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Alternative fuels initiatives

Health Factors: Air & Water Quality
Decision Makers: Employers & Businesses Local Government State Government Federal Government Grantmakers Nonprofit Leaders
Evidence Rating: Expert Opinion
Population Reach: 100% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: No impact on disparities likely

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Description

Alternative fuels initiatives support transition from traditional motor fuel sources (i.e., gasoline and diesel) to alternative sources such as biodiesel, ethanol, compressed natural gas, partial electric, hydrogen fuel cells, or liquid petroleum gas. Such initiatives support the supply, distribution, and production of alternative fuels and vehicles through various combinations of financial incentives (e.g., tax benefits, loans, grants, or rebates), mandates or rules (e.g., consumption targets or renewable fuel standards), direct purchases of alternative fuel vehicles for use in state or municipal fleets, and investments in research and development to improve technology and to evaluate and improve the infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles. Initiatives are underway in many areas around the country to reduce potential barriers to the adoption of alternative fuels, such as high costs and a lack of supporting infrastructure (NGA-Escobar 2010).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Reduced emissions

Evidence of Effectiveness

Alternative fuels initiatives are a suggested strategy to reduce emissions (US DOE-AFAVDC, US EPA-Alternative fuels, NGA-Green vehicle guide 2008, Rahm 2006, Lutsey 2008). Available evidence suggests that using alternative fuels decreases emissions of greenhouse gases and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (Hill 2006, CTR-Wang 1998, US DOT-Alternative fuels strategies, US DOE-AFAVDC), and that alternative fuel sources such as compressed natural gas, methanol, ethanol, or electricity produce significantly less air toxics emissions than conventional gasoline (CTR-Winebrake 2000).

Pollutant levels and emissions reductions vary for each type of alternative fuel (US DOE-AFV Emissions) and geographic regions have varying exposure levels to emissions and particulate matter (US EPA-Air toxics). Understanding local context can support decisions about the most appropriate alternative fuels initiatives; there is not a one-size-fits-all approach for these initiatives or incentives (NGA-Escobar 2010). Additional evidence is needed to determine the costs and effects of various initiatives promoting each alternative fuel.

Implementation

United States

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated conversion to alternative fuels or specified alternatives for some federal, state, and fuel provider fleets in both 1992 and 2005 (US DOE-AFAVDC); alternative fuel use has increased from 0.8% of fuel used in 1997 to 4.1% in 2008 (CDC-Healthy People 2010). The EPA provides information and resources about converting vehicles to alternative fuels (US EPA-Fuel conversion) and the US Department of Energy provides a searchable database of federal and state laws and incentives for alternative fuels, as well as an alternative fuel station locator (US DOE-AFAVDC).

As of 2012, 8 states have passed legislation providing a tax exemption or deduction for alternative fuels, and 27 states have other types of legislation related to the taxation of alternative fuels (NCSL-Taxing alternative fuels). As of 2010, 26 states have adopted some type of initiative to support alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles (NGA-Escobar 2010).

Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) administers the Clean Fuel Fleet Program (CFFP), which requires fleets in the six-county severe ozone non-attainment area in Southeastern Wisconsin to purchase a specific percentage of low emission vehicles (LEVs). The CFFP applies to both public and private fleets based on fleet size and vehicle weight (US DOE-AFAVDC).

Implementation Resources

CEC-RFVTP - California Energy Commission (CEC). Alternative and renewable fuel & vehicle technology program (RFVTP). Accessed on November 23, 2015
DSIRE - North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, US Department of Energy (US DOE). Database of state incentives for renewables & efficiency (DSIRE). Accessed on January 27, 2016
NREL-Fleet - National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Fleet management. Accessed on January 20, 2016
US DOE-AFAVDC - US Department of Energy (US DOE). Alternative Fuels & Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFAVDC). Accessed on November 19, 2015

Citations - Description

NGA-Escobar 2010 - Escobar R, Gander S. Clean and secure: State energy actions 2010 update. National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices; 2010. Accessed on February 1, 2016

Citations - Evidence

CTR-Wang 1998 - Wang MQ. Fuel-cycle greenhouse gas emissions impacts of alternative transportation fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. Argonne: Center for Transportation Research (CTR); 1998. Accessed on December 14, 2015
CTR-Winebrake 2000 - Winebrake J, He D, Wang M. Fuel-cycle emissions for conventional and alternative fuel vehicles: An assessment of air toxics. Argonne: Center for Transportation Research (CTR); 2000. Accessed on February 2, 2016
Hill 2006 - Hill J, Nelson E, Tilman D, Polasky S, Tiffany D. Environmental, economic, and energetic costs and benefits of biodiesel and ethanol biofuels. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 2006;103(30):11206-10. Accessed on February 29, 2016
Lutsey 2008* - Lutsey N, Sperling D. America’s bottom-up climate change mitigation policy. Energy Policy. 2008;36(2):673-85. Accessed on March 14, 2016
NGA-Escobar 2010 - Escobar R, Gander S. Clean and secure: State energy actions 2010 update. National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices; 2010. Accessed on February 1, 2016
NGA-Green vehicle guide 2008 - National Governors Association (NGA). Securing a clean energy future: Greener fuels, greener vehicles: A state resource guide. 2008. Accessed on January 28, 2016
Rahm 2006 - Rahm D, Coggburn JD. Environmentally preferable procurement: Greening U.S. state government fleets. International Public Procurement Conference Proceedings; 2006. Accessed on January 28, 2016
US DOE-AFAVDC - US Department of Energy (US DOE). Alternative Fuels & Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFAVDC). Accessed on November 19, 2015
US DOE-AFV Emissions - US Department of Energy (US DOE), Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE). Alternative fuels data center: Alternative fuel vehicle emissions. Accessed on January 28, 2016
US DOT-Alternative fuels strategies - US Department of Transportation (US DOT), Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse. Fuels and vehicle technology: Alternative fuels strategies. Accessed on February 1, 2016
US EPA-Air toxics - US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). Technology transfer network air toxics web site: National air toxics assessments. Accessed on February 2, 2016
US EPA-Alternative fuels - US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). Fuels and fuel additives: Renewable and alternative fuels. Accessed on January 27, 2016

Citations - Implementation

CDC-Healthy People 2010 - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Healthy People 2010 final review. Accessed on November 30, 2015
NCSL-Taxing alternative fuels - National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Taxation of alternative fuels. Accessed on January 28, 2016
NGA-Escobar 2010 - Escobar R, Gander S. Clean and secure: State energy actions 2010 update. National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices; 2010. Accessed on February 1, 2016
US DOE-AFAVDC - US Department of Energy (US DOE). Alternative Fuels & Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFAVDC). Accessed on November 19, 2015
US EPA-Fuel conversion - US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). On-road vehicles and engines: Alternative fuel conversion. Accessed on January 27, 2016

Page Last Updated

September 24, 2014

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