Fuel Smarts

DOE Eases Alt-Fuel Vehicle Purchasing Mandate

March 31, 2014

Image via DOE
Image via DOE

The U.S. Department of Energy has made it easier for state and utility fleets to comply with alt-fuel vehicle purchasing mandates by including hybrid vehicles, alt-fuel fueling infrastructure, alt-fuel non-road equipment, and emerging technologies.

The changes go into effect April 21, the DOE announced.

Covered fleets must acquire alternative-fuel vehicles as a percentage of their annual light-duty vehicle acquisitions or reduce their petroleum consumption under the State and Alternative Fuel Provider Fleet Program of EPAct. The latest move should make fleet compliance with EPAct regulations easier.

Under standard compliance, 75% of the new light-duty vehicles state fleets acquire each year must be AFVs; for alt-fuel providers (utilities), the requirement is 90%. Use of biodiesel can apply toward this requirement. Fleets can also reduce petroleum consumption in lieu of acquiring AFVs under the alternative compliance plan.

Battery-electric hybrids, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) now receive 0.5 credits per vehicle. Neighborhood electric vehicles will receive a 0.25-point credit. These vehicles were previously excluded.

For alt-fuel fueling infrastructure, fleets can now receive one credit for every $25,000 invested toward developing that infrastructure. Fleets can earn a maximum of five credits if the infrastructure is for private use and 10 credits if the infrastructure can be used by the public, with a 10-credit maximum.

Fleets investing in mobile alternative fuel non-road equipment can receive one credit per $25,000 invested, with a five-credit cap.

Finally, fleets can receive one credit per $25,000 invested in emerging technology, which is defined as specified pre-production vehicle types. Fleets must invest at least $50,000 to qualify (for a two-credit minimum), and there is a five-credit maximum.

All covered fleet are currently in compliance, but this change is expected to provide additional flexibility. Fleets that acquire AFVs prior to or in excess of requirements and bank credits, which they can save for later use or sell to other covered fleets. Covered fleets currently hold about 70,000 banked credits, which covers about four years of operation of the program without purchasing any AFVs.

While the number of covered fleets fluctuates annually, the most current list covers 291 fleets. Two hundred eighty one are under standard compliance, while 10 are under alternative compliance.

*Updated 4/3/14

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