Sector: Fleets

Source: Lori Weaver, Guide

It’s probably hard for detractors of electric vehicles to believe, but reports are that California is beginning to experience a shortage of EV charging stations in public parking garages like those found at malls. With only a few charging stations available and many more electric and plug-in hybrid cars parked in these garages, the need for additional infrastructure is becoming evident, at least on the West Coast.

But it isn’t as though we already aren’t seeing a lot of infrastructure growth. In the last year, the number of charging stations took a 130% jump over the number of public stations available the previous year. In fact, over the past five years, there has been an average increase of about 90% each year, according to PA Consulting Group.

Regulatory incentives by both the federal government as well as local entities for installing public charging stations have helped give a boost to on-the-go powering up potential. No doubt the drop in average cost of a station–from around $10,000 to only about $2,000 (excluding installation, which varies)–has had a dramatic influence as well.

Source: Waste & Recycling

Trash haulers continue on what one observer calls a remarkable journey toward the increased adoption of natural-gas-powered collection vehicles.

Joanna D. Underwood, as president of Energy Visionin New York City, has kept an eye on the transportation sector’s use of alternative fuels for years. Her non-profit group promotes a shift away from petroleum-based fuel and has a particularly keen interest in the garbage business.

“We have a real shift taking place now that it has become clear that this fuel is the cleanest commercially available for these large fleets, period, that it’s reducing greenhouse gases, that the technology of using natural gas is sophisticated,” Underwood said.

“The trucks are high-performance trucks, the drivers are less exposed to diesel fuels. It’s a remarkable shift that’s taking place after a century of relying only on petroleum-based fuels,” she said.
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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing the 2013 percentage standards for four fuel categories that are part of the agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS2).

The proposal announced today will be open for a 45-day public comment period and EPA will consider feedback from a range of stakeholders before the proposal is finalized. EPA continues to support the use of renewable fuels within the transportation sector through the RFS2 program, which encourages innovation, strengthens American energy security, and decreases greenhouse gas pollution.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) established the RFS2 program and the annual renewable fuel volume targets, which steadily increase to an overall level of 36 billion gallons in 2022. To achieve these volumes, EPA calculates a percentage-based standard for the following year. Based on the standard, each refiner and importer determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that it must ensure is used in its transportation fuel.

The proposed 2013 overall volumes and standards are:

Biomass-based diesel (1.28 billion gallons; 1.12 percent)
Advanced biofuels (2.75 billion gallons; 1.60 percent)
Cellulosic biofuels (14 million gallons; 0.008 percent)
Total renewable fuels (16.55 billion gallons; 9.63 percent)

Overall, EPA’s RFS2 program encourages greater use of renewable fuels, including advanced biofuels. For 2013, the program is proposing to implement EISA’s requirement to blend more than 1.35 billion gallons of renewable fuels over the amount mandated for 2012.

More information on the standards and regulations:

More information on renewable fuels:

Source: Lori Weaver, Hybrid Cars & Alt Fuels Guide

These businesses offer CNG conversion kits and installation

Continued high gas prices have increased interest in compressed natural gas conversion kits and installation. There are a number of considerations before making the decision to convert your vehicle. However, if you plan to make the switch, the following is a list of companies providing kits and/or installation for CNG conversion.

The following information (presented alphabetically) is an update to an earlier version of this list. These are the companies I’ve found that currently sell and/or install CNG conversion kits. Please drop me a line if you find others. If I can verify the information, I’ll gladly add them to the list.
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Source: Environmental

A study of major companies including Boots, Morrisons and Network Rail has found that companies switching to electric or plug-in vehicles could reduce their fleet fuel costs by 75 percent.

The report by the Plugged-In Fleets Initiative, a joint effort of the Energy Saving Trust, EDF Energy and Route Monkey, studied the potential savings 20 companies could make by deploying plug-in vehicles such as electric and plug-in hybrids. Participants included Schneider Electric, the London Fire Brigade, Surrey County Council, Southwark Council, Ryden Group, Tristar Chauffeurs, the University of Cumbria, Urban Planters, and York City Council.

“Plugged-In Fleets Initiative: Charging Forward”  found companies that operate vehicles with mileage below 80 miles per day would find that all-electric vehicles meet their needs on a single overnight charge.
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General Electric Co. (GE)’s commitment to buy 25,000 electric autos, promoted as the largest ever when it was announced more than two years ago, is taking a detour.

The obstacle: Customers of GE’s corporate fleet-services unit wanted more options, said Deb Frodl, the division’s chief strategy officer. So GE has included natural gas-powered pickups and propane-fueled vehicles among about 11,000 autos — mostly plug-in hybrids and electric cars — already acquired from makers including Ford Motor Co. (F) and General Motors Co. (GM)

The shift at GE, whose 2010 pledge was hailed as a catalyst for bulk buying of electric vehicles, shows how businesses are struggling to balance greater fuel efficiency and reduced emissions against higher sticker prices, limited range and lingering doubts about still-infant technology.
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Source: Rocky Mountain Institute outlet

(Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series examining vehicles powered by natural gas. Read the first post here.) 

The value proposition of natural gas vehicles varies widely by application. Fleets with high utilization and poor gas mileage, for example, can reap significant near-term value from the switch to natural gas.

In April, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper sent a letter to the CEOs of 19 automakers, asking them to commit to manufacturing natural gas vehicles (NGVs). His letter included signatures from governors of 12 states, all committing to a bulk purchase of NGVs—the idea being to spur the growth of a relatively niche market and reduce costs through economies of scale.
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Source: Rocky Mountain Institute outlet

As far back as the 1973 Arab oil embargo, natural gas has been considered as a transportation fuel—and understandably so since it burns cleaner than oil. A recent boom in domestic production offers tantalizingly low prices and the potential to ease U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

However, like any alternative fuel, natural gas does not offer a “one-fuel-fits-all” solution. The value proposition of natural gas vehicles varies widely by application. Fleets with high utilization and poor gas mileage, for example, glean near-term value from the switch to natural gas. But the picture for non-fleet passenger vehicles—the source for the majority of U.S. transportation energy use—is considerably more complex.

These complexities become particularly apparent when you compare natural gas to another alternative fuel option garnering even more attention, investment, and criticism: electricity. With limited money to invest, how do the two really stack up?
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Source: Environmental

Fuel Efficient Internal Combustion Engine market report contains comprehensive data on the worldwide market for efficient ICE technologies (engine deactivation, cylinder deactivation, variable valve timing and lift, turbochargers and superchargers, direct fuel injection, homogeneous charge compression ignition, reduced displacement engines, hybrids and partial hybrids, split cycle engines, and opposed piston/opposed cylinder engine designs. Market data are provided for historic (2006 to 2011 Q3) and forecast (2011 Q4 to 2021) market size data in terms of the dollar value of product shipments. The report identifies key trends affecting the marketplace, along with trends driving growth, and central challenges to further market development. The report also profiles leading startups and established manufacturers of fuel efficient ICEs that are most relevant to the fuel efficient ICE industry.

Internal combustion engines (ICEs) power our cars, trucks, big rigs, trains, generator sets, ships, and a host of other applications worldwide. Unfortunately, conventional ICEs boast low efficiency – most convert only 30% of fuel into usable work, and that is under optimal conditions. When accounting for idling and sub-optimal speeds, efficiency drops to 15 to 20%. That means, for every gallon of fuel placed into the engine, only 15 to 20% of the energy in that fuel is ever transferred into usable mechanical energy under typical conditions. The remaining 80 to 85% of energy contained in the fuel is wasted – wasted on friction, losses to heat, incomplete burning, and other inefficiencies characteristic of conventional ICEs.
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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) are releasing the 2013 Fuel Economy Guide, giving consumers clear and easy-to-read information to help them choose the most fuel efficient and low greenhouse gas emitting vehicles that meet their needs. The 2013 models include efficient and low-emission vehicles in a variety of classes and sizes, but notable this year is the growing availability of hybrids and the increasing number of electric vehicles.

“This Administration has been working to foster a new generation of clean, fuel-efficient American vehicles, and part of that effort is ensuring that Americans have access to the best possible fuel economy information when they’re choosing a car,” said Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “The 2013 Fuel Economy Guide provides Americans information about which car on the lot offers the greatest fuel economy and the lowest environmental impact. These are important considerations that can help families save money while protecting their health and the environment.”

“The Fuel Economy Guide gives consumers easily accessible information to help them choose the vehicle that’s right for them,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “Fuel efficient vehicles help American families save money at the pump, continue to deliver on vehicle performance, and help reduce our dependence on foreign oil while limiting carbon pollution.”

This year’s guide gives consumers a broad range of information that they can use to select their next fuel efficient vehicle, whether they want to consider an electric vehicle or one that uses a more conventional fuel. This year, for the first time, EPA and DOE have added a second top ten list of most efficient vehicles — separating advanced technology vehicles from conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles. Electric and plug-in hybrid electric models are the most fuel-efficient and lowest-emission vehicles available today and are becoming more common. At the same time, consumers may still look up the conventional gasoline and diesel models that offer superior fuel efficiency.

The 2013 guide provides an estimated annual fuel cost for each vehicle. The estimate is calculated based on the vehicle’s miles per gallon (mpg) rating and national estimates for annual mileage and fuel prices. The online version of the guide allows consumers to enter their local gasoline prices and typical driving habits to receive a personalized fuel cost estimate. The 2013 guide also includes a greenhouse gas rating for each model.

Consumers may view the guide at and it will be available in hard copy at dealer showrooms. EPA and DOE will update the guide online as more 2013 vehicles become available.

All 2013 model year vehicles will display a new fuel economy and environment label to provide consumers with more comprehensive fuel efficiency information, including five-year fuel costs or savings compared to the average new vehicle, as well as new ratings for greenhouse gas and smog. These labels are required for model year 2013, but some automakers voluntarily adopted the new label design on some 2012 models.

More information, including a complete version of the guide and details on the fuel economy labels: and at for mobile devices.