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As more U.S. drivers move toward alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles instead of gasoline, several state governments are tackling an important question: how do we pay for transportation infrastructure funded by diminishing gasoline taxes while not punishing those who opt for cleaner transportation?

No one is a fan of raising taxes, whether it’s the gasoline tax or fees for alternative fuel vehicles, but we can no longer depend on the gasoline tax to fund our nation’s transportation needs. On one hand, this is a good thing; it means we’re decreasing our reliance on gasoline for vehicle fuel and increasing our nation’s energy security. On the other hand, the money has to come from somewhere—and it’s becoming increasingly clear that taxing drivers of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles is not the answer. Part of the allure of switching to alternative fuel or purchasing an electric vehicle is the promise of eventual cost-savings, and any move to tax these drivers is sure to be met with resistance.

The state of Virginia, for example, has legislation approaching ratification that would replace the gasoline tax of 17.5 cents per gallon with a 3.5 percent wholesale tax on motor fuels and a $64 annual fee on hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles (down from $100 as part of a compromise). While this was meant as a way for clean vehicle drivers to continue contributing to the state’s transportation fund, some criticize the so-called “hybrid tax” as detrimental to adoption of clean fuel vehicles, petitioning the legislature to eliminate the tax from the bill.

Other states struggling to address transportation funding in the new era of alternative fuel and fuel-efficient vehicles include IndianaMaryland, and New Jersey. In Florida, a group is proposing to tax drivers for every mile they drive in order to make up for an estimated $74 billion shortfall in funding for necessary transportation projects. West Virginia is considering a similar program; however, Minnesota recently tried this and found the tracking technology lacking. Even the federal government is grappling with the question of how to increase funding for important transportation initiatives without raising taxes. However, as an article in Politico recently pointed out:

The most obvious, simple and straightforward solution would be to raise the 18.4-cents-per-gallon gasoline tax, which hasn’t budged since the last time it was raised in 1993. But that’s also the most politically difficult option. As a result, a gas tax increase has become the third rail of transportation policy, sending lawmakers of all political stripes — Democrats as well as Republicans — fleeing.

We are certain to see this issue played out on both the state and national level. Solutions will most likely be a matter of trial and error as part of the growing pains of collectively switching to domestic clean fuel. Luckily for drivers of vehicles that run on affordable American-made fuels like propane autogas, fuel cost savings are significant and, in many cases, immediate. While a $64 fee may negate any savings a driver of an electric-hybrid vehicle sees in a year, autogas vehicle drivers can save thousands annually on fuel costs alone.

Follow us on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more alternative fuel vehicle news and views.

*All images courtesy of East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition.*

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Posted by admin at 5:00AM on 4/25/2012 with tags:

With all the hoopla surrounding natural gas/CNG in recent months, from T. Boone Pickens standing side-by-side with Miss. Gov. Phil Bryant to states considering natural gas-favoring legislation, you’d think natural gas vehicles were the best or only solution to America’s energy problems. That’s simply not the case.

We’ve posted about it before, but it bears repeating: propane vehicles are a viable alternative fuel technology, and propane autogas is the most widely used alternative fuel in the world, with nearly 18 million vehicles running on this clean, economical fuel.

Check out this infographic to learn more about the benefits and differences between autogas and natural gas on the Autogas for America website.

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Posted by admin at 4:51PM on 6/8/2011 with tags: , , , , ,

Securing our nation’s energy supply is imperative – most people would agree. Support for American-made alternative fuels (like autogas, natural gas and even responsibly produced biofuels) is important at all levels: individuals, corporations, and government agencies. You too can support domestic fuel. Shifting from gasoline to fuels like autogas will send OPEC a message: that they can’t decide what you pay to fill up anymore.

Sometimes the day’s news can bring it all home, can clearly illustrate the link between foreign oil and our wallets. Today was one of those days.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) failed to come to an agreement today over boosting oil output levels in the face of increased demand and high oil prices. Currently, OPEC’s members alone supply some 40 percent of the world’s oil. (Compare that, for example, to the fact that 90 percent of America’s autogas is produced domestically).

Iran’s petroleum minister was vocal in his opposition to increasing exports.The reason for the minister’s position? “The world remains well-supplied with oil, with ample spare capacity and adequate stock levels,” he said.

Whatever the current supply and demand configuration is (though it is a fact that OPEC supplies were disrupted earlier this year), it is well known that high-growth, industrializing countries like India and China are increasingly demanding more petroleum resources. As the United States and other industrialized nations remain dependent on foreign oil imports, competition for these resources will become more fierce.

OPEC’s apparent ambivalence at $100+/barrel oil might be explained another way. An oil analyst interviewed by the Washington Post posited that oil exporters are “more interested in cashing in on high oil prices right now than in stabilizing energy markets,” thanks in part to rigid demand.


Saudi Arabia seems to know what high oil prices might mean in the long-term, though: switching to domestically-produced alternative fuels. As the analyst put it, “They don’t want countries to turn to alternative fuels. They don’t want people on buses.”

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Posted by admin at 12:52PM on 6/2/2011 with tags: , , , , , ,

We’ve started a new series of videos about alternative fuels. Autogas for America is proud to present “Is natural gas an affordable vehicle fuel?” This animated short video looks at the real cost of natural gas vehicles and infrastructure as compared to propane autogas.

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Posted by admin at 5:47PM on 5/27/2011 with tags: , , ,

Grand Junction, Co. had the best of intentions when it decided to invest in several natural gas-powered trash trucks. However, due to the large tank size required for CNG storage, the town’s trash trucks have had nearly two feet added to their length. Since CNG is less dense than liquid fuels, the size of the fuel tank must be increased in order to make up for lost range.

“Drivers of the new garbage trucks that run on compressed natural gas recently purchased by the city are unable to navigate some tight city alleyways, according to Grand Junction Public Works spokeswoman Kristin Winn.” About 160 residents used to be able to push their trash cans to the alley for pick-up, but now have to haul their cans to the front of their homes.

In response to a few complaints, the city has started offering elderly or disabled citizens the option of requesting help with their cans. Despite the problems, however, the city has plans to add two more CNG trash trucks to its fleet in the coming year.

As for trying to navigate the alleyways, the city is “…still kind of looking at this and modifying the trucks,” according to Winn.

Note: While it is true that natural gas vehicles offer about a 29% overall reduction in emissions versus gasoline engines, the article’s author overstated this figure when she said that they “produce almost no greenhouse gases.”

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Posted by admin at 6:52PM on 5/25/2011 with tags: , , , , , , , ,

Autogas for America has launched a new series of informational “fact briefs” that compare and contrast certain alternative fuels. The first in the series, “American, Abundant… and Affordable?”, analyzes the viability of using natural gas (specifically, compressed natural gas) for light-duty vehicles. In addition, a complete cost comparison between propane autogas and CNG is provided.

We welcome your thoughts and questions. Post your comments below!

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Posted by admin at 6:51PM on 5/25/2011 with tags: , , , , , ,

See original article online here

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Posted by admin at 6:51PM on 5/25/2011 with tags: , , , ,

Source: City of Palm Desert

The city of Palm Desert, Calif. (in Riverside County), announced this week that they plan to convert a retrofitted CNG-powered ambulance back to diesel, after the vehicle failed to meet expectations.

“The ambulance, which was unveiled by the city in January 2010, only put out 82 miles per tank, well below the mandated average of 250 miles in Riverside County, according to Capt. Scott Visyak of the Riverside County Fire Department, which contracts with Palm Desert for its firefighting services.”


Range is one of the biggest obstacles for natural gas vehicles, as it must be compressed at up to 3600 psi in bulky, heavy tanks. According to a 2010 Department of Energy study titled “Issues Affecting Adoption of Natural Gas Fuel in Light- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles,” the most common type of CNG tank occupies 3 times the volume and weighs “4 to 5 times as much” as a same-capacity gas tank. Therefore, lower gallon-equivalent-capacity causes a reduced driving range.

The failed experiment came with no small price tag. “The ambulance initially cost the city $186,000 to convert the emergency vehicle, according to the city.”

Fortunately, the city won’t have to pay quite that much to convert the vehicle back to diesel. One month and another $78,000 later, they’ll have a regular ambulance again.

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Which alternative fuel?

Welcome to Alternative Fuel Facts, where we plan to clean up the alternative fuels industry.

You see, we’ve realized that there’s a lot of misinformation floating around the internet about various alternative fuels. Industry stakeholders sometimes exaggerate the viability of and downplay the uneven playing field for technologies and fuels like natural gas (CNG), ethanol, electric vehicles, hydrogen, biodiesel, and so on.

“You mean corporations and politicians may have been embellishing the facts and figures about things that are supposed to help us?” Why, yes, it’s true.

Before you go all “you’re just saying this because you’re a front for big, bad company” on us (which we’re not), let us clear the air:

  • We are not trying to say that these fuels don’t have their place in the market at all. They do. Each alternative fuel and technology has its place, has an application or applications for which it’s a great solution.
  • We are advocates for propane autogas used in light- and medium-duty vehicle fleet applications, because it’s the most effective, readily-available, affordable solution for these applications.
  • We think it’s ridiculous for someone to slap a “Zero Emissions” sticker on the side of an electric vehicle (EV), because it simply isn’t true. Where do they think the energy for EVs comes from?

Through our extensive research and experience in the alternative fuels industry, we’ve realized how little the general public actually knows about some of the most hyped technologies around.

  • Did you know that electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf will be powered by electricity generated from, on average, 50% coal? And it ain’t the mythical “clean coal” variety either.
  • Did you know that despite CNG having a cheap per-gallon sticker price, we’ll have to fork over $1 million+ for each fast-fill fueling station in order to fuel a (very expensive) natural gas vehicle?
  • Did you know diesel fuel, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, coal-powered processing plants and oil are all parts of the process of making supposedly ‘green’ corn ethanol?

So stay tuned, folks – we’ll be revealing the truthiness about the alternative fuels hype.