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May 01
Ohio Reps Reintroduce Alt-Fuel Incentives Bill

​Ohio State Reps. Sean J. O'Brien, D-Bazetta, and Dave Hall, R-Millersburg, have teamed up again to reintroduce bipartisan legislation to incentivize the use of alternative fuels in the state.

On Wednesday afternoon, the two lawmakers and colleagues held a joint press conference at the offices of Clean Fuels Ohio, a statewide nonprofit organization that promotes alternative fuels, to officially announce the introduction of H.B. 176.

“The impact of such legislation will be revolutionary for Ohio,” said Hall. “It will create jobs and support our economic recovery; it will be environmentally friendly, eliminate our dependence on foreign energy and act as an instant stimulus for all businesses and Ohio families by cutting their fuel bills almost in half.”

H.B.176 aims to promote the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) and other alternative fuels in the vehicles of individuals, businesses, and public transportation fleets on Ohio’s roads through tax breaks and other incentives.

The new bill contains similar language to that in H.B.336, which O'Brien and Hall sponsored during the 130th General Assembly.

A key provision in the bill is the establishment of a new Gaseous Fuel Conversion Program, which would offer a tax credit for the purchase or conversion of natural gas vehicles and/or propane vehicles amounting to 50% of the cost of conversion or purchase price of the vehicle, or up to $25,000 (depending on the weight of the vehicle). 

Furthermore, the program would award grants to state agencies, political subdivisions, school districts, public transportation systems and non-profit corporations to convert vehicles, at a maximum grant award of $500,000 per entity.

The bill also includes a provision to reduce the amount of sales tax due on the purchase or lease of a qualifying electric vehicle by up to $500.

“It’s an important piece of legislation for both our economy and our environment,” said O’Brien. “By converting our fleets to run on CNG, we will see a reduction in harmful greenhouse gas emissions, more Ohioans will be able to save on their fuel costs, and we will be given the opportunity to make good use of newly discovered, abundant energy sources available right here in our state.”
Last year, the lawmakers’ previous bill passed through the Ohio House of Representatives with widespread, bipartisan support before dying in the state Senate Finance Committee. It is hoped that this new bill will receive similar support in the 131st General Assembly and eventually be signed into law.

The goal for Hall and O’Brien is that the bill will pass before summer break.

March 26
Clean Cities: Bridgeport, WV

Our success story this week brings us to Bridgeport, West Virginia where a compressed natural gas refueling corridor is now online. The I-79 CNG corridor started taking shape two years ago, and also includes stations in Jane Lew and Charleston with more pit stops planned.  Natural gas, sourced from the area’s massive Marcellus Shale deposits, is a perfect fit for the region. So, this clean alternative fuel helps both the local economy and the environment.

For more information, please visit the Clean Cities website. You can also view recent segments by clicking here.

February 27
 “O” Ring CNG and U.S. Gain Partner to Expand CNG Presence

​U.S. Gain (GAIN® Clean Fuel), has partnered with compressed natural gas (CNG) provider and station builder, “O” Ring CNG Fuel Systems, LP (“O” Ring CNG) and its affiliates to co-brand “O” Ring CNG’s existing CNG stations as “O” Ring CNG / GAIN Clean Fuel and incorporate them into U.S. Gain’s nationwide infrastructure of CNG stations.

“O” Ring CNG is a full-service CNG fuel solutions company based in Western Pennsylvania whose goal is to promote the use of CNG as a clean abundant and economical North American energy source. It currently owns and operate four CNG stations, all located in Pennsylvania,  and has built over a dozen others for clients. Several more CNG station locations are slated for completion 2015- 2016.

“This is a great opportunity for “O” Ring CNG and U.S. Gain,” said Bill Renz, general manager for U.S. Gain. “’The “O” Ring CNG sites are strategically located along significant carrier routes and, with U.S. Gain’s agreements with carriers operating in the Northeast, we are able to provide additional access to GAIN CNG to our partner fleets. It’s truly a win-win for everyone.”

Through this partnership, U.S. Gain will have a total of 43 stations in operation or under construction throughout the United States. In addition, the partnership enables “O” Ring CNG to leverage U.S. Gain’s CNG stations for use with its partner carriers.

“This new partnership is a strategic alliance for us to further our commitment to energy security in America on a larger scale and at an accelerated pace, while still maintaining our goals of creating local opportunities for the benefit of PA and extending outward,” said “O” Ring CEO Robert Beatty.

“O” Ring CNG station projects are vertically integrated throughout all aspects of design, implementation and building, ending with a sustainable energy product for the future that is economically and environmentally sound, creates lasting fiscal benefits for local businesses and consumers, and at the same time helps to improve the air quality by reducing harmful emissions produced by fleets travelling within and through the tri-state region on a daily basis.

Similar to GAIN® Clean Fuel stations, all “O” Ring stations provide easy-access, fast-fill capabilities. They also accept fleet cards for truck convenience and have proven reliability to ensure that fleets have a consistent fuel source. They are open for use by other fleets and the general public.

This partnership continues to build on U.S. Gain’s goal of having more than 100 GAIN stations in operation within the next two years. “We have a clear mission of providing carriers with access to CNG that’s significantly cheaper than diesel fuel and produces fewer emissions,” Renz explains. “We’re excited about this partnership as it allows us to continue that mission.”

February 06
GE and Statoil Partner to Develop Sustainable Energy Solutions

On Wednesday, GE and Statoil announced a new collaboration to accelerate the development of more environmentally and economically sustainable energy solutions in response to some of the challenges facing global oil and gas production. The program will focus on developing new approaches to create efficient, low-cost technologies for oil and shale gas production while simultaneously reducing emissions. In its initial stage, the collaboration will address key sustainability dimensions of the industry, including:

• Reduce flaring and lower CO2 intensity through innovative application of CNG In A Box as part of the innovative Last Mile Fueling solution: Provide a full-service natural gas fueling solution for operations by capturing, compressing, and using natural gas that would be otherwise flared at well sites. Compressed natural gas (CNG) can be used to fuel rigs, vehicles, and other equipment, thereby reducing the use of or replacing the need for diesel.

• Increase fuel efficiency through Gas Compressor Optimization: Increase performance, efficiency, and extend maintenance intervals through optimization of gas compressor components.

Initial estimates show that the successful execution of these first five projects could result in significant combined CO2 savings. The Last Mile Fueling solution in the Williston Basin in North Dakota has the potential to reduce the equivalent of 120,000–200,000 tons per year of CO2 emissions through reduced diesel fuel usage, while the other projects being developed hold potential for similar, or even larger, reductions.

December 31
Natural Gas Closer to Becoming Mainstream U.S. Transportation Fuel

​Last week the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services reached agreement with House of Representative counterparts regarding the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015, resulting this week in the passage of provision that will incentivize the production of natural gas vehicles (NGVs). The provision emphasizes the reduction of dependency on fossil fuels and seeks greater energy security and independence and pursues technological advances in traditional and alternative energy storage.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and senior member of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, has joined U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of SASC, in praising the passage of a provision which is based off S.2065, The Alternative Fuel Vehicle Development Act, introduced by Inhofe and Levin on Feb. 28, 2014.

“Enactment of this bipartisan provision moves natural gas one step closer towards becoming a mainstream fuel for our everyday cars,” Inhofe said. “Natural gas is an underutilized clean and abundant domestic energy resource for U.S. transportation in part due to outdated regulations.”

“Passage of our bipartisan legislation will give a boost to this innovation, which is ensuring that the vehicles of the future are made right here in America,” added Levin.

Current law allows automakers to earn credits for compliance with the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program by producing alternative fuel dual-fueled vehicles, but these credits are subject to a cap.  Automakers currently earn the majority of their allowed credits by producing E85 Flex-Fuel vehicles, leaving none for natural gas vehicles.  The NDAA provision modifies the program by removing the credit cap for natural gas dual-fueled vehicles.

“This bipartisan provision promotes the tangible benefits that natural gas vehicles offer in increasing the use of an abundant and affordable American resource,” Frank Macchiarola, executive vice president of government affairs for America’s Natural Gas Alliance, said.  “This provision will help pave the way for the deployment of cleaner, more efficient vehicles on our highways and allow our nation to enjoy the environmental and economic advantages natural gas offers.”

“We applaud the efforts of Senators Levin and Inhofe to include this important market-based incentive in the NDAA Authorization that will encourage automakers and vehicle purchasers to put more NGVs on American roads,” Matthew Godlewski, president of NGVAmerica said. “The increased use of domestic natural gas as a transportation fuel reduces tailpipe emissions, lowers dependence on foreign oil, grows American jobs, and keep more money in the pockets of the driving public. This is the most significant NGV legislation passed by the Congress in some time and we believe it will help move the ball forward in expanding the use of natural gas as a mainstream transportation fuel.”

(Source: United States Senate)

December 05
NGV Texas expects to convert 400 trucks, buses to run on CNG in 2015

Fury Zaidi beams with pride at the rows of big rigs, school buses and disassembled motors that fill up his sprawling warehouse.

All will be converted to either compressed natural gas vehicles or duel fuel, where they run on both CNG and diesel.

The president of Natural Gas Vehicles Texas Inc. said an estimated 400 heavy-duty vehicles will pass through the shop in 2015. A bold claim for sure but he says the demand is coming from school districts and trucking fleets across the country.

Natural gas burns cleaner, gets produced domestically, in the case of North Texas it comes from the Barnett Shale, and it's cheaper than diesel. Natural gas as a vehicle fuel is growing faster than anticipated, according to the fuel taxes the state collects.

The Dallas-based company has grown from a small 3,000-square-foot garage toa 30,000-square-foot facility and in June moved into a large 65,000-square-foot facility near Dallas Love Field.

The shop builds the CNG fuel tanks and even retools diesel engines to run on natural gas.

"We build natural gas engines here now," he said.

That involves modifying the pistons to reduce the compression ratio, adding spark plugs and rebuilding the valves on the engine heads.

Zaidi also provides maintenance on the light duty side to CNG taxis and AT&T vans and trucks.

The shop has a few demonstration vehicles that it will loan out so curious customers can take them for a test drive.

"If it make sense for them then we help them write grants and do the conversion," he said.

North Texas school districts can apply for grants to purchase CNG buses, too. The North Central Texas Council of Governments is offering $1 million in grant funding that's available to schools in Dallas-Fort Worth and surrounding counties.

NGV has two Saddle Creek Logistics big rigs that are being retrofitted this week. One will be a dedicated CNG truck while the other will be duel fuel. Saddlecreek is based in Florida but recently opened a logistics center in Fort Worth.

"If they are happy with product, and there's no reason why they won't be, they will do at least 50 of each," Zaidi said.

Saddlecreek, which hauls wine and liquor, will also buy new CNG trucks and install its own fueling station at its Fort Worth location.

Having your own CNG fueling station lowers the price per gallon equivalent to about $1 to $1.50.

If a truck does run out of CNG on the road, NGV will have a mobile fueling truck that can carry 100-gallon equivalent of natural gas.

"This will make service calls for CNG trucks," Zaidi said. "We have plenty of fueling stations but they still run out of fuel. This is a mobile service unit for CNG."

November 21
Ford F-150 to Offer Ability to Run on Compressed Natural Gas

DEARBORN, Mich. - Ford, America’s truck leader, will offer the 2014 F-150 with the ability to run on compressed natural gas, making Ford the only manufacturer with an available CNG/LPG-capable half-ton pickup.

The 2014 Ford F-150 with 3.7-liter V6 engine will be available this fall with a factory-installed, gaseous-fuel prep package that includes hardened valves, valve seats, pistons and rings so it can operate on either natural gas or gasoline through separate fuel systems.

When the 3.7-liter V6 F-150 is equipped with a CNG/LPG engine package, it is capable of achieving more than 750 miles on one tank of gas, depending on the tank size selected. The Ford F-150 averages 23 mpg on the highway.

“Businesses and fleet customers have been asking Ford to make F-150 available with CNG capability to take advantage of the fuel’s low price and clean emissions,” said Jon Coleman, Ford fleet sustainability and technology manager. “With the money saved using CNG, customers could start to see payback on their investment in as little as 24 to 36 months.”

CNG/LPG engine prep from the factory costs approximately $315 before the customer chooses a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier to supply fuel tanks, fuel lines and unique fuel injectors. Upfits run approximately $7,500 to $9,500 depending on fuel tank capacity.

CNG conversions can provide stability against fluctuating fuel prices as well as lower vehicle operating costs for fleet administrators. CNG sells for an average of $2.11 per gallon of gasoline equivalent, and is as low as $1 in some parts of the country, representing a significant savings over unleaded regular fuel. The national average for unleaded regular fuel is $3.66 per gallon.

October 23
2015 Impala, A Green Car Journal Green Car Of The Year Finalist 

Green Car Journal is preparing to announce its Green Car of the Year at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show in November and has officially revealed its five finalists. Among them is Chevrolet’s 2015 Impala CNG, which has a flex fuel system allowing the full-size sedan to run on both normal gasoline and compressed natural gas.

The Impala CNG is available only with a 3.6-liter V6 engine, which has been upgraded with hardened valves and valve seats to accommodate the use of CNG. The CNG tank is stored in the trunk and provides about 150 miles of range. A button on the dash enables the driver to seamlessly switch between gasoline and CNG, or the car will do it automatically once the CNG tank is fully depleted. Chevrolet says CNG is not only much friendlier to the environment than gasoline, but can provide savings of up to $1.25 a gallon.

The Impala CNG is up against some stiff competition for Green Car of the Year. The four other finalists consist of the Honda Fit, Volkswagen Golf, BMW i3 and Audi A3 TDI, all of which have much smaller engines than the Impala. The A3 recently proved it can travel 834 miles on one 13.2 gallon tank of diesel, while the Golf is available in both clean diesel and all-electric configurations.

Despite its relative size and V6 engine, the Impala offers a more innovative solution to fuel economy than the Fit or standard gasoline-powered Golf it’s up against and is the largest and most practical car in the competition, factors which may work in its favor as judges deliberate over their decision. The winner will be announced on November 20.

October 08
Ivy League Fleet Deploying Compressed Natural Gas Buses

Yale University has added four compressed natural gas (CNG) buses to its on-campus fleet of 42 transit buses as a part of its shift to alternative fuels. Two of the buses are medium-sized, 20-passenger units built on the Ford E-450 chassis, and two are 38-passenger shuttle buses.

"Over the past several years, our operations have grown, so we are running more facilities vehicles, shuttles, nighttime safe ride cars, and special services vans," says George E. Longyear, Yale's director of fleet and housing. "While we are trying to shrink our emissions output of a larger fleet, we are looking at alternative-powered vehicles of all sizes."

He notes that CNG will play a prominent role in this shift. Yale's fleet management group is planning to purchase 13 new vehicles in the next year that are either factory-equipped with CNG systems or ready to be converted to CNG. Yale also currently has three MV-1 natural gas vehicles in its fleet.

Right now, Yale accesses fuel for its natural gas vehicles at a public-access CNG station located in West Haven, Conn. Another CNG station is scheduled to come online soon in New Haven, offering a closer option for refueling.

August 21
2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Bi-Fuel CNG Pickup

I had an opportunity to test drive the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Crew Cab with the bi-fuel CNG option for a week and was very impressed. In fact, I primarily drove the pickup using CNG and was struck as to how indistinguishable it was from being powered by gasoline.

I’ve driven a number of CNG vehicles over the years and I must say this was one of the most seamless bi-fuel transitions I have experienced, segueing from CNG to gasoline and back all with a simple flip of the switch — while you are driving. This produces a very pleasant user experience and also a strong appreciation of the engineering that allows this to occur.

Also, the effortless transition from one fuel to the other will help facilitate use by fleet drivers who, in the past, were reluctant to use the bi-fuel option and switch to the alternative fuel. Not all bi-fuel systems allow drivers to manually switch fuels.

The beauty of these models is that they provide reduced CO2 emissions (compared to the gasoline engine), while continuing to deliver full-size truck utility.

The CNG option is available on all 2015 Silverado 2500HD configurations and Silverado 3500HD models with single rear wheels, along with the 2500HD double cab and crew cab models, and with 2500HD regular cab and all 3500HD models. The bi-fuel CNG option is available on standard- or long-box models in both 2WD and 4WD.

The bi-fuel CNG Silverado/Sierra 2500/3500HD uses the 6.0L Vortec V-8 with factory-installed hardened exhaust valves and intake/exhaust valve seats engineered for gaseous fuel use. As mentioned earlier, the Vortec 6.0L V-8 engine can seamlessly transition between CNG and gasoline.

However, there is a slight difference in power between CNG and gasoline. The gasoline engine produces 360 hp and 380 lb.-ft. of torque. While running on CNG, the engine produces 301 hp and 333 lb.-ft. of torque.

Besides allowing the driver to seamlessly switch fuels with the flip of a switch, the fuel system automatically switches to gasoline when the CNG tank is empty. This greatly expands the pickups driving range, which compensates for the lower power in the CNG mode. The combined 17 gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) CNG tank and 36-gallon gasoline tank provide a range of more than 650 miles, it is very impressive.

The CNG tank is located in the pickup bed providing easy access when refueling. On the interior, the gasoline fuel gauge also doubles as the CNG fuel gauge, a very nice touch.

From a fleet maintenance perspective, the CNG fuel delivery and storage system is covered under GM’s limited warranty and is serviceable by Chevrolet and GMC dealers. Plus, all major components have GM service part numbers for broad availability.

In the CNG system, all high-pressure fuel lines are located between the frame rails, which increase vehicle safety in the event of a collision. There is a full 10-year corrosion validation, which is similarly value in Snow Belt regions. Lastly, the bi-fuel CNG Silverado/Sierra has a comprehensive five-year/100,000-mile transferable powertrain limited warranty, which is not the case for all manufacturers. All in all, I walked away really liking my experience with the truck and feeling like it will help expand CNG usage among fleet users.

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