In July 2014, Clean Energy Coalition completed an exhaustive review of state-level alternative fuel policy across the United States. This research provides a valuable look at various policies adopted throughout the United States, and how these policies might relate to the number of AFVs and alternative fueling infrastructure in each state. By comparing the strength of relationship between certain policies and AFVs per capita, we can determine which types of policies might be more effective at promoting the proliferation of AFVs and the use of alternative fuels. The research began by categorizing each of over 900 state policies based on fuel, policy mechanism, offering body, and targeted market. The research then examined correlations between different types of policy and the number of AFVs in each state.
The paper finds that there are three important distinctions that impact AFV policy: the origination of the policy (whether it is a state, local, or utility policy), the target of the policy (who is affected by the policy), and the type of policy mechanism (e.g., financial incentive, or a fee/tax policy). For example, this research suggests that states with more laws and incentives that originate at the local or utility level are more likely to have a higher number of AFVs per capita. This indicates that decision makers should encourage the use of local policy to promote AFVs, and work with utilities or the state’s public service commission to promote the use of alternative fuels and AFVs. Although most current policy is targeted toward the commercial sector (especially so for grants and rebates), states that have more laws and incentives targeted to the residential sector are more likely to have a higher number of AFVs per capita. Ultimately, the paper identifies three main incentive mechanisms that have the strongest correlations with AFV deployment.
To read the full text of the paper, visit the Clean Energy Coalition website here.
For more information, please contact:
734-585-5720 ext. 16
In August, Michigan Fuel Forward project lead and Clean Energy Coalition Program Supervisor, Heather Seyfarth, spoke to a room packed full of Michigan planners about the importance of incorporating alternative fuels into long-range transportation planning.
This year’s MTPA conference focused on innovative planning for an uncertain future, which is a principal benefit of a diversified fueling landscape. Heather discussed how the challenge for transportation planners will be to effectively plan for a shift in the number of alternative fuel vehicles on the road, enabling communities to capitalize on the many community benefits that AFV’s have to offer, including economic development, public relations, and environmental quality.
Ultimately, the session provided an overview of AFVs, explored the status of AFV adoption in the state, and discussed the steps that planners can take to both prepare for and encourage the use of AFVs in their community.
For more information, please contact:
734-585-5720 ext. 21
The Michigan Fuel Forward project team is currently putting the finishing touches on 14 fleet-specific petroleum reduction plans to assist project partners in reducing fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. As part of the project, each partner was asked to provide information on the fleet’s goals and data on fleet operations. Using its Fuel Forward® approach, Clean Energy Coalition then analyzed this data to determine specific quantitative recommendations detailing how each fleet can cost-effectively switch to alternative fuels. These results are outlined in detail in each plan, allowing fleet partners to see the conditions under which alternative fuels make financial sense.
Each plan contains numerous other recommendations as well, ranging from idle reduction strategies to efficient driving tips. These recommendations were either based on goals specifically identified by the fleet, or are additional low-cost, high-impact strategies for fuel use reduction. The plans include a method for tracking progress towards each outlined goal, a map of local alternative fuel infrastructure, and additional resources related to each recommendation.
Plans will be delivered to each fleet partner starting as early as next week.
For more information on Clean Energy Coalition’s fleet-specific petroleum reduction plans, please contact:
734-585-5720 ext. 25
It has been a long time since the last project update. Over the last several months, the team here has been quite busy. In January, the second meeting between the project’s fleet partners was held in Dearborn. Each fleet was presented with a customized baseline report outlining the characteristics of their organization’s fuel use. The meeting concluded with a goal setting exercise, during which each fleet was encouraged to identify their goals and obstacles in the foreseeable future.
The second meeting of the policy taskforce was held later that month. The meeting began by highlighting work that had been done based on previous input from taskforce members, including the development of an infographic highlighting Michigan’s support for alternative fuels relative to other midwestern states, and a guide to alternative fuel road signage that includes recommendations for improvement. The taskforce then shared ideas and thoughts about targeted next steps for the group, including focusing on supporting alternative fuels through statewide legislation.
Since then, the project team has taken this information and worked hard to develop both content and events that reflect the input of project stakeholders. For starters, each fleet partner will be receiving a customized petroleum reduction plan in the next few weeks. These plans, described in greater detail below, combine qualitative and quantitative recommendations to address the fleet’s specific goals and concerns as they relate to fuel use reduction.
This fall, the team will host another event in Lansing aimed at making the case for the state-level support of alternative fuels. On September 10, representatives from the clean fuels industry will gather with legislators to discuss the importance of creating a political environment conducive to the development and deployment of clean fuel vehicles and infrastructure. Please register for the event here.
If you have information you’d like to share on your progress towards deploying clean fuels or fuel reduction strategies, please let us know so we can highlight your success in the next project update. Thank you for your continued commitment to this project!
– Joshua Rego, Project Manager
734-585-5720 ext. 25
Clean Energy Coalition has officially set an installation and launch schedule for ArborBike, the upcoming bike share program for Ann Arbor. Installation will occur in the first weeks of September, after site preparation is completed, and following a brief testing period, the program will open up to the public. The initial launch will include 10 of 14 originally planned stations; work to resolve conflicts with the remaining four station locations will continue through the fall and winter, and full installation is planned for the spring. Weather permitting, the 2014 season could last as long as December 19, the last day of student exams at the University of Michigan. After that, all bikes and stations will be removed and stored for the winter.
Those who are interested in joining ArborBike should sign up for the mailing list at www.arborbike.org/join-now.html to receive instant notification when memberships are available. Though we are not accepting sign-ups yet, we have set the following membership options and prices:
Membership discounts will be available for groups of 15 or more, for non-profit organizations, and for students. Additional details can be found online or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more details about installation plans, please see the August 1 article by Ryan Stanton at www.mlive.com, which describes recent developments and lists the stations scheduled for September installation.
In preparation for system launch in September, the ArborBike team has a few other items to announce. First, keep an eye out for the ArborBike van around town. This vehicle, wrapped in ArborBike blue and green, will “rebalance” or shuffle bikes from full stations to empty ones. Rebalancing will ensure availability of bikes throughout the system, even during heavy commutes. Also, on Wednesday, August 27th, we are asking the community to come out and help us assemble ArborBikes! We are ordering approximately 75 bikes for the initial launch, and we are going to have an assembly event prior to station installation. If you are interested in volunteering to help assemble the bikes please visit our United Way Volunteer Page. Finally, system launch means we need additional help to operate the program. We will announce an opportunity soon to assist ArborBike with tasks like rebalancing, maintenance, customer service, and outreach. This information will also be distributed via our mailing list and social media outlets.
Have any more questions on ArborBike or how to become a member? Please contact:
ArborBike Operations Manager
On July 17, Clean Energy Coalition’s Strategic Advisory Board (SAB) met to discuss the significant progress that has been made by the group since its first meeting about a year ago. The group has been working with federal and state lobbyists to identify important policy barriers and opportunities as well as drafting legislation to support the alternative fuel vehicle market in Michigan. At the last meeting, our state lobbyists presented a draft legislative proposal to position Michigan as a leader in advanced powertrain engine systems. The group also discussed a collaborative approach to applying for a federal grant opportunity to grow the market for alternative fuel vehicles.
Clean Energy Coalition originally formed the SAB as a way to bring together diverse stakeholders in the alternative fuels industry. Through facilitated meetings, the SAB takes part in ongoing dialogue and discussion on policy, key community issues, and market and industry trends. For more information on the SAB, please follow this link.
Join CEC’s Strategic Advisory Board
Our current Board has a strong focus on alternative fuels and we are looking for additional members to join this Board or help us establish another Strategic Advisory Board group to focus on renewable energy market development.
The current Strategic Advisory Board consists of executives from:
For more information about Strategic Advisory Board participation contact:
Director of Business Development
Clean Energy Coalition welcomes its two newly appointed Clean Cities Coordinators, Laura Palombi for Detroit Area Clean Cities Coalition (DACC) and Josh Rego for Ann Arbor Clean Cities Coalition (AACC). Clean Energy Coalition has managed AACC since the organization’s inception in 2005 and DACC since 2010. Management of these coalitions entails providing technical services and outreach to fleet managers and suppliers in the entire southeast Michigan region, serving 4.7 million Michigan residents.
Clean Cities coordinators are the primary contacts for their coalitions, working with local fleets to develop and implement strategic plans to reduce petroleum use in the cities and counties they serve. Clean Cities coordinators lead nearly 100 local coalitions in communities across the country; Clean Energy Coalition hosts two of these for Ann Arbor and Detroit. For national-level and regional-level contacts, see the Clean Cities website. Our coalitions have a strong network of stakeholders, from technology and infrastructure providers to public and private fleet managers. To learn more about the Clean Cities program and resources available to stakeholders in our coalition areas and beyond, please contact Laura or Josh.
Laura Palombi, Detroit Area Clean Cities (DACC) Coordinator
As coordinator for DACC, Laura oversees six counties of Metro Detroit with a combined population of 4,528,954. Home to Ford, GM, and Chrysler, these counties include Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne. Rich in automotive expertise, R&D facilities, and a trained workforce, there is no better-equipped city to deploy alternative fuel technologies than Detroit.
Contact Laura at:
Josh Rego, Ann Arbor Clean Cities (AACC) Coordinator
As AACC Coordinator, Josh covers activities in Washtenaw County, Michigan and provides a forum for members to share information, leverage their resources, develop joint projects, collaborate on public policy issues, and promote AFVs in the community. Home to the University of Michigan and the EPA’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory, Washtenaw County is a statewide leader in alternative and renewable energy.
Contact Josh at:
Question of the Month: During the winter of 2013-2014, propane shortages and price spikes were widely publicized by news media, and some fleets reported difficulty getting propane for their vehicles. What really happened and what steps can propane fleets take to protect themselves from similar issues in the future?
Answer: Several factors contributed to the recent winter supply constraints and increased propane prices, including record low temperatures around the country (the 2013-2014 winter was almost 30% colder than the previous winter), increased rain fall requiring additional propane supply for crop drying, pipeline outages (the Midwest Cochin pipeline shut down for three weeks in December 2013), Canadian supply constraints, and increased exports leading to reduced propane reserves. It is important to note, however, that while the demand for propane used to heat homes in colder months fluctuates, fleet demand for propane remains stable throughout the year. As a result, propane suppliers are generally willing to offer longer term fuel contracts to fleets at prices that do not vary during the winter. But fleet customers need to plan ahead and negotiate these agreements in advance. Don’t wait until the coldest day of the year to start asking questions.
Fleets should develop and maintain a long-term fuel contract based on projected consumption with their local propane marketer or fueling station operator. These contracts can provide a reasonably steady price for propane year-round, regardless of temperature fluctuations and other issues. However, fleets that fuel their vehicles at retail locations where there is no contractual relationship can expect to pay the current market price, which may be equal to or higher than gasoline during peak use periods. As such, the propane price spikes reported in the winter of 2013-2014 primarily affected fleets and drivers without fuel contracts.
While some fleets with fuel contracts also faced supply limitations and price increases this winter, these incidences may have occurred as a result of other circumstances. For instance, some pricing contracts are set up to fluctuate based on a floating commodity price, or they might be indexed to automatically track gasoline or diesel prices. In addition, state fleets may be subject to certain fueling restrictions if the governor addresses energy supply issues through executive action. The prolonged severe weather this past winter resulted in several regions declaring official states of emergency. Similarly, fleets with bi-fuel vehicles, which provide the option to fuel with gasoline, may be subject to caveats during emergency periods that would not affect fleets with dedicated propane vehicles. To avoid unwanted disruptions in propane supply and price spikes, fleet administrators should closely review current and future fuel contracts and discuss various scenarios with their propane marketer to ensure that the contract terms match up with the fleet’s needs and expectations.
Working with Propane Marketers
Local propane marketers are present in most communities across the United States and can provide expertise and assistance in building fueling stations and deploying vehicles. Additionally, many marketers offer attractive lease options for fuel storage tanks, pumps, and dispensing equipment in return for a multi-year fuel supply contract. The cost of this equipment can be paid back over time through a shared savings or performance contracting agreement, virtually eliminating up-front costs to the fleet operator.
The cost to purchase and install propane fueling infrastructure can be significant depending on the fleet’s choice of refueling options; however, fuel contracts can greatly reduce the financial burden. In most cases, the fleet is only responsible for the cost of infrastructure that cannot be removed from the site when the fuel contract is over, such as the electricity line or the concrete pad for the storage tank.
Current and Future Propane Supply
While the issues last winter raised concerns, it is important to note that the supply of propane in the United States is on the rise. Propane is a by-product of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. In recent years, as natural gas production levels in the United States have increased, so has the propane supply from these operations. Between 2007 and 2013, the percentage of the U.S. propane supply produced from North American resources increased from 76% to 92%. As such, propane is not subject to the same types of energy security risks as petroleum based fuels that depend on foreign oil supplies face.
For more information on propane production and distribution, pricing, supply, and infrastructure, you can visit the following websites:
For more information on using propane for your fleet or community contact:
Business Development Director
We are building ArborBikes and we can use your help! The ArborBikes are coming & we need to put them together. It will take people with all sorts of skills and talents to build these bikes. Even if you’ve never worked on a bike, we can use your help. We will have 75 bicycles that need to be unboxed, put together, and tuned up before we can put them into service.
Date & Time: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 From 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Location: Clean Energy Coalition (924 N. Main Street, Suite 2, Ann Arbor)
What’s in it for me?
The first 20 people who register will receive a free ArborBike T-Shirt when they show up. Everybody who volunteers will get a free 24-hour membership.
Where should I park?
We will have plenty of bicycle parking, but if you’re coming by car, we suggest parking in the nearby neighborhoods.
Is there anything I can bring to help?
How do I sign-up?
Please sign up on our United Way Volunteer Page.
If you have any additional questions on volunteering, or ArborBike in general, please contact:
ArborBike Operations Manager
As sustainability begins to take hold in all sectors of business, higher education institutions also face some unique challenges. Clean Energy Coalition’s experience in the field with Western Michigan University, the University of Michigan, and smaller community colleges has shown three key pressures that sustainability is placing on their campuses.
1. Impact on Admissions
For higher education, becoming more sustainable is not only a path for minimizing an institution’s environmental footprint or making the most of a limited budget; it can also play a key role in the recruitment and retention of a strong student body.
In 2008, a survey by researchers at the College of William and Mary, Campus Greening Efforts: What difference do they make?, found that “current freshmen are two times more likely to choose their school based on sustainability concerns than the entering freshman class just 3 years ago.” The trend has continued into 2014 and in order to attract these forward thinking students, institutions are pushed towards more sustainability initiatives on campus.
2. Achieving National Sustainability Certifications
In addition to pressure from incoming students, there is push from other institutions and outside, national organizations. Several certifications, including STARS (The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System – a program of AASHE) and ACUPCC (The American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment), exist and are directed at higher education institutes with the intent of creating a more environmentally sustainable higher education system. The guidelines for these programs are often extensive and add to an institutions’ growing list of projects under a limited budget.
3. Collaboration among Facilities, Faculty, Administration, and the Larger Campus Community
Many higher education institutions are often just getting their foot in the door as far as sustainability is concerned. Many rely on facilities management directors to also wear the hat of sustainability director, rather than having a designated individual and/or department to address these new needs. The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus discusses the fact that these new positions often have “ambitious portfolios, and ask the individuals involved to do the work of a dozen people.”
Institutions that can afford the staff or personnel time to implement comprehensive sustainability initiatives have begun to realize individual buildings and energy systems on campus can be used as points of study – much like a mini-city, located directly on campus. As a result, sustainability directors are increasingly pressured to build relationships with faculty and the larger campus community as well as pilot successful projects on campus.
Clean Energy Coalition can help your institution overcome these challenges with practical solutions to common obstacles for those working toward sustainability on campus. For more information about how Clean Energy Coalition can help, please contact: