Thursday, September 25, 2014

September Question of the Month

Question of the Month: What are the new credit allocations that were established under the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE)’s Alternative Fuel Transportation Program (Program) earlier this year? How can I help spread the word on these new Energy Policy Act (EPAct) compliance pathways?

Answer: DOE issued a final rule on March 21, 2014, that establishes credit levels for additional means by which covered state and alternative fuel provider fleets operating under the Program’s StandardCompliance ( option may earn credits. These credits may be used toward compliance with a fleet’s alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) acquisition requirements. DOE promulgated the rule pursuant Congress’ direction, set forth in Section 133 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

The new credit allocations address the acquisition of various types of electric drive vehicles and allow covered fleets to earn credits under Standard Compliance for some vehicles that do not meet the EPAct 1992 definition of an AFV. Newly eligible vehicles include the following (with their credit allocations):
  • Certain hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) – one-half credit
  • Plug-in electric vehicles – one-half credit
  • Fuel cell electric vehicles – one-half credit
  • Neighborhood electric vehicles – one-fourth credit
Medium- and heavy-duty HEVs are also eligible for one-half credit after a fleet has met its light-duty AFV acquisition requirements.

Acquiring the electric drive vehicles noted above is not the only new way to earn credits under EPAct Standard Compliance. Fleets may now earn credits for investments of their own funds (not grant funds or other monetary awards) in qualified alternative fuel infrastructure. For every $25,000 invested, a covered fleet may earn one credit, with a limit of five credits available per fleet per model year for private infrastructure investment, and ten credits per fleet per model year for public infrastructure investment.

Other Investments
Fleets may also earn credits for investments in alternative fuel non-road equipment and/or emerging technologies associated with the Section 133-identified vehicles. The credits for non-road equipment are similar to infrastructure – one credit for every $25,000 invested and a maximum of five credits may be earned per fleet per model year. Emerging technologies investments will earn a covered fleet two credits for the initial investment of $50,000 and one credit for every $25,000 invested thereafter, with a limit of five credits per fleet per model year.

Fleets may begin taking advantage of these new credit allocations for their efforts undertaken in model year 2014 and future model years.

How Can You Spread the Word?
Are you aware of any covered utility or state fleets that are building new fueling infrastructure?
  • Inform them they can earn EPAct credits.
Do you have an EPAct covered fleet stakeholder that needs an extra push to buy or lease HEVs?
  • Let them know that certain HEVs are now eligible for EPAct credits.
Do you or your stakeholders have questions regarding EPAct compliance?
Note that covered fleets are currently compiling their Program reports for model year 2014 (September 1, 2013 to August 31, 2014) activities, which are due by December 31, 2014.

For more information, refer to the following resources:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Temperature Compensation & CNG Vehicle Safety

The Clean Vehicle Education Foundation (CVEF) has issued a technical bulletin, Reliable Temperature Compensation Is Critical to CNG Vehicle Safety, which addresses the potential hazards created by the failure of compressed natural gas (CNG) dispensers to accurately compensate for temperature. Proper temperature compensation is essential to safely fuel CNG vehicles, regardless of station type, as serious incidents have resulted from the overfilling of CNG containers at both fast-fill and time-fill facilities.
The bulletin makes three recommendations:
1. Station operators should contact their fast- and time-fill dispenser suppliers to make sure they have—and are using—the latest set of written instructions and maintenance schedules as required in NFPA 52-2013.
2. Station operators should schedule annual temperature and pressure calibrations and function checks in early fall to allow time for any needed corrective action before winter temperatures.
3. Station operators should also ask their dispenser suppliers whether existing dispensers comply with the requirements of NFPA 52-2013.
The bulletin explains that limiting the maximum pressure in the cylinder is not as simple as limiting the pressure dispensed to the vehicle. The temperature of the gas in a CNG container may increase after fueling if the temperature of the environment increases before the fuel is used. This may occur with warming outdoor temperatures or when parking indoors. In these situations, there is the possibility of the pressure actuated PRD used on some vehicles to rupture and vent down the cylinder if temperature was not properly compensated for during fueling. This issue is especially important to address prior to the cold temperatures many parts of the country experience during winter months.
The bulletin is available on the AFDC Technology Bulletins website: 
The AFDC has a new interactive animation developed to help you learn more about how outside temperature and fill speeds affect the final fill volume in CNG vehicle tanks. The animation can be found at the following link: