Natural Gas – Conversions, Vehicles and Technology

Colo. Studies Alt-Fuel Expansion for State Fleet

May 06, 2015, by Thi Dao

The State of Colorado has some CNG vehicles in its fleet, which are fueled at private stations.
The State of Colorado has some CNG vehicles in its fleet, which are fueled at private stations.

A fleet greening study conducted for the State of Colorado has recommended the state look at fuels outside of just compressed natural gas (CNG) in order to maximize the environmental efficiency of its fleet.

The Colorado Energy Office commissioned Vision Fleet to conduct the study, which was published in March. The study looked at the “white fleet,” which consists of light-duty vehicles operated by various state agencies and the “orange fleet,” which consists of heavy-duty on-road and off-road units owned by the Department of Transportation.

Beyond CNG, state agencies should look into other technologies such as plug-in and all-electric vehicles as well as use of propane autogas, said Charlie Bloch, the report’s primary writer. The study also recommended that agencies not wait until the end of vehicles’ lifecycles to consider replacing them with alt-fuel vehicles.

“Many fleets have a mindset that existing vehicles should only be considered for replacement within the confines of whatever their existing replacement cycles are. So this vehicle has to go 10 years or 100,000 miles before we’re even going to look to replace it with an alt-fuel vehicle,” Bloch said. He explained that even if a vehicle is two years old, if its use allows it to be replaced with an alt-fuel vehicle, it should be replaced and that two-year old car can be assigned to another department.

The study also recommended that the state consider hybrid vehicles, reduce the first-cost and technology risk barriers preventing adoption of environmentally friendly fleet technologies, improve collaboration and participation in the state bid process, and consider telematics use.

The DOT already has telematics in its light-duty fleet, and Bloch said the department’s goal is to have all light-duty vehicles equipped by the end of this year and expand to heavy-duty vehicles over the next three years to reduce idling. Other state agencies will be keeping an eye on the DOT’s efforts to show a return on investment with telematics, he said.

To read the full report, click here.

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