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MARCH / APRIL 2012

VOL. 2, NO. 2

TRUCK FLEETS

PROVE GOING GREEN MAKES ‘GREEN’ Petroleum Reduction Strategies Explained Medium-Duty Trucks: Five Green Options

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CONTENTS M A R C H

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A P R I L

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V O L U M E

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features 14 Greening a Truck Fleet Requires Innovation & Creativity As with any vehicle technology, there are numerous approaches that can be used to green a fleet. With trucks, it requires just a bit more patience and creativity.

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20 Proven Petroleum Reduction Strategies By transitioning to higher mpg vehicles, the State of Washington’s fleet cut fuel costs by more than $750,000.

26 Electrifying Transportation in North Carolina Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition is paving the way for electric vehicles in the greater Charlotte region.

28 Evaluating Medium-Duty Truck Alternative-Fuel Technologies When it comes to alternative-fuel systems for medium-duty (Class 4-7) trucks, one size does not fit all. Fleets have five green options to consider.

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departments 4 Letters 8 Industry News 32 Showcase 35 Transit 36 Editorial

28 2

ON THE COVER: TRUCK FLEETS SHARE

STRATEGIES AND CREATIVITY IN GREENING FLEETS. ©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/FRANCK-BOSTONN ©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/MALERAPASO

GREEN FLEET ■ MARCH / APRIL 2012

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LETTERS Dropping Unnecessary Weight Although the title of this letter seems timely considering we’re still recuperating from the holiday season, I’m not talking turkey or the aftermath of too much fruitcake; I’m referring to the elimination of excess cargo in your fleet vehicles. One of Automotive Resources International’s (ARI) truck specification experts and I were discussing the edd itorial in the January/February 2012 issue of Green Fleet magazine on reducing vehicle weight. Since this colleague’s responsibility is to design vehicles that fulfill the driver’s job responsibilities without being overloaded, under-spec’ed, or overpriced, this topic was understandably of great interest to him. Mike Antich’s reference to “rolling warehouses” is all too true in our business. While drivers certainly need the appropriate

Weight Reduction as a Green Fleet Strategy In reference to the editorial in the January/February 2012 issue about using weight reduction as a green fleet strategy, historically, through our “rightsizing” efforts over the past several years, we estimate that we have been able to reduce the curb weight of our fleet inventory by more than 2.6 million lbs. and have seen significant reductions in CO2 and an increase in mpg. Brad Bohnen Head of Fleet Management North America, Strategic Supplier & Contracts Management Ericsson Inc., Overland Park, Kan.

Lightening the Chassis I enjoy the articles in Green Fleet, especially the ones that give suggestions for reducing fleet costs while reducing emissions. Here at Schwan’s Home Service Inc., one of our bigger improvements has come from transitioning to lightweight vehicles. By lightening the body, we have been able to go to a lightweight chassis. This has reduced our weight by more than 6,000 lbs., which, in turn, improved fuel economy and brought the truck closer to the ground, making it easier for the route salespeople to work from. Many drivers have commented that we have extended their careers since they do not have to climb the truck any longer to access the cab or the product. Mike Speer Sr. Director of Facilities and Fleet Schwan’s Home Service, Inc. Marshall, Minn. 4

to to successfully complete their job responsibilitools ties, it’s too easy to end up with pounds of items that ti just aren’t needed. The result is an overly heavy vehiju cle that consumes excessive fuel, incurs repairs (and cl tire replacements!) more quickly, and causes additiontir al harm to the environment. Consider declaring one of your New Year’s resolutions a commitment to early spring cleaning. Asking drivers to take a quick look at what they are carrying (rather, don’t need to be carrying) is a no-cost way to have a positive impact on your fleet’s bottom line. Elisa Durand Manager, Strategic Consulting Analysis & Sustainability Automotive Resources International, Mt. Laurel, N.J.

CNG Conversion Info I am the fleet manager at Gamma HealthCare Inc., and I use the articles in Green Fleet magazine every day as examples. My question is, how do I turn my Ford Focus from gasoline to CNG? My fleet consists of 140 2009-2012 Ford Focus models. Miles per gallon are high with this fleet, but nothing compares to green. Any help on this matter would be appreciated greatly. Chris Lux Materials and Transportation Manager Gamma HealthCare Inc. Poplar Bluff, Mo.

The below reply is from Stephen Yborra, director of market development for NGVAmerica in Washington, D.C. Yborra is also director of market analysis, education & communications for the Clean Vehicle Education Foundation in Acworth, Ga. — Editor Several factors apply when converting/ retrofitting a vehicle to CNG: 1. Is an EPA-certified retrofit system available for the vehicle and model-year you seek? 2. Are the accumulated miles on the vehicle low enough that: a. There will not be technical challenges related to retrofitting the vehicle (gaskets, valves, etc.) to CNG after it has operated on gasoline? b. Is there enough life left on the vehicle to allow for the recoup of the retrofit investment? 3. Is there CNG fuel available that is:

a. Publicly accessible? b. Located close to or on regular route patterns that it is convenient? I can assist with several of these questions and refer you to the appropriate resources for the rest: 1. I believe Altech Eco of Arden, N.C., currently is the only manufacturer of EPAcertified systems for the Ford Focus (always check the EPA website for updates). 2. Each retrofit system company (referred to as a small volume manufacturer [SVM]) has its own working guidelines about how old a car it’s willing to retrofit (from a technical perspective). Generally, the better the vehicles have been maintained and operated, the longer the threshold mileage at which the decision is go/no-go. Contrary to popular belief, most retrofits are done on brand-new vehicles or vehicles that are within their first 25,000 miles (this threshold mileage varies depending on the SVM. A few will convert beyond this point, but most will not). However, there are SVMs in the market who actually pull the gasoline engine and repower it with a rebuilt gasoline-converted-to-CNG engine, eliminating the issue of “mileage caps” on used vehicles. 3. Like most SVMs, Altech Eco installs its own equipment and also has qualified installers around the country who it has trained to properly install and service its equipment. Again, contrary to popular belief, CNG retrofits are not a do-it-yourself (DIY) project. Let Altech Eco refer you to a qualified installer. 4. Regarding station availability, unless

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LETTERS www.greenfleetmagazine.com

there is a CNG station nearby that I am not familiar with, it looks as though you would likely have to install your own fueling capability. That raises another series of questions: a. Do you have natural gas service on your property or at a property that you have rights to install equipment? If yes, then continue. If not, then stop. You are not a candidate for CNG retrofit unless your business takes your vehicles to St. Louis where there is limited public access fueling available. b. What volume of fuel will you need per day in approximately three years, assuming that you plan to convert and/or purchase new CNG vehicles as you replace older vehicles? The threeyear mark is used because it makes sense to install sufficient capacity to meet your projected daily volume in three years. Otherwise, you are constantly “catching up” by adding equipment to meet needs and this tends to be costly and higher cost-per-installed gasoline-gallon equivalents (GGE) as economies of scale generally apply to compressor packagers — the bigger the package, the less the amortized equipment cost per GGE — assuming that you do not grossly under-utilize the equipment. c. Based on the volume per day, you can size and install a time-fill system that fills vehicles overnight and/or during idle periods during the day. Time-fill is far less expensive to install than fast-fill and likely will meet your needs. There are manufacturers/packagers of compression equipment (and related dryers, filters, valves, controls, etc.) that cover a wide range from one GGE per hour up to hundreds of GGEs per hour. In addition, systems may be installed in “modules” that allow for growth in capacity, although each has its own limitations on marginal cost-effectiveness before it makes more sense to bump to the next size compressor. d. Depending on the CNG component costs, detailed below, you should be able to produce your own CNG at a savings of $1.50 to $2/GGE as compared with gasoline. Your fully loaded cost per GGE should include: i. Cost of natural gas (this comprises the regulated fee per unit delivered by your local gas company plus the unregulated “pass along” costs of the natural gas commodity that it buys each month for its customers). Most residences and small businesses are on rate structures that “bundle” these two components together, 6

charging rates that are adjusted from timeto-time to compensate for the actual cost of the commodity that the utility paid. Utilities do not make a margin on the gas, just the delivery of the gas. ii. Cost of compression: Rule of thumb is one fully loaded KWH/GGE is probably10-15 cents per GGE. iii. Cost of station equipment maintenance: Don’t skimp here. Pay for regular preventive maintenance to get the most out of your station equipment. If you don’t, you’ll pay for it in costly repairs — figure 30-40 cents per GGE. iv. Amortized cost of station equipment: Divide the cost of the equipment over the number of GGEs you expect to produce using that equipment over the expected life of the equipment. Different compressors have different projected lifespans (including planned intervals for topend valve jobs, rebuilds, etc.). Generally, larger equipment may be depreciated over a 10-year period, although the equipment often lasts well beyond that. Generally, smaller equipment has shorter total life (usually quoted in operating hours, not years). I use rough estimates of 3565 cents per GGE in my classes, but each application has its own economic inputs. CNG offers great benefits to businesses that have the right operating characteristics, namely: 1. Repetitive routes in defined geographic areas and/or return-to-base operations. 2. High fuel use per vehicle (a relative term, based on the incremental cost of the CNG capability). Generally, large vehicles (transit buses, refuse trucks, delivery trucks, etc.) are better prospects than smaller vehicles, but many small vehicle applications are a great fit (e.g., package/document courier services; medical lab couriers who pick up and deliver from doctors’ offices to central labs; operational supervisors who travel throughout the day; government workers who travel to multiple appointments throughout the day — such as social workers, code/permit inspectors, etc.). Contact your local Clean Cities Coalition director to learn about potential state incentives for businesses that transition to alternative fuels such as natural gas. There may be a state vehicle retrofit tax incentive and, I believe, there are several potential grant programs available through your state environmental office and through the U.S. Department of Energy, via the Clean Cities Coalition channel.

Vice President Group Publisher, Auto Group Sherb Brown

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EcoPower is more than just engine oil. It’s part of a much bigger effort by Safety-Kleen, the largest collector and refiner of reclaimed engine oil in North America. We start by reclaiming over 200 million gallons of used oil from 270,000 locations. That oil is then refined using a process that requires up to 85% less energy to produce. The result is an API-certified engine oil that exceeds all North American standards for engine protection. By using EcoPower and the oil-recovery services of Safety-Kleen, you can protect your entire fleet and the environment in a sustainable way. And that’s protection everyone can benefit from. ©2012 SAFETY-KLEEN SYSTEMS, INC.

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INDUSTRY NEWS RYDER TO HELP ‘GREEN’ SOURCE INTERLINK FLEET MIAMI – Ryder System Inc. signed its first Flex-to-Green lease agreement with media firm Source Interlink Companies Inc. for seven diesel-powered vehicles. Under the lease agreement, Source Interlink will have the option to exchange these vehicles for natural gas-powered models. The company currently operates more than 300 vehicles across the country as part of its sales, services, and logistics division. Ryder’s Flex-to-Green lease is designed to provide customers the option of incorporating alternative-fuel vehicles into their fleets in support of their business objectives. Ryder’s alt-fuel fleet includes compressed and liquid natural gas vehicles, as well as hybrid vehicles.

PG&E, VIA Motors Unveil Plug-in Hybrid Truck DETROIT – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and VIA Motors unveiled an extended-range electric (e-REV) pickup truck designed for utilities and other businesses whose field employees need access to a power source. The California electric and gas utility partnered with VIA Motors in 2008 to develop the trucks and has already deployed two. Using VIA’s V-Drive, a 650v e-REV drive system designed for full-size trucks and SUVs, the e-REV truck can travel 40 miles solely on electricity beThe extended-range electric (e-REV) truck can fore switching to gasoline, and up to 400 provide mobile, onsite power to help manage miles extended range.  electrical outages.

Nissan e-NV200 Concept Provides Glimpse of Future Electric Van DETROIT – Nissan debuted a produc-

EATON & COULOMB TEAM UP ON EV STATIONS LAS VEGAS – Through an agreement between Eaton Corp. and Coulomb Technologies, Eaton’s Level II and DC quick-charging Pow-R-Station units will now give station owners the option to be part of Coulomb’s ChargePoint Network. Eaton Pow-R-Station charging stations, which can charge a depleted EV in three to four hours, will now have the capability to access all the functionality of the ChargePoint Network and ChargePoint service plans, including a centralized management infrastructure to set up services; automated billing and transaction payment processing; 24/7 driver support; and driver services that show real-time station availability. ChargePoint-enabled Eaton stations will be included on all ChargePoint mobile phone applications. Eaton Pow-RStation charging units can charge a depleted EV in three to four hours. 8

tion version of its all-electric, e-NV200 concept, based on the Nissan NV200 light commercial vehicle. According to the company, the battery capacity will support a driving range similar to the Nissan Leaf, while payload and cargo space will offer the same level as the current NV200. The e-NV200 concept shares its major drivetrain components with the Leaf. Zero-emission power is supplied by a lithium-ion battery composed of 48 compact modules and a high-response 80kW AC synchronous motor that generates 207 lb.-ft. (280 N-m/rpm) of torque.

A production version of the allelectric e-NV200 concept debuted at the 2012 North American Auto Show in Detroit in January. The battery capacity will support a driving range similar to the Nissan Leaf.

DTE Energy Tests Ram PHEV Trucks AUBURN HILLS, MI – Chrysler Group LLC, working in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), will provide 10 demonstration fleet Ram 1500 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) pickup trucks to DTE Energy of Detroit. The PHEV Ram 1500 pickups are part of a national demonstration fleet of 140 vehicles that will be used during the next three years to evaluate customer usage, drive cycles, charging, thermal management, fuel economy, emissions, and impact on the region’s electric grid.  In addition to DTE Energy of Detroit, 16 different cities have received more than 100 vehicles in the past six months. This is strictly a demonstration program. There are no plans for a production The PHEV Ram 1500 pickups are part of a version of the PHEV Ram 1500 trucks at national demonstration fleet of 140 vehicles that will be used during the next three years. this time, Chrysler Group said.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

Airport Shuttles Convert to Propane Autogas & CNG CHICAGO – The GO Group, a major airport shuttle provider, is see-

ing more of its member fleets go green. GO companies serving San Francisco International, Seattle-Tacoma International, Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Puerto Rico’s Luis Munoz Marin International airports are converting all or part of their fleets to propane autogas or compressed natural gas (CNG). GO Shuttle Express in Seattle, which has 43 propane-autogasfueled vehicles, began the conversion process in January 2011 and has 20 more systems to install. In San Francisco, GO Lorries has converted 16 vans to CNG, with another 28 to be retrofitted for CNG by May.  As of December 2011, GO Riteway Transportation Group in Milwaukee moved 21 of its 500-vehicle fleet to propane autogas, seeing $7,000 in fuel savings since October, according to the company.

GO Riteway, serving Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International airport, has saved $7,000 in fuel by converting just 21 of its 500 vehicles to propane autogas.

Peper Named GM’s New Head of Fleet and Commercial Operations

GM Plant Charges Up Solar EV Station

DETROIT – General Motors has named Ed Peper, formerly

WHITE MARSH, MD – General Mo-

general sales manager for the Cadillac brand, to the position of general manager, Fleet and Commercial Operations. Brian Small, executive director of GM’s Fleet and Commercial Operations, has been named to the position of general manager, PEPER U.S. Sales Support Operations for the company, working with GM’s dealer network. Small is taking over the position from Jim Bunnell, who was named to the position of VP Dealer Network and Sales Operations for Chevrolet/Cadillac in Europe. Peper joined the company’s Cadillac division in 1984, and has held many different field sales and marketing management positions with General Motors. SMALL Peper has served as general sales manager of Cadillac since August 2009 and is responsible for leading the Cadillac field organization and dealers. Prior to moving to Cadillac, he served as North American vice president of Chevrolet. In addition, he was previously general manager of Chevrolet, regional general manager for the General Motors Northeast Region, and vice president of Sales for Saab Cars, USA. Small has headed GM’s Fleet and Commercial Operations since BUNNELL February 2010. Prior to that role, he was general director for GM’s North America Order Fulfillment and Global Supply Chain Center, a post that included supporting fleet activities. Small joined GM in 1979, having spent most of his career in vehicle sales, service, and marketing roles. Representing GM’s four core brands — Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, and GMC — he has worked in key markets across the U.S., according to GM. Bunnell also joined GM in 1979, starting with the company’s Pontiac division. After roles in finance, manufacturing, planning, and sales with Pontiac, he joined GM’s North American Operations in the product planning organization, working in sales for the Pontiac brand through 2000. He was named regional general manager of GM’s Northeast Region in 2003, and, most recently, to the position of general manager of GM Dealer Network and Sales Support in 2009.

tor’s Allison Transmission plant in White Marsh, Md., received its first solar electric vehicle (EV) charging station. Designed by Standard Solar and Tim-berRock Energy Solutions, Inc., the 10kW system features four Level 1 (120v) charging stations, four Level 2 (240v) fast-charge stations, and covered parking for EV drivers underneath a solar canopy. According to TimberRock, the system’s anticipated energy production is 12,500 kW-hrs. per year, resulting in 12 fewer tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere per year. In addition to charging EVs, the system also ties directly to the building so that when the charging stations are not in use, the energy can be utilized throughout the building.

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General Motor’s Allison Transmission plant in White Marsh, Md., received its first solar electric vehicle charging station.

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Greening a Tr Requires Innova t As with any vehicle technology, there are numerous approaches that can be used to green a fleet. With trucks, it requires just a bit more patience and creativity. By Chris Wolski

I

n recent years, there has been a growing trend to “green” fleets using new emissionsreducing technology and techniques. However, green technology isn’t really a wholly new phenomenon for many fleets. Indeed, green truck fleets have existed for decades. While some fleets are old pros at integrating and managing these cuttingedge fleet assets, there are a growing number of fleets including green trucks in their mix for the first time. While, on the whole, the new technology is saving money and adding other efficiencies, it can come at a premium and requires some new ways to manage and maintain these assets. Below are snapshots of how truck fleets around the country are going green.

Leading the Way Schwan’s Home Service trucks were “green” long before the current trend in alternative-fuel technology. Ironically, its motivation was surprisingly contempo-

AT A GLANCE Greening a truck fleet requires fleet managers to: ● Measure the costs. ● Determine the best fuel for the fleet’s operation. ● Think ahead. ● Be flexible and expect challenges. 14

Schwan’s has been operating propaneautogas trucks since the gasoline crises of the

rary, explained Roger Porter, director of fleet acquisitions. “Back in the 1970s, Marvin Schwan was looking to break our dependence on foreign oil,” he said. So, the fleet was transitioned to propane autogas — a difficult task in the late 20th century, because many OEMs didn’t have the necessary gaseous-prep engines needed to make the conversion. Today, 73 percent of Schwan’s 5,000 vehicles are powered by propane autogas, including Ford E-450 Cutaways, GMC Savana cargo vans, and Izuzu cab-forwards. “This percentage would be much higher — but [due to the recession] there was a limited availability of gaseous-prep engines,” said Porter, whose long-term goal is to convert 100 percent of the fleet to propane autogas. While propane autogas has been a big part of Schwan’s fleet for more than a quarter century, Porter said he is continuously reevaluating this commitment. “It’s a business decision and we review it every year and find the investment pays off every year,” he said. Propane autogas has brought numerous benefits to Schwan’s fleet in addition to its economics. Propane autogas is domestically produced — fulfilling founder Mar-

vin Schwan’s goal to break dependence on foreign oil. Propane-autogas-fueled vehicles also tend to be quieter and have fewer damaging emissions. The biggest challenge has been finding gaseous engine options from the OEMs. “We continually ask and lobby the OEMs,” Porter said. “Unfortunately, the various types of engines we need are not always available.” Schwan’s operates its own fueling infrastructure at 95 percent of its facilities, cross-training its warehouse personnel how to fuel the vehicles. This has made its sales personnel more efficient. “It gives them more time to do their jobs,” Porter said. Even with the efficiencies gained by operating propane-autogas-fueled trucks, Schwan’s still relies on grant money to help fund the purchase of the vehicles. The company has worked with the Clean Cities Coalition for a number of years and recently joined the coalition’s National Clean Fleets Partnership, which will help make the grant process more efficient. “We have had an excellent relationship with the regional Clean Cities organizations, but, since Schwan’s is in every state,

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aa tion Truck Fleet & Creativity it was inefficient to work with every location individually. Belonging to the Clean Fleets Partnership streamlines this by giving us one point of contact,” Porter explained.

Measuring the ‘Five Cs’ It’s not just fleets with a long experience with alternative-fuel vehicles that are part of the National Clean Fleets Partnership. ThyssenKrupp Elevator, a recent entrant to the propane-autogas fraternity, is using the resources of the Clean Cities offshoot to help fund and convert its fleet as well. “It’s helped us find new markets where we can benefit from incentive money,” explained Tom Armstrong, director of fleet for ThyssenKrupp. “It also gives us better insight into the country as a whole and more insight on new technologies by streamlining the information.” Although ThyssenKrupp has just recently begun greening its fleet — and is sure to benefit from the financial intelligence available from the National Clean Fleets Partnership — the company as a whole is ARMSTRONG

committed to global sustainability, explained Armstrong. “Green is in our [corporate] DNA. And, we asked how we could take this [sensibility] to fleet.” But, the desire to “green” ThyssenKrupp’s truck fleet didn’t mean that vehicle technology was adopted for its own sake. Instead, Armstrong developed a system he refers to as the “Five Cs” that he uses to evaluate green vehicle technology. Each “C” is straightforward in what it measures: ● Is it Clean? ● Is it Cost-effective? ● Does it Conserve? ● Does it make Common sense? ● Can you Commit? Using this approach, Armstrong found the only alternative fuel that made sense was propane autogas. Since making this determination, the fleet has deployed propane-autogas-fueled trucks and vans in Phoenix and Seattle and will soon be introducing them to its Los Angeles and San Diego operations. Although propane autogas met all of Armstrong’s “Cs,” he discovered there was a sixth “C” — challenge. While the drivers were enthusiastic

ThyssenKrupp Elevator found that propane autogas was the alternative fuel that made the most sense under its “Five Cs” criteria. The company expects that 10 percent of its 3,100-plus vehicle fleet will be powered by propane autogas by 2015.

GETTING HTUF

P

ropane autogas and compressed natural gas (CNG) may be among the more popular alternative fuels for truck fleets. But, thanks to the work of the Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF), hybrid-electric technology may become as common an alternative-power source for trucks as the other alternative options. A project administered by CALSTART, a member organization dedicated to expanding and supporting a clean transportation industry, HTUF works to assist users and truck makers to reach pre-production manufacturing levels and deployment based on developing common key performance requirements with committed users. Steps to achieve this may include fleet characterization, business case development, lifecycle and performance modeling, and sharing technical information. These key performance requirements, shared with manufacturers, serve as the basis of pilot deployments and then production. For more information go to www.calstart.org/Projects/Hybrid-Truck-UsersForum.aspx

about propane autogas and the fleet is seeing fuel-cost savings, Armstrong said the biggest challenge came from a key feature of the fleet — the drivers take their vehicles home at night. This meant that he could only deploy vehicles where there is a local, public supply. “We have to work with our suppliers — they dictate where we go,” Armstrong observed. These challenges aside (which Armstrong said “were fun” to solve), Armstrong expects to have about 10 percent of the 3,100-plus vehicle fleet running on propane autogas by 2015. In the meantime, he keeps evaluating all other alt-fuel technology through the lens of his “Five Cs.” ➞

MARCH / APRIL 2012 ■ GREEN FLEET

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GREEN TRUCK FLEETS

BUILDING AN ALLIANCE Waste ManageW ment switched m from LNG to CNG fr several years ago. se It has proved to be economical and ec efficient. ef

Making an Alt-Fuel Switch Making the switch from conventional fuel to an alternative fuel can be difficult enough — then switching to another alternative fuel can be downright daunting. But, that’s exactly what Waste Management of Houston did several years ago when it changed from liquefied natural gas (LNG) trucks to compressed natural gas (CNG) for most new natural-gas-powered trucks going forward. The change was dictated by the fact that “CNG is easier to manage, it’s cheaper, and there’s no vapor loss as you have with LNG,” explained John Lemmons, direc-

tor of fleet and equipment performance for Waste Management. The company, which provides waste management services throughout the U.S. and Canada will have about 10 percent of its fleet running on CNG in a variety of Peterbilt, Freightliner, Mack, and Autocar model trucks by the end of 2012. Lemmons said there are numerous benefits from committing to CNG vehicles. One of the biggest is the reduction of vehicle downtime and the inexpensiveness of CNG. “I can buy CNG at less than half what I spend for diesel. The payback for a CNG truck is less than three years,” he noted. “Convincing our

L

ack of a fueling infrastructure can be an impediment to adopting alternative-fuel technology for fleet use. In addition to onsite fueling installation, Alliance AutoGas offers an aftermarket bifuel conversion system that starts an engine using gasoline and immediately switches over to propane autogas. Alliance also supports its conversion system by training a fleet’s maintenance team and drivers. Beyond basic training, the company provides technical and safety support and ongoing service.

management to commit to CNG was an easy sell based on the financial models. ” Another big benefit of switching to CNG was the ability of the Waste Management crews to be more efficient. Because CNG vehicles don’t have the same emissions control systems as a conventional diesel truck, each of the company’s vehicles have an extra 2,000-lb. payload capacity. But, with the benefits came challenges — the biggest is tied to the company’s fueling infrastructure, which is operated by Waste Management. “The logistics of conversion can be a challenge, since no two sites are the

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same,” Lemmons explained. “Some have a very quick turnaround, in terms of site permitting and readily available natural gas, while others don’t. We’ve dedicated a group of employees to handling our fueling infrastructure. One thing we’ve learned is that the availability of your fueling infrastructure has to coincide with your truck order.”

Losing Weight & Changing the Fuel Diet For American Residential Services (ARS) of Memphis, Tenn., the process of greening its truck fleet began with a simple question. “In 2009, the president asked if we were considering any alternative fuels for our vehicles. The answer was, yes, we were researching a variety of options to present to senior management in the near future,” recalled Mike Baessler, director of purchasing and fleet. While Baessler was researching the ideal alt-fuel for the fleet, he put his trucks on a diet, taking weight out of the box trucks and working to make them more aerodynamic. Once the fleet had been lightened, Baessler determined that propane autogas was the best fuel option based on truck and payload size for its Ford E-250, E-350, and E-450 vehicles. Currently, about 1 percent of its fleet is powered by propane autogas. After two years of preparation, the roll out of ARS’ propane-autogas-powered vehicles began in July 2011, and they quickly proved their worth. The initial 19 vehicles introduced to the Houston market have met with positive response from employees, who like that the vehicles are quiet, have less fuel odor, and offer more power. Baessler also likes that he’s seeing a serious decrease in his fuel spend. “We’ve seen a reduced fuel cost of more than $1 per gallon in Texas and close to $2 in California,” he said. Fuel costs have gone down, but Baessler

and his team had a few headaches making fueling at mostly public stations work. “We had to modify our fuel card safeguards,” he explained. “There are limited MCC [merchant category codes], so when the drivers tried to tank up at U-Haul or the hardware store, their cards were declined. In Texas, some locations didn’t have differential pumps with enough horsepower to fill the vehicle tanks in the heat of the summer; we have our own onsite tank in place now that eliminates that issue. But, those are the kinds of things you

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Proven

Petroleum By transitioning to higher mpg vehicles, the State of Washington’s fleet cuts fuel costs by more than $750,000. By Barbara Bonansinga

T

AT A GLANCE The State of Washington has reduced fuel costs by $750,000 through: ● Reduced petroleum use by 26 percent since 2005 by transitioning to alt-fuel vehicles. ● Support and buy-in from leadership. ● A blueprint for Fleet Fuel Consumption Reduction. 20

FLEET AVERAGE MPG

27 25 23 MPG

he State of Washington’s fleet operations department currently manages a fleet of about 2,600 units, primarily passenger vehicles. Almost 52 percent of its fleet consists of hybrids, making it the largest hybrid state government fleet in the nation. By transitioning to hybrids, Washington’s new Department of Enterprise Services (DES), previously known as General Administration, is successfully meeting its goals to reduce petroleum use, cut costs, and shrink its carbon footprint. Fleet’s petroleum use is down about 26 percent since 2005. Fleet manager for the Washington DES, Bryan Bazard, broke down the savings this way: “In fiscal-year 2011, the fleet drove more than 23.6 million miles; the average fleet vehicle fuel economy was 25 mpg. Averaging cost per gallon of gasoline at $3.50, we spent more than $3.3 million on fuel. When fleet fuel economy averaged 20.3 mpg as it did in 2005, we would have spent more than $4 million, or an additional $767,000.” Bazard added that the change reflected a larger shift within the state. “In 1995, the Washington fleet started transitioning to higher efficiency, bi-fuel vehicles and fuels, such as E-85; however, the fuel infrastructure for E-85 was lacking, resulting in limited use. So, we transitioned to vehicles with better overall fuel

21

Fleet Average MPG

19 17 15

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

The State of Washington’s average fleet mpg has increased since 2005, reaching a peak in 2009, but staying steady through 2010 and 2011.

economy, specifically hybrid,” Bazard said. According to Bazard, the underlying reason for the move was economic. “Hybrids replaced fullsize SUVs, then smaller BAZARD gasoline-powered SUVs and took the place of conventionally powered station wagons,” he said. Washington DES does not receive funding from the state legislature. Instead, it is funded through the rates it charges user agencies for goods and services. In the case of vehicles, DES has transitioned to a model where it owns all fleet vehicles and leases them back to user agencies at rates based on the total cost of ownership. Bazard noted the state’s cost of a hybrid sedan is now less than the state’s cost of a conventional gasoline-powered sedan (see table, Fleet

Vehicle Long-Term Rental Rates). Lease rates are calculated based on identified administrative costs, depreciation, fuel, maintenance, and interest charges. In terms of performance and reliability, Bazard said the hybrid experience has been successful as well. “We’ve had great results with the Toyota Prius that fleet slates for replacement at intervals of about 115,000 miles, although we have run some of them up to 160,000 miles without issues,” Bazard said. He noted only one hybrid required a battery replacement; it was a domestic brand and the failure occurred within a month of purchase and was fully warranted by the manufacturer. As for battery disposal, Bazard said spent batteries would be sent back to OEM dealers. The only other concern relates to the degradation of the chassis on a limited number of domestic hybrids and had nothing

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Reduction Strategies FLEET VEHICLE LONG-TERM RENTAL RATES (30-DAYS-PLUS) Description

Class Code

Monthly Rate

to do with the hybrid systems. He also said the Prius has been significantly cheaper to maintain compared to conventional vehicles. “They almost never need brakes, due to the regenerative braking system that assists the conventional brakes, leaving tires and oil changes as the primary maintenance expenses,” Bazard noted.

Cost Per Mile Over First 500

Passenger Cars SEDAN-HYBRID SEDAN-HYBRID-PREMIUM SEDAN SEDAN-AWD

ALT

$242

$0.29

ALTB

$272

$0.34

PAI

$251

$0.33

PAI AWD

$279

$0.37

SEDAN-PATROL

PAP

$340

$0.55

SEDAN-SW

SAI

$275

$0.37

VAN-7/8 PASSENGER

BAF

$352

$0.52

VAN-MINI-7/8 PASSENGER

BAM

$279

$0.38

VAN-12 PASSENGER

CAG

$343

$0.50

New Technology Reduces Maintenance Expenses

Passenger & Cargo Vans

VAN-PASSENGER-WHEELCHAIR

CAI

$430

$0.64

VAN-MINI-CARGO

CAL

$312

$0.45

VAN-MAXI-CARGO

CAM

$335

$0.49

VAN-MINI-CARGO-AWD

CD1

$312

$0.43

VAN-MAXI-CARGO-AWD

CD2

$316

$0.44

VAN-SPRINTER-CARGO

SPV

$380

$0.53

VAN-STEP-CARGO

STV

$690

$1.13

BOX TRUCK

BOX

$529

$0.93

TRUCK-1/2T-4X2

UA2

$314

$0.45

TRUCK-3/4T-4X2

UA3

$319

$0.46

SUV-LARGE-4X4

UD5

$346

$0.48

SUV-MEDIUM-4X4

UD7

$318

$0.44

SUV-HYBRID-SMALL-4X4

UDA

$287

$0.37

SUV-HYBRID-SMALL-4X2

UDB

$268

$0.34

Pickup Trucks & Utility Vehicles

TRUCK-1/2T-4X4-CREW

UDC

$324

$0.45

TRUCK-SM-4X4

UDD

$285

$0.39

TRUCK-1/2T-4X4

UDH

$297

$0.41

TRUCK-3/4T-4X4

UDT

$324

$0.45

* Effective 1/1/2012 © Copyright 2011 DES The above chart references the State of Washington’s DES actual rental rates for long-term fleet vehicle rentals (30-days-plus). Note that the regular passenger car sedan has a higher cost per mile than the hybrid passenger car sedan (highlighted above).

While fuel expense and tire costs take the largest bites out of fleet operating cost budgets, on conventional vehicles, routine brake system repairs account for a significant portion of routine maintenance costs. Bazard has witnessed how maintenance and repair costs can skyrocket on the gasoline-powered sedans, which previously were the dominant vehicle type in fleet when they hit 100,000 miles, resulting in setting the replacement mileage threshold. Switching to new technology can create challenges for fleet maintenance and repair shops and require rebalancing parts inventories for fleets with in-house shops. Bazard said Washington has experienced an easy transition in that regard. He recommended factory training for hybrid maintenance and repair. The DES fleet outsources about 70 percent of its major vehicle maintenance with a support team of three technicians in its sole in-house repair shop. He said that having a Toyota factory school positioned in nearby Portland, Ore., made tech training easy. Some hybrid OEM training has been provided free of charge by the manufacturers, others have associated costs. “The network of vendors who perform the majority of the work on our fleet vehi-

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cles have had no trouble handling our hybrid maintenance and repair needs,” Bazard commented. According to Bazard, selling agencies on hybrids was pretty easy; some basic information sharing facilitated the successful change. For example, it was necessary to orient drivers to the simple differences in vehicle starting procedures with hybrids, such as using a key fob or button in lieu of an ignition key. Operating a successful and cost-effective fleet program is dependent on appropriate vehicle replacement cycles. Washington has been successful in cycling fleet vehicles out when maintenance costs begin to climb, in part, due to the use of certificates of participation at interest rates of around 2.6 percent. The hybrid fleet consists of the Toyota Prius and Camry, Ford Escape and Fusion, and Honda models. Agencies that initially resisted the DES recently adopted the vehicle leasing business model; however, since the consolidation occurred, they are enjoying the benefits of centralized replacement planning and newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles, something that replacement planning at the big picture level enables. DES currently oversees many of the State’s vehicles, including social and health services agencies, Dept. of Health, Labor and Industries, and Fish and Wildlife, and it will embark on an even more expansive consolidation soon. In the near future, the Departments of Agriculture, Military Affairs, Ecology, Veterans Affairs, and Corrections will all fall under the new DES umbrella.

Biofuel Use Growing in State Fleet Washington fleet has employed other methods to curb its petroleum appetite, including more widespread use of biofuels. The Washington Dept. of Transportation has about 126 fueling sites, which utilize B-20 during summer months and B-10 in the winter. This has resulted in further reductions of petroleum for the State’s fleet. Last year, 337,000 gallons of petroleum were replaced by B-100. The B-100 was used to create blends ranging from B-5 to B-20. Overall, Bazard said biodiesel represented 12 percent of the fuel used in fleet’s 22

diesel vehicles. Fleet vehicles are not the only method Washington is using to reduce its petroleum consumption. In 2011, Washington used more than 335,000 gallons of biodiesel in the State’s ferries. On its climate change website, the State’s Ecology Department summarizes its position this way: “The State is taking a comprehensive approach in developing and implementing a practical and coordinated set of policies and solutions to meet the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions adopted into law in 2008, and to unleash innovation, investment, and job creation. A broad coalition of leaders, stakeholders, and the public are offering their thoughts and ideas as the State leads the way on reducing GHG emissions, growing the clean energy economy, and reducing our reliance on imported fuels.” Since Washington has a considerable amount of hydro power, Bazard said the major GHG producer is transportation (vehicles, boats, and aircraft). He considers biodiesel preferable to regular petroleum diesel because it produces lower harmful emissions and is more sustainable. Domestic energy sources, such as diesel made from agricultural products (such as soybeans) reduce U.S. dependence on foreign fuels. DES has been able to push a hybridvehicle-type agenda with the help of Governor Christine Gregoire’s Executive Order (EO) 05-01, effective in 2005, and through supportive fleet policies and goal setting. Fleet is mandated to convert to all biofuels, including E-85, biodiesel, or electricity by 2015. The Washington state legislature also established progressive requirements for not just fleet but state government to reduce GHG emissions and its carbon footprint.

Becoming a Model for Other Fleets As any fleet manager, public or private, will tell you, the support and buy-in of leadership is a necessity to ensure reduction philosophies are carried out and goals met. Fleet cost-cutting, petroleum reduction, and targeting emissions reductions go hand-in-hand. The approach utilized in Washington reaches well beyond individual

In 2011, the State of Washington replaced 337,000 gallons of petroleum with B-100, which was used to create blends ranging from B-5 to B-20.

PHOTO: ©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/ALXPIN

PETROLEUM REDUCTION

fleets and involves many aspects of government operations across multiple agencies. The State fleet serves as a model for private and municipal fleets leading the way with its reduction plans and goals. Washington’s initiative has “teeth” and the backing of state leadership as substantiated by state leadership in executive order and law. Specifically, some of the actions that the Governor’s EO 05-09 requires state agencies to include: ● Continue to work with six other Western states and four Canadian provinces in the Western Climate Initiative to develop a regional emissions reduction program design. ● Advise the federal government and Washington’s congressional delegation on designing a national program that reflects State priorities. ● Work with companies that emit 25,000 metric tons or more each year to develop emissions reduction strategies. ● Work with businesses and interested stakeholders to develop recommendations on emission benchmarks by industry to make sure 2020 reduction targets are met. ● Work with DNR to develop a forestry offset program and other financial incentives for the forestry and the forest products industry. ● Evaluate a low-carbon fuel standard or alternative requirements to reduce carbon

GREEN FLEET ■ MARCH / APRIL 2012

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PHOTO:

©ISTOCK

PHOTO.C

OM/TALA

J

PETROLEUM REDUCTION

In fiscal-year 2011, the Washington state fleet drove more than 23.6 million miles. Averaging gasoline costs at $3.50 per gallon, the State spent more than $3.3 million on fuel.

emissions from the transportation sector. ● Join with WSDOT, other West Coast states, and the private sector to make alternative fuels, including electricity for plugin vehicles, available along the West Coast highway and adjoining metropolitan centers. ● Working with the larger regional transportation councils, develop regional transportation plans that will increase transit options, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. ● Address the impacts of climate change, including rising sea levels and the risks to water supplies. In addition, the Washington State Legislature mandated as follows: ■ “All state agencies shall meet the statewide greenhouse gas emission limits established in RCW 70.235.020 to achieve the following, using the estimates and strategy established in subsections (2) and (3) of this section: (1) By July 1, 2020, reduce emissions by 15 percent from 2005 emissions levels. (2) By 2035, reduce emissions to 36 percent below 2005 levels. 24

(3) By 2050, reduce emissions to the greater reduction of 57.5-percent below 2005 levels or 70-percent below the expected state government emissions that year. ■ By October 1 of each even-numbered year beginning in 2012, each state agency shall report to the department the actions taken to meet the emission reduction targets under the strategy for the preceding fiscal biennium. The department may authorize the department of general administration to report on behalf of any state agency having fewer than 500 full-time equivalent employees at any time during the reporting period. The department shall cooperate with the department of general administration and the department of community, trade, and economic development to develop consolidated reporting methodologies that incorporate emission reduction actions taken across all or substantially all state agencies. ■ All state agencies shall cooperate in providing information to the department; the department of general administration; and the department of community, trade, and economic development for the purposes of this section. Washington’s approach to cost, petroleum, and emissions reductions is multi-faceted. In addition to planning and goal setting, agencies are required to report metrics to chart progress periodically for accountability. As part of the work relating to the State Agency Climate Leadership Act, Washington has taken a look at its progress via a survey of state government agencies. A summary of those responses provides insight into some additional successful strategies employed by fleets today to cut fuel consumption. Other components of Washington’s Blueprint for Fleet Fuel Consumption Reduction — Survey Results Summary include: ● 86 percent of agencies responding have cut the use of gasoline. ● 66 percent disposed of vehicles 10 years old or more. ● 67 percent are purchasing more fuelefficient vehicle types. ● 64 percent have purchased hybrids. ● 21 percent have purchased plug-in electrics. ● 64 percent are buying smaller vehicles.

● 65 percent have internal policies dis-

couraging SUVs and large passenger vehicles. ● 70 percent encourage better preventive maintenance on vehicles. ● 56 percent had their own internal fuel efficiency policies. ● 27 percent of agencies responding limit idling. ● 33 percent have reduced their fleet size. ● 91 percent have taken action to reduce costs, fuel consumed, and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the majority of fleets surveyed had business trip reduction policies, invested in video conferencing technology, and encouraged carpools. About 60 percent of agencies responding invested in or promoted the use of video conferencing systems for travel avoidance with more than 85 percent of the agencies responding having attended conferences via webinar and encouraged ridesharing and van pooling. A majority, about 89 percent of those responding to the survey had increased permissions for employees to telecommute and telework. While government agencies are taking a leadership role in finding ways to reduce fuel consumption for work tasks, Washington’s efforts don’t stop there. For example a number of agencies worked to locate work sites that government employees could walk, rideshare, or bike to. Coupled with a comprehensive approach to providing fuel-efficient and hybrid vehicles for agencies to carry out work missions, Washington has succeeded in cutting fuel costs, reducing fuel consumed, and benefitting the environment for its citizens. About the Author Barbara Bonansinga has worked in fleet management with the State of Illinois for more than 25 years. She can be reached at bbonansinga@ sbcglobal.net. Look for Part 2 of this series on Proven Petroleum Reduction Strategies, focusing on additional approaches app to cutting fuel costs, petroleum consumption and emissions in the next issue of Green Fleet.

GREEN FLEET ■ MARCH / APRIL 2012

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Electrifying Transportation

in North Carolina

A charging station, partially funded by the CCFC, at the Schiele Museum in Gastonia, N.C.

Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition is paving the way for electric vehicles in the greater Charlotte region By Julie Sutor A Chevrolet Volt and a plug-in Toyota Prius charge at a media event held at the Schiele Museum in Gastonia, N.C.

(L-R) CCFC Coordinator Jason Wager, the City of Gastonia’s Kristy Crisp, and CCFC Co-coordinator Emily Parker unveil a GE Gexpro Level II, partially funded by CCFC.

a lot of thoughtful planning,” said Wagger, who has led the coalition since 2000. ““We’re looking closely at what’s working eelsewhere before we invest our resourcees, and we’re making sure that our infrasstructure deployment is commensurate with market demand.” w The University of North Carolina Charllotte is one of many CCFC stakeholders CCFC Coordinator Jason Wager and Coturning to electricity as an alternative to coordinator Emily Parker get a feel for event sponsor Duke Energy’s high-performance Tesla petroleum. The campus has more than 110 electric-drive vehicles that serve a variety PEV at a CCFC PEV education workshop.  of functions, including groundskeeping, maintenance, and housekeeping. s electric vehicles hit the market in “[The university is] reducing petroleum increasing numbers, Jason Wager use, saving money on fuel and protecting and Emily Parker of the Centralina Clean students from breathing exhaust fumes,” Fuels Coalition (CCFC) are helping fleets Wager said. plug in and charge up. CCFC, one of North Other EV leaders in the coalition inCarolina’s two U.S. Department of Enerclude the City of Charlotte and Duke gy (DOE)-designated Clean Cities coaliEnergy, which have already incorpotions, is working with public- and privaterated Chevrolet Volts and Nissan Leafs sector partners to deploy electric vehicles; into their fleets. plan for charging infrastructure; and eduOn the statewide level, CCFC is leading cate fleets and consumers about the assothe North Carolina PEV Readiness Initiaciated benefits, challenges, and opportutive: Plugging In From Mountains to Sea. nities of electrification. With $500,000 from the DOE, participants “We’re making steady progress through in the initiative are preparing a state read-

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iness plan, developing regional plans for North Carolina’s most populous regions, and strengthening existing local and regional efforts. Through the initiative, CCFC recently launched a new website, www.Go4PEV. org, dedicated to providing EV readiness guidance to businesses, government agencies and consumers, and sharing lessons from early adopters. “What we’re hearing from folks is that there’s a need for education and collaboration. If the City of Charlotte has gone through the process of procuring charging equipment, for example, why not share what it learned?” Wager asked. About the Author Julie Sutor is a staff member with the Communications Office of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo. Get Involved With Clean Cities Through T the work of nearly 100 local c coalitions, Clean Cities advances the nation’s economic, environmental, and energy security by reducing petroleum use in transportation. Clean Cities is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy. Find out more at www.cleancities.energy.gov. For more information about CCFC, visit www.4cleanfuels.com or www.Go4PEV.org.

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Evaluating Medium-Duty Truck When it comes tto alternative Wh alternative-fuel lt ti ffuell systems t for f medium medium-duty di duty d t (Class (Cl 44-7) 7) trucks ttrucks, ks one size does not fit all. Fleets have five green options to consider. By Sean Lyden

T

oday’s market is awash in alternative -fuel options — from biodiesel to natural gas to electricity to propane autogas. While each has clear advantages for use in medium-duty (Class 4-7) trucks, they also have disadvantages. The key to getting the right menu of fuel sources is to understand their advantages and disadvantages, weigh them, and make a decision based on a fleet’s needs. The following is an overview of the leading alt-fuel technologies in the mediumduty market spotlighting each option’s benefits, drawbacks, and potential future as fleet fuel sources.

BIODIESEL Biodiesel is a clean-burning alternative renewable fuel produced from vegetable oils (such as soybeans), animal fats, and yellow grease (recycled cooking oil from restaurants). The term “biodiesel” technically refers to the pure fuel (100-percent biodiesel or B-100) before blending with diesel fuel. Biodiesel “blends” are labeled

at a glance Fleets considering alternative fuels have five options to consider: ● Biodiesel, a

clean-burning alternative renewable fuel produced from vegetable oils, animal fats, and yellow grease.

in terms of percent biodiesel. For example, B-5 is a blend of 5-percent biodiesel and 95-percent diesel.

BIODIESEL: UPSIDE Reduced emissions. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), B-20 biodiesel blend cuts unburned hydrocarbons by 20 percent, carbon monoxide by 12 percent, and particulate matter by 12 percent, compared to conventional diesel. Low initial investment to “go green.” Biodiesel operates in conventional diesel engines with few, if any, modifications and is distributed using today’s infrastructure, enabling fleets to keep spare parts’ inventories, leverage central fueling stations, and utilize skilled diesel mechanics, which keeps costs low. Growing original equipment manufacturer (OEM) acceptance. All major automakers and engine manufacturers in the U.S. accept the use of at least B-5. “Now more than 60 percent of those companies also support B-20 or higher blends, making it easier for fleets to use biodiesel blends in their vehicles with confidence,” said Jennifer Weaver, OEM outreach and education specialist for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).

● Natural

BIODIESEL: DOWNSIDE

● Propane

Fuel infrastructure and cost. Currently, there are more than 3,600 retail and distributor outlets for biodiesel in the U.S. Biodiesel distributors also deliver fuel to fleets’ own central fueling tanks nationwide. The federal biodiesel tax credit and numerous state incentives help to bring the cost of biodiesel in line with petroleum diesel.

gas, which can be in compressed or liquefied forms. autogas, also known as liquefied petroleum gas.

● All-electric, which

can either be powered from energy collected from a plug-in source or from battery cells located inside the vehicle.

● Hybrid power, which uses a combination

of conventional gasoline or diesel and electricity. 28

“However, in order to guarantee the most efficient, widespread, and cost-effective distribution of biodiesel over the long term, more biodiesel will need to be transported via pipeline,” Weaver said. “There is already one U.S. pipeline actively transporting biodiesel blends, and substantial research is currently underway with the pipeline and petroleum industries to enable greater biodiesel distribution via pipeline in the future.” A current list of retailers is available at the NBB’s “Find a Retailer” link: www.biodiesel. org/buyingbiodiesel/retailfuelingsites. For centrally fueled fleets (with onsite fuel tanks), a guide to biodiesel distributors can be found at: www.biodiesel.org/buyingbiod iesel/distributors. Fuel quality. Biodiesel that does not meet strict quality standards can diminish engine performance, clog filters and injectors, and cause numerous other costly repairs. While this is a concern at the moment, high-standard biodiesel is being produced. “Today, biodiesel production is held to extremely high-quality standards as dictated by a thorough and constantly improving set of American Society of Testing & Materials (ASTM) specifications for biodiesel,” Weaver explained. “Those standards include ASTM D6751 for pure biodiesel, ASTM D975 for blends up to 5-percent biodiesel, and ASTM D7467 for blends between 6 and 20 percent. Biodiesel fuel quality is further ensured by the industry’s robust quality control program, BQ-9000.” Cold weather operability. “The performance of biodiesel in cold conditions is markedly worse than that of petroleum diesel,” said Anthony Radich, U.S. Depart-

ANN MA PHOTO: ©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/NASENMANN

Alternat ive-Fuel

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Technologies ment of Energy analyst. In his study Biodiesel Performance, Costs, and Use, Radich noted that the temperature at which wax crystals can form and potentially clog fuel lines and filters with biodiesel is higher than that for petroleum diesel.  On the upside, fuel suppliers can produce biodiesel with additives that enable it to perform in extremly cold conditions. For detailed information on handling cold flow issues, visit: www.biodiesel.org/pdf_files/fu elfactsheets/Cold%20Flow.PDF.

BIODIESEL’S FUTURE In July 2010, the U.S. EPA implemented the Renewable Fuels Standard 2, calling for increased volumes of biodiesel to be used in the U.S. marketplace through at least 2022. The biodiesel production requirement for 2011 is 800 million gallons, ramping up to as much as 5 billion gallons by 2022. “With more biodiesel available in the marketplace and ever-increasing support for biodiesel by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) community, the future for fleet use of this advanced biofuel looks very bright,” Weaver explained.

NATURAL GAS Natural gas vehicles (NGVs) use internal combustion engines that are very similar to those that run on gasoline or diesel. There are two types of NGV systems: dedicated and bi-fuel. Dedicated systems are designed to run exclusively on natural gas; bi-fuel can run on natural gas or conventional fuel (diesel or gasoline) but not both at the same time. Light-duty sedans, pickups, and some smaller medium-duty trucks use either dedicated or bi-fuel systems, while most medium- and heavy-duty engines run dedicated systems only. Natural gas may be stored onboard in one

of two ways, either as compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG). LNG is currently used in less than 5 percent of NGVs with nearly all used by heavy-duty trucking and some transit bus operations because its density allows for a smaller fuel system footprint. CNG is far more prevalent in light-duty and medium-duty work trucks. Factory-built NGVs for delivery fleets, public works, and other larger work truck applications (Class 6 and larger) are available from many of the major truck manufacturers, including Freightliner, Peterbilt, Kenworth, and International. Conversions are available on Class 5-7 Workhorse, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp (FCCC), and Isuzu trucks ordered with gasoline engines.

NATURAL GAS: UPSIDE Environmental benefits. According to Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVAmerica), NGVs produce up to 95-percent less overall toxins compared to gasoline and diesel vehicles, and produce between 20- and 30-percent less greenhouse gas emissions. North American fuel source. Since nearly 98 percent of all natural gas used in the U.S. comes from North America, proponents argue that increased use, especially in the transportation sector, which currently relies heavily on imported oil, is a viable path for the United States to achieve greater energy independence now and for the foreseeable future. Comparatively low fuel costs. In the most recent Clean Cities Alternative-Fuel Price Report (www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/ pdfs/afpr_apr_11.pdf), CNG offers a savings of $1.74 per equivalent gallon of diesel and $1.82 per equivalent gallon of gasoline. “Current national fuel prices provide a compelling case for converting, and, depending on the fleet application, provide a payback period of two to four years,” said

Jonathan Culp, manager of strategic alliances for PHH Arval.

NATURAL GAS: DOWNSIDE NGV Premium. The incremental cost on OEM-equipped and after-market conversion natural gas vehicles varies widely based on the amount of fuel storage installed, but may range from $20,000 to as much $50,000. While there have been substantial federal and state tax incentives and/or grants that lower NGV purchase premiums in the past, the federal credit for purchasing NGV expired at the end of 2010, but there still are state-level incentives. (To learn more about what is available in your state, visit www. ngvc.org/incentives/index.html). Infrastructure. Despite fuel cost advantages, this is a primary constraint impeding widespread fleet adoption of natural gas, even in high-mileage applications. Currently, there are about 1,000 compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling locations in the U.S., but only 50 percent are open to the public. A listing of public CNG refueling stations is available at: www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/fuels/nat ural_gas_stations.html.

NATURAL GAS’ FUTURE Natural gas has some clear advantages, but the lack of a natural gas infrastructure is a big hurdle to its widespread implementation. “While some states, such as California and Utah, have a more well developed natural gas refueling infrastructure, we need to spur the investment needed to increase the pace of construction,” said Kathryn Clay, executive director of the Drive Natural Gas Initiative. “The [recent] announcement by Chesapeake Energy of its partnership with Clean Energy Fuel’s Corp will bring about another 150 liquefied natural gas (LNG) stations to our nation’s interstates. While this is

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ALT-FUEL TECHNOLOGY

an important step, more needs to be done.” Clay added that federal tax incentives could help, as could decisions by local public utility commissions to encourage the development of NGV refueling stations.

PROPANE AUTOGAS Propane autogas, also known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), is used as a fuel in internal combustion engines in light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles. Propane is produced from both natural gas processing and crude oil refining, in roughly equal amounts from each source. Proponents point to the fuel’s potential to wean America off foreign oil, as 97 percent of propane consumed in the U.S. is produced in North America.

PROPANE AUTOGAS: UPSIDE Widespread use. Propane autogas is the third most common vehicle fuel in the United States, used in bus, taxi, shuttle, and light- and medium-duty truck fleets, according Steve Wayne, chief technology officer, Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). He attributes the expansion of propane to a rapidly growing maintenance and refueling infrastructure, in addition to increased availability of propane-autogasfueled vehicles. Fuel cost savings. According to a recent Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report, propane autogas offers 86-cents-per-gallon savings compared to diesel. Reduced emissions. “Propane autogasfueled fleet vehicles emit 12-percent less carbon dioxide, about 20-percent less nitrogen oxide, and up to 60-percent less carbon monoxide than gasoline-fueled vehicles, which provide a sustainable solution for fleets looking to reduce emissions and fuel costs,” Wayne said.

PROPANE AUTOGAS: DOWNSIDE

Natural gas comes in two forms: compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquified natural gas (LNG). LNG is used in only 5 percent of vehicles, mainly heavy-duty trucks and transit buses. PHOTO: ©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/DOODLEDANCE

lower cost of propane autogas (compared to diesel and gasoline), reduced maintenance costs over the life of a vehicle, and extended engine life,” Wayne explained. “Propane autogas burns cleaner in engines than gasoline and diesel, resulting in reduced maintenance costs and longer engine life, which helps curb costs. Limited availability of propane-autogasfueled vehicle platforms. Wayne said the industry has been aggressively investing in development to rollout a wider range of propane-autogas vehicles for fleets. “In the past two years, more than a dozen new on-road platforms fueled by propane autogas have been developed with funding from PERC, and more vehicle platforms are currently being developed by ROUSH CleanTech, CleanFuel USA, and Freightliner Custom Cab and Chassis,” Wayne said. Limited Fueling Infrastructure. “The propane industry has worked with fleets to establish a refueling infrastructure that works best for fleets’ needs,” Wayne said. “Onsite refueling dispensers are available for centralized fleets, while thousands of offsite refueling stations across the U.S. make propane autogas readily available.” To find the nearest propane fueling station, go to: www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/ locator/stations. For more information for centrally fueled fleets, visit: www.autogasusa.org/fuelingwith-propane/refueling-options/supplierrefueling.

of propane-autogas-fueled vehicles. “The acceptance of school buses, airport, ground transportation, and delivery vehicles is positive proof that propane-autogasfueled fleet vehicles make sense not only today, but also in the future, as pressure for fleet managers to run sustainable and cost-effective operations increases,” Wayne said. “PERC anticipates growth in this marketplace with new engine technologies and products, and is positioned to continue to support growth in this market through research and development, safety, and training programs.”

ALL-ELECTRIC Also known as plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), all-electric medium-duty trucks are propelled entirely by electricity from the utility grid, with a range of 80 to100 miles or more on battery power. OEMs such as Navistar (www.estartrucks. com), Smith Electric (www.smithelectric. com), ZeroTruck (www.zerotruck.com), and Freightliner Customer Chassis Corp. (www.freightlinerchassis.com) offer allelectric trucks with gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWRs) of 12,000-lbs. to 29,500lbs., top speeds up to 65 mph, and ranges up to 100 miles on a full charge.

ALL-ELECTRIC: UPSIDE Zero tailpipe emissions. Since BEVs do not burn liquid or gaseous fossil fuels at any time, they produce zero tailpipe emissions. Lower fuel and operational costs. The biggest advantage for PEVs and BEVs from a fleet perspective is the operating costs for electric vehicles are substantially lower than diesel trucks. “The cost-per-mile for BEVs may be a third of the cost-per-mile for diesel trucks of the same weight class, including maintenance costs,” said Dave Hurst, senior analyst, Pike Research.

ALL-ELECTRIC: DOWNSIDE Conversion Cost. Trucks equipped with liquid propane autogas injection systems have an initial purchase price between $4,000 to $12,000 more than conventional gasoline or diesel trucks. “The conversion cost can be offset by the 30

PROPANE AUTOGAS’ FUTURE While not a common part of a mediumduty fleet’s fuel menu, there are examples of market segments that are showing the relevance and successful implementation

High initial cost. The upfront cost of medium-duty electric trucks is about double that of diesel, and fleets are typically incurring additional costs for the recharging infrastructure, including potentially trench-

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ALL-ELECTRIC’S FUTURE Genevieve Cullen, vice president, Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA), expects to see battery electric vehicle (BEV) fleets growing over the next five to 10 years. “Announcements of substantial purchase plans by some of the largest fleets — General Electric, FedEx Express, and UPS — are indicators of the

HYBRID: DOWNSIDE PHOTO: ©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/KG4ICN

ing for the charging equipment power line and adding new electric service. “These costs may not be included in a cost-permile calculation, but are definitely considered when calculating the return on investment” Hurst noted.  To narrow the price gap, the Recovery Act established tax credits for purchasing electric vehicles ($2,500-$7,500 per vehicle, depending on the battery capacity) and conversion kits to retrofit conventionally powered vehicles with electric vehicle capability ($4,000 per vehicle, maximum). For details on the federal tax incentive go to: www.afdc.energy.gov/ afdc/laws/law/US/409. Some states are also offering as much as $5,000, in addition to federal incentives, in tax credits for electric vehicles. For more information on these state tax incentives, visit www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/laws/state. Limited applications. Since the existing range for all-electric medium-duty trucks is approximately 100 miles, there is a small niche in which these trucks can feasibly operate — most prominently the urbandelivery market. Limited charging infrastructure. Allelectric medium-duty trucks currently work best for fleets that have return-to-base operations, where the trucks can charge overnight and then deploy on their routes the next day, without the need to recharge while away from “home.” So, what’s holding back BEV growth in the medium-duty market is the ability to charge away from home base, to reduce “range anxiety” for drivers, and extend routes beyond existing battery range limits. To overcome this challenge, federal stimulus money is being used to subsidize developing residential and commercial “quick charge” EV charging stations in select urban markets.

Biodiesel is a clean-burning alternative renewable fuel produced from vegetable oils (such as soybeans), animal fats, and yellow grease (recycled cooking oil from restaurants).

market’s growing interest,” she said. “Market share will grow faster as costs come down over the next few years as manufacturers achieve economies of scale.”

HYBRID

High conversion cost. Hybridization is expensive — as much as $20,000-$30,000 or more — so it’s a good idea to do extensive route analysis before undertaking a hybridization project, advised Jonathan Culp, manager of strategic alliances, PHH Arval, a full-service fleet management company based in Sparks, Md. “Begin by matching the drive cycle and route to a specific conversion spec to ensure that you will be able to achieve the goals of the project,” he said. “For example, I would not advise a client to hybridize a long-haul vehicle. Rather, I would recommend doing so to a vehicle that makes constant startsand-stops and has a known delivery route.”

HYBRID’S FUTURE

Medium-duty hybrids use a combination of diesel and electricity. In slower (below 30 miles per hour) stop-and-go traffic, the hybrid system acts primarily as an electric motor, drawing power from the battery pack, and automatically switches between electricity and diesel, as needed. In steady driving conditions above 30 miles per hour, the hybrid truck is powered by the diesel engine. Factory-built hybrid trucks are available from Kenworth (T270 Class 6 and T370 Class 7 Hybrids), Peterbilt (330 Hybrid), and International (Durastar Hybrid). There are also several aftermarket hybrid conversion systems compatible with most medium-duty trucks.

HYBRID: UPSIDE Fuel cost savings. According to Hurst at Pike Research, the operational cost (including fuel and maintenance) of medium-duty hybrids is approximately 25-percent lower than conventional diesel-powered trucks. Extended range compared to all-electric vehicles. “If it’s an application where the vehicle needs to be in a heavier class (Class 5 and up), needs an energy-hungry refrigeration unit or other equipment, will need to be used for multiple shifts (so no downtime to recharge), or has a full load at the end of its route, then a hybrid may be a better match,” Hurst said.

Both BEV and hybrid medium-duty trucks should both see strong growth and be on similar trajectories to some degree, predicted Hurst of Pike Research.  “The difference between them is that the hybrid truck market has a 10-year head start on the BEV truck market at the moment,” he explained. “So, while we anticipate that hybrid medium-duty trucks will reach sales of almost 13,000 vehicles per year by 2017, during that same year, BEV trucks will likely sell about 3,000. The main reason for the differences will be the costs and the duty cycle of the two vehicles will appeal to different fleets for different reasons.”

The Bottom Line So, which green energy source is the best? The short answer, according to the experts, is all of them, but for different reasons. “Ten years from now, fleets will most likely have some of each of these technologies, along with emerging technologies such as plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells, and perhaps, even near-field charging,” said Culp of PHH Arval. “This is not a VHS versus Betamax issue. All of these technologies are going to be important in helping to reduce our petroleum dependence, and each will provide a positive return on the investment given the right niche and fleet application. I would advise companies to stay current with emerging trends and build partnerships with other fleets to find out what is working for them.”

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VEHICLESHO GREEN

Six vehicles covering the gamut of fuel options can help fleets improve fuel efficiency, lower operating costs, and reduce dependence on foreign oil.

ELECTRIC E

E

NISSAN LEAF

The Nissan Leaf is the first mass-market electric vehicle. Powered by a lithiumion battery pack composed of 48 compact modules and a high-response 80kW AC synchronous motor generating 107 hp and 207 lb.-ft. of torque, the Leaf has a 100-mile range on a single charge based upon U.S. EPA LA4 City Cycle conducted in laboratory tests. Technology assists the driver with range management. The Nissan Leaf can be charged up to 80 percent of its full capacity in under 30 minutes when equipped with a quick charge port and using a DC fast charger. Charging at home through a 220v outlet is estimated to take approximately seven hours.

NATURAL GAS

The Nissan Leaf’s range is approximately 100 miles based on U.S. EPA LA4 City Cycle tests.

The lithium-ion battery pack carries a warranty of eight years or 100,000 miles. The quick charge port is standard on the SL model.

The front-wheel drive Nissan Leaf utilizes a dedicated EV platform with batteries housed in the floor for optimum vehicle packaging and weight distribution.

NG

NG

HONDA CIVIC NATURAL GAS Formerly known as the Civic GX, the fourth-generation model has been rebranded as the Civic Natural Gas to highlight its most distinctive feature: the fact that it’s a dedicated CNG vehicle. The Civic Natural Gas is ideal for a broad range of fleet applications, including for “runners,” supervisors, parking lot contractors, parks and recreation departments, mass transit organizations, utilities, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical reps. Featuring a four-cylinder natural gas engine, it achieves 110 hp and 106 lb.-ft. of torque with a 5-speed transmission. 32

Ideal for a broad range of fleet applications, the Honda Civic Natural Gas was formerly known as the Civic GX.

The Civic Natural Gas engine produces almost zero smog-forming emissions and is the cleanest internal-combustion

vehicle certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Tier-II, Bin-2 and ILEV certification as of August 2010).

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ESHOWCASE NG

FORD F-650 GASOLINE ENGINE: CNG/LPG UPFIT The 2012 Ford Super Duty features a gasoline engine — a class exclusive in the medium-duty truck segment — a 6.8L three-valve gasoline engine that achieves 362 hp and 457 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine couples with a Ford 6R410 6-speed transmission with double overdrive gears. An optional gaseous fuel preparation package is available for conversion to compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied propane autogas (LPG) fuels. Ford Commercial Trucks now feature a CNG/LPG alt-fuel choice across all commercial truck models. The CNG/LPG gaseous engine prep packages are developed

The 2012 Ford Super Duty features an optional gaseous fuel preparation package for conversion to CNG or LPG fuels.

and tested by Ford, and the manufacturer maintains the engine and powertrain limited warranty (five-years/60,000-miles), while the upfitter is responsible for the

system component warranty. Mileage estimates for the 2012 Ford Super Duty F-650 with CNG package is approximately 250 miles.

NG

CNG CHEVROLET EXPRESS & GMC SAVANA General Motors Fleet and Commercial Operations began offering Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana compressed natural gas (CNG) full-size vans in spring 2010. These CNG vehicles are powered by a specially designed Vortec 6.0L V-8 engine equipped with hardened exhaust valves, and intake and exhaust valve seats for improved wear resistance and durability with gaseous fuel systems. They are also upfitted and delivered directly to the customer with the fully integrated and warranted dedicated gaseous fuel system in place.  Commercial customers choose CNG because it is among the cleanest burning fuel of any alternative-fuel choice for a fleet, according to the manufacturer. According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), CNG-powered vans can produce approximately 25-percent fewer carbon dioxide

The CNG-powered Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana cargo vans are powered by a specially designed Vortec 6.0L V-8 engine.

emissions than similar gasoline and diesel-powered vans. The Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana CNG vans are covered by GM’s three-year/36,000-mile new vehicle lim-

ited warranty and five-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, and meet all EPA and California Air Resources Board (CARB) emission certification requirements. ➞ MARCH / APRIL 2012 ■ GREEN FLEET

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GREEN VEHICLE SHOWCASE DIESEL

D

D

VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT TDI The all-new 2012 Volkswagen Passat is a mid-size sedan produced in Chattanooga, TN. The Passat TDI version – the only diesel option in the segment- delivers an estimated 40 mpg on the highway with the optional DSG 6-Speed Automatic, and a range of almost 740 miles on one tank of fuel. The 2.0L TDI Clean Diesel in-line four-cylinder engine produces 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. The TDI engine is equipped with selective catalytic reduction systm (SCR), a clean engine that fulfills emission requirements in all 50 states. Standard premium features include

GASOLINE G

automatic dual-zone climate control and Bluetooth - no-charge 3yr/36,000-mile scheduled carefree maintenance program is also standard.

The 2012 VW Passat is a 2012 IIHS Top Safety Pick, the 2012 Motor Trend Car of the Year, and received a 5-Star NHTSA safety rating.

G

DODGE DART

The first Chrysler Group vehicle built on Fiat Group architecture, the 2013 Dodge Dart is offered with a choice of three fourcylinder engines. Drivers can select from a new Tigershark 16-valve 2.0L engine, a 16-valve 1.4L MultiAir Intercooled Turbo engine, and a new Tigershark 16-valve 2.4L MultiAir four-cylinder engine. These three engines offer three transmission choices as well. According to the manufacturer, the MultiAir technology delivers optimum combustion at any speed under all driving conditions by allowing direct and dynamic control of air intake and combustion. The new vehicle features a tailored split-crosshair grille, projector headlamps and fog lamps, and accentuated fenders up front. Dodge full-width LED “racetrack” tail lamps and integrated dual exhaust

34

The all-new 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI delivers an EPA estimated 40 mpg highway with an automatic transmission.

Available in five trim levels, the 2013 Dodge Dart features a choice between three different four-cylinder engines.

— both inspired by the Dodge Charger — are designed to accentuate the vehicle’s stance and look. The 2013 Dodge Dart will be available in five trim levels: SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited,

and R/T. It will be built in the United States at Chrysler Group’s Belvidere Assembly Plant in Belvidere, Ill. Production of the 2013 Dodge Dart will begin in the second quarter of 2012.

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SHO WCASE TRANSIT CATA: All About Partnerships Working with a local natural gas provider has spelled success for Pennsylvania-based Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA). While other transit fleets were dipping their toes in the alt-fuel waters, CATA jumped in feet first. By Chris Wolski

I

n 1993, the Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA) of State College, Pa., committed its transit fleet to compressed natural gas (CNG). It hasn’t looked back. The commitment was spurred by a partnership with its local natural gas provider, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania. “Columbia Gas was promoting natural gas as a vehicle fuel, and my predecessor argued that partnering with CATA would be a good showcase of what it was trying to do,” said Hugh Mose, CATA’s general manager. Jumping in feet first, while other transit fleets were tentatively dipping their toes, was a necessity. The fleet’s newest vehicle was almost a decade old, and some buses dated to the 1960s. “Our bus fleet was so terribly antiquated, we needed to do something,” Mose explained. CNG also fit with the community’s interest in clean-burning domestically produced fuels.

Navigating New Technology Working with Columbia Gas, and obtaining state and federal grant money, CATA secured 16 CNG-powered Orion transit buses and installed a fueling infrastructure. The reaction when the buses were put into service in 1996 was immediate. “The Orions were demonstrably better. It really attracted public attention,” recalled Mose, who joined the transit system in 1995. CATA’s entire transit fleet of 61 buses — primarily New Flyers — is now powered by CNG, and serves an annual ridership of 7.1 million, including students from The Pennsylvania State University. While the CNG fleet has been a big success, Mose admitted being on the cutting edge of alternative-fuel technology came with some definite growing pains. For instance, the fueling infrastructure

Introducing its first CNG transit bus in 1996, CATA hasn’t looked back. The fleet is committed to CNG for the foreseeable future.

was quickly outgrown by the CNG fleet as the older diesel buses were cycled out. There were also issues with the technology, both from a lack of understanding it — the first winter saw a near-catastrophe when the desiccant in the gas dryers wasn’t kept adequately dry, causing the fuel lines in the buses to nearly freeze — and technological issues with the early buses — the first 24 engines required top-end overhauls because of burned exhaust valves. There were also headaches with trying to purchase natural gas. While these issues were daunting, Mose credits Columbia Gas with “hand-holding us through these challenges.”

Adapting to CNG Challenges overcome, Mose and his CATA colleagues found they had a fleet that was “more popular than we could have imagined.” Of course, the biggest benefit has been to the bottom line. Mose is paying about 70 cents per gallon equivalent for natural gas, compared to $3.40 per gallon for diesel. CNG may bring with it some unique challenges and benefits, but Mose said

fleet management hasn’t really changed from when it was a conventionally fueled fleet. “There was some question about how long the engine would last,” Mose commented. “In our experience it is just as long as a diesel. We have a few buses with 300,000-plus miles.” There are also some maintenance cost increases associated with CNG. For instance, because CNG doesn’t have the same lubrication properties as diesel, it requires a higher, more expensive grade of oil. As for the fleet’s future, Mose expects to replace all of the 1996 Orions and nine of the 1997 New Flyers with 28 new New Flyer coaches later this year. Of course, they will be CNG-powered. “We’re [committed to CNG] for the long haul,” he said, adding that he’d be open to other economically viable fuel types “if they materialized.” ■ FACT BOX Headquarters: State College, Pa. Vehicles: 4 El Dorados, 16 Orions, 41 New Flyers. Coverage: 135 square miles. Annual ridership: 7.1 million.

MARCH / APRIL 2012 ■ GREEN FLEET

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GREEN TALK

Reduced Idling = Reduced Emissions MIKE ANTICH

I

f you want to green your fleet by reducing emissions, you need to decrease fuel consumption. The easiest way to do so is to decrease unnecessary idling. For example, every gallon of gasoline burned idling creates 19.5 lbs. of CO2. Similarly, every unnecessary gallon of diesel burned creates 22.4 lbs. of CO2. Until the advent of telematics devices, idling was not perceived to be a major problem for fleets. But, once engine data was captured by fleets on a large-scale basis, it quickly became apparent that idling represented a significant problem. Idling for longer periods of time, whether at a jobsite, railroad crossing, or pulling off the road to make a cell phone call, consumes gasoline that could be saved by simply turning off the engine. The amount of unnecessary idling varies by fleet; however, some fleets have recorded idling as much as 35 percent of the time. Eliminating an hour of idling per day will result in significant cost savings and emissions reductions over the course of a year. For fleets operating Class 3 and larger trucks, the savings are even more significant. For example, a typical truck fleet burns a half-gallon of diesel fuel for every hour a truck idles, and, in the process, adds the equivalent of 40 miles of wear-and-tear to the engine.

A Growing Fleet Trend Reducing unnecessary idling is the simplest and easiest way for a fleet to reduce fuel costs and unnecessary emissions. In addition, excess idling also causes needless engine wear-and-tear and unnecessary noise pollution. A typical goal for many fleets is to reduce engine idling time to less than 5 percent, which is measured using onboard telematics devices. Many fleets have implemented antiidling initiatives. Sears, which operates a fleet of 11,000-plus owned and leased vehicles, has implemented a no-idling policy for all vehicles at the distribution facilities 36

for Sears Holdings Logistics Services. Similarly, Ill.-based ComEd (Commonwealth Edison Co.) is engaged in a major effort to reduce idling among its fleet of 3,100 vehicles. According to ComEd, if vehicle idling were reduced by one hour per day among all ComEd fleet vehicles, it could annually eliminate an estimated 4.5 million lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions and save $724,000 in fuel costs. Many fleets implement anti-idling programs using the “big stick” approach. However, the best (and most effective) way to achieve sustainable long-term results is through driver education. By modifying driver behavior, you make your employees “greener” drivers. However, educating drivers is not as easy as it sounds. Some drivers mistakenly believe that frequently starting and stopping an engine uses more gasoline and causes additional wear-andtear on the vehicle. This may have been a legitimate concern in the past, but, with today’s fuel-injection engines, starting systems are more efficient and don’t require as much fuel to restart an engine. Another common reason for excess idling is to operate an air conditioning system, so a driver can stay cool in the summer, or to operate a heater to stay warm in the winter. Fleet managers struggle with this form of idling because they want to reduce fuel costs and emissions, but not at the expense of driver morale. The reality is that for many employees, their vehicles are also their offices. It is up to the driver to exercise proper discretion.

Turn Off the Engine An anti-idling program encourages drivers to turn off their engines when the vehicle is not moving. Restarting an engine uses about the same amount of gasoline as an engine idling for 30 seconds. When idling for longer than 30 seconds, instruct your drivers to turn off the engine. How-

ever, be aware that turning off the engine may also disable safety features, such as air bags. Drivers should be certain to utilize this strategy only in situations where there is no possibility of collision. A growing number of fleets are using telematics as the most cost-effective tool to curb “fuelish” behavior. One example is Genuine Parts, which determined drivers were idling company trucks two to three hours per day. Its drivers make 1215 stops and deliveries per evening. They idle engines 15-20 minutes at each stop for a combination of reasons. Drivers typically want to maintain cab climate comfort, but many also feared frequent tailgate use would run down the battery if the engine wasn’t running. However, this proved to be a false concern. A test by the company’s liftgate installer determined liftgates could actually be cycled 14 times before the battery ran down. Anti-idling programs are not only being implemented by private fleets, but also the public sector. A growing number of municipal fleets are looking to curb idling to reduce fuel costs and cut tailpipe emissions. For instance, 31 states currently have some sort of existing regulations pertaining to anti-idling. Of these states, California has the most codes and regulations. The California Air Resources Board has enacted numerous regulations that regulate vehicle idling in the state. However, excessive idling is defined and regulated differently around the country. For example, in Virginia, the excessive idling threshold is 10 minutes, while in some Western states, such as Hawaii, no idling is permitted when a vehicle is stationary in a loading zone, service area, or parked. In the final analysis, a vehicle gets 0 miles per gallon when idling and needlessly releases emissions into the atmosphere. Let me know what you think. mike.antich@bobit.com

GREEN FLEET ■ MARCH / APRIL 2012

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THE ZERO COMPROMISE

ALTERNATIVE FUEL SOLUTION PROPANE AUTOGAS VS. GASOLINE

FUEL COSTS: 40% LESS VEHICLE WARRANTY: 5 YEAR / 60,000 MILE1 CO2 EMISSIONS: 24% LESS PERFORMANCE: IDENTICAL

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CLEAN UP YOUR FLEET, ONE GALLON AT A TIME Reducing your fleet’s greenhouse gas emissions by 24% is not only within reach, it’s only half the story. With propane autogas, you can also reduce your fuel costs by up to 40% with this American-made fuel. ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel systems are available for Ford light- and medium-duty trucks and vans with GVWR ratings up to 19,500 lbs. Let us show you how easy it can be to switch to propane autogas.

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See ROUSHcleantech.com for complete warranty details

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Green Fleet Magazine March/April 2012