Monday, February 23, 2015

February Question of the Month

Question of the Month: What were the trends related to state laws and incentives enacted in 2014?

Answer: In 2014, state legislatures and agencies developed a variety of incentives, laws, and regulations that support the use of alternative fuels, advanced vehicles, and other strategies that align with Clean Cities' mission to cut the amount of petroleum used in transportation. As compared to 2013, however, the number of newly adopted state laws and incentives decreased, possibly indicating the effectiveness of existing state programs and a maturing alternative fuels market. In addition, several states worked to fine-tune existing programs this past year, in an effort to find the best market penetration strategy.

The majority of state actions across all alternative fuel types in 2014 involved new tax-related incentives and fuel tax regulations. Specific alternative fuels displayed their own trends as well. Laws and incentives related to the following vehicle categories showed particularly notable trends:

Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), including both all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and the associated charging infrastructure were the most popular alternative fuel technologies that received attention in the form of new state laws and incentives in 2014. States worked to streamline many aspects of PEV ownership, including allowing direct purchase of PEVs from a manufacturer, modifying rebates and incentives for electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), and allowing EVSE at previously restricted locations, such as state facilities and leased properties. A few states initiated studies to determine how to assess PEV owners a supplemental fee in lieu of the gasoline tax they would no longer be paying. Utilities continued to provide new incentives in 2014, including electricity rate discounts for customers using EVSE.

Natural gas vehicles (NGVs) continued to draw significant consideration in 2014, particularly in those states following the national trend of basing a compressed natural gas (CNG) motor fuel tax on the favorable gasoline gallon equivalent conversion. The NGV market and consumers will also benefit from grants, weight exemptions, fuel-training programs, and fleet requirements enacted in the last year.

The Alternative Fuels Data Center’s (AFDC) State Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Laws and Incentives: 2014 Year in Review provides a further synopsis of incentives and laws enacted in 2014 and is available at

In addition, the AFDC Laws & Incentives website provides a searchable database to identify and view relevant state laws and incentives by fuel type, as well as by variety of incentive or regulation. As legislative and gubernatorial actions occur, follow the AFDC website for updates at This database may be particularly useful in the states in which the 2014 elections changed control of the legislative or executive branches. In addition, as the 2014 tax filing deadline approaches, the Laws & Incentives website is a valuable resource for basic information regarding new or expiring state and federal tax credits.

As new trends and issues emerge from legislation, policy bulletins are posted to the AFDC Technology and Policy Bulletins page at may submit new or updated state laws and incentives, and suggestions for policy bulletin topics, by emailing the TRS directly at

Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team

Friday, February 20, 2015

2015 Legislative Session: Bills to Watch

The 2015 Legislative session is underway and UCCC is in full support of legislation that cleans up our air, while at the same time reducing our dependency on foreign oil. The following numbered bills are pieces of legislation UCCC is currently following:

HB 15: Clean Fuel Amendments & Rebates
Sponsor: Representative Stephen Handy

This bill creates the Conversion to Alernative Fuel Grant Program and  extends tax credits for energy efficient vehicles. It seeks to accelerate the conversion rate to alternative fuels and authorizes the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to make grants from the Clean Fuels and Vehicle Technology Fund to a person who installs conversion equipment on a motor vehicle. 

HB 17: Motor Vehicle Emissions
Sponsor: Representative Lee Perry

This bill would amend the visible contaminant emission standards for certain diesel engines, amend the penalty for violating the motor vehicle visible emissions limits and make technical corrections. 

HB 49: Clean Fuel School Buses and Infrastructure
Sponsor: Representative Stephen Handy

Would allow the State Board of Education to award a grant to replace old school buses manufactured before 2002 with new, clean fueled buses that use alternative fuels or clean diesel fuel, install an alternative fueling infrastructure that may be accessible to the public, and/or retrofit bus maintenance shops to maintain the alternative fueled buses. This bill would act as a one-time program appropriation. 

HB 110: Motor Vehicle Emissions Amendments
Sponsor: Representative Patrice Arent

This bill modifies provisions related to motor vehicle emissions. It would give the Division of Motor Vehicles the authority to suspend a vehicle's registration if the vehicle does not meet air emission standards. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

THINK IDLE FREE: Idle Free Classes

Lancer Automotive Group will be offering Idle Free training on March 17th from 8:00-9:30am and the 18th from 5:30-8:00pm at the 3687 S 300 W location in Salt Lake City. 

These free Idle Free classes feature information on no idling laws, the issue of unnecessary vehicle idling, including health, environmental, economic and vehicle maintenance impacts, plus an introduction to other green/eco-driving practices. Attendees will learn how to save hundreds of dollars annually while being fuel efficient and environmentally responsible. 

We will provide Certification upon completion of training. 

Class time will range from 1 to 1.5 hours depending on question and answer period. 

Please RSVP by March 15th to to reserve your spot.

Air Pollution: A Call to Action

Health Risks Associated with Air Pollution

Utah’s got a new silent killer in town named “air pollution”. The Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment sates that, “Air pollution provokes a systemic inflammatory process centered in the vascular network that delivers blood through the body, including all major organs.”  When this happens, the effects can be just as damaging as inhaling cigarette smoke.  Last spring, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that air pollution is responsible for an average of 7 million premature deaths annually worldwide.  These deaths were associated with various diseases caused by exposure to air pollution which include: heart disease, stroke, pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and respiratory infections.  Dr. Maria Neira, the director of WHO’s Department of Public Health, responded to the findings with a call to action, stating that “few risks have a greater impact on global health today than air pollution; the evidence signals the need for concerted action to clean up the air we all breathe.”

The Utah Clean Cities Coalition is dedicated to doing just that: taking action against some of the biggest air pollutant offenders.  The Utah Division of Air Quality reports that over 50 percent of Utah’s air pollution comes from mobile sources. From promoting alternative fuels to striving for an idle free state, Utah is on its way to becoming a little cleaner each day. 

Alternative fuels, as defined by the Energy Policy Act of 1992, are biodiesel, electricity, ethanol, hydrogen, methanol, natural gas, and propane.  These are great for our environment because they can burn up to 90 percent cleaner than traditional petroleum fuels.  New technology helps vehicles to utilize these cleaner burning fuels.  Flex Fuel, Hybrid, and EVs are just a few of the many types of cars you can drive while contributing to fewer greenhouse gas emissions. 

Alternative Fuel vehicles are the number one way to reduce your vehicle emissions. However, there are plenty of things you can start doing today to help us reach our goal of cleaner air.  Turning your car off instead of idling, proper car maintenance, and carpooling or taking transit are all great ways you can reduce your emissions daily.  When you opt to bike or walk instead of driving, your vehicle emissions are cut to zero! Take advantage of nice weather by avoiding your car and getting outside instead.  Working together as a community, we can all improve Utah’s air quality for a healthier tomorrow. 

Check out for more information on alternative fuels and tips on how to reduce vehicle emissions.