2USA partners have brought the hydrogen industry to where it is today. Through their Fuel Cell Technologies Office, DOE continues to support research in the areas of hydrogen production, delivery, and storage, as well as technology validation, manufacturing, and market transformation.
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Listed below are the upcoming NAFTC training sessions. Follow the link listed on each session for course information and electronic class registration.
Additional classes will be added, but if you have specific training needs not addressed by the offerings below, please contact us. In addition to the sessions listed on the schedule, all NAFTC training sessions are available as contract training specifically for your group or organization, hosted either at the NAFTC National Headquarters in Morgantown, WV, or at your facility. All events below are held in Morgantown, WV unless otherwise noted.
First Responder Safety Training Electric Drive Vehicles Online
Online – Register online
Overview of Biodiesel, June 9 – June 10
To register, visit the NAFTC Eventbrite Listing for this class.
Light-Duty Natural Gas Vehicle Training, July 27 – July 29
To register, visit the NAFTC Eventbrite Listing for this class.
Compressed Natural Gas Fuel System Inspector, July 30 – July 31
To register, visit the NAFTC Eventbrite Listing for this class.
Electric Drive Vehicle Automotive Technician Training, August 17 – 21
To register, visit the NAFTC Eventbrite Listing for this class.