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The New Year kicked off with good news for alternative fuel fleets: the “fiscal cliff” bill passed by Congress includes the extension of previously expired federal tax credits for alternative fuels and alternative fueling infrastructure. The rebates, which had expired at the end of 2011, have now been extended through 2013 and also made retroactive for the year 2012. Fleets that converted vehicles to clean fuel or installed an alt fuel station last year are in luck, and those that have been thinking about making the switch…read on!

One tax credit allows clean fleets to recoup 50 cents per gge (gasoline gallon equivalent) specifically for the alternative fuels propane autogas (LPG), compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquid natural gas (LNG). The other provides a 30 percent credit on fueling infrastructure for any alternative fuel, on up to $30,000 per facility.

Though propane autogas is already affordable for fleets to implement without federal funding [see our recent post “America’s most cost-effective and practical clean fuel succeeds despite lack of government support”], this is still great news in terms of encouraging the use of domestic alternative fuel in the U.S. transportation sector. Fleets that have already made the transition to clean fuel will recoup enough money to add even more alt fuel vehicles over the next year. For fleet operators that have thought about converting to an alternative fuel but worried about the upfront cost, these tax credits may just be the extra incentive (pardon the pun) they need to take that first step toward greening their vehicles and saving on fuel costs in the long run.

If you’re a fleet operator considering making the switch to alternative fuel in 2013, we encourage you to do your research to decide on the most practical fuel for your fleet. The Alternative Fuel Fact Briefs available on the Autogas for America website provide a side-by-side comparison of propane autogas versus natural gas electric vehicles and gasoline, so you can see how each fuel stacks up in the areas of cost, emissions reduction and overall viability.

Here’s to a greener 2013 for American fleets—happy saving!

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The federal government is focusing on achieving higher fuel efficiency vehicle technology by implementing new CAFE standards that will nearly double vehicle fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon by the year 2025. While the new standards make exceptions for certain alternative fuel applications, propane autogas vehicles were overlooked. However, there’s already a movement among our nation’s fleets–the small businesses, law enforcement agencies, municipalities and transportation services out there–to adopt this clean, American-made fuel that’s affordable to implement and ready to use, today.

Propane autogas is gaining momentum with American fleets because it’s the most practical and cost-effective clean fuel on the market. Not only can autogas stations be implemented for a fraction of the expense of other alternative fuel infrastructure, they can also be built quickly and at no upfront cost to fleets. Autogas has averaged $1.45 less per gallon than gasoline over the past five years.

Proponents of other alternative fuels lobby the government for support to make their clean fuel technology viable, while thousands of fleet vehicles across the country are already saving money on fuel costs, and achieving a faster ROI, by converting to autogas.

Recent examples of U.S. autogas market growth include:

  • multiple Texas school districts switching their buses to propane autogas through CleanFUEL USA, which recently announced more than 37 new or expanded contracts with Texas ISDs for autogas refueling infrastructure equipment.

  • the Alliance AutoGas network expanding internationally to give Canadian fleets access to its complete autogas vehicle conversion and refueling program.

  • states like Mississippi, which is running several public fleet vehicles on autogas, and Indiana, which is converting hundreds of government fleet vehicles to autogas and implementing 115 autogas stations across the state.

Despite autogas being the most cost-effective, easy-to-implement clean fuel, the popularity and government favoritism of CNG will remain an obstacle. According to a recent report from Pike Research, “even though [CNG] fuel is much more difficult (and more expensive) to handle than autogas, it looks as if CNG will attract the majority of the incentives from many governments around the world.” But whether or not natural gas lobbyists achieve continued favoritism among legislators, propane autogas will always have an advantage as the only practical clean fuel that fleets can already affordably adopt.

The bottom line is, the federal government may be ignoring the most viable alternative fuel on the market, but America’s fleets certainly aren’t.

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Autogas and Gasoline Prices, 2009-2011

It’s no secret that gasoline is expensive, but what many Americans don’t know is the cost of the alternative. Autogas for America released a new Alternative Fuel Fact Brief on Aug. 24. The paper highlights how propane autogas, while as practical to use as traditional fuels, is cheaper and cleaner than gasoline. The study considers the big picture, pointing out that high gasoline prices are not just a burden to the individual consumer, but are crippling an economic recovery.

The study demonstrates that gasoline is not only an expensive resource, but also a volatile one. While the cost of gasoline nearly doubled in 2009, autogas prices remained low and relatively flat. Gas started at $2, and jumped all over the board from there. Historically, autogas has cost about $1.25 per gallon less than gasoline, when including a 50-cent-per-gallon federal alternative fuel tax credit. Some states even provide tax incentives for using alternative fuels like autogas.

For organizations already burdened by strained budgets, the high price of and uncertainty surrounding oil can complicate planning for the future. Everything from turmoil in the Middle East to declines in foreign reserves can drive up the price of oil. However, 90 percent of the U.S. autogas supply is made in America. While prices at the pump reflect instant savings for autogas fleets, autogas has also produced long-term savings. Vehicles running on autogas have been on American roads for years now, and real-world case studies show as much as $145,000 in annual fuel savings for fleets making the switch from gasoline to autogas.

The cost savings from autogas use offer more than just the immediate rollback for the consumer.  Lowering fixed costs like fuel expenses helps to create and save jobs, support a green energy economy and boost a company’s bottom line.

For a comprehensive look at the differences between autogas and gasoline, visit the Resources page of the Autogas for America website.



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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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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.