Did you know, according to the American Public Transit Association, over half of all transit buses in 2017 and 2018 were powered by alternative fuel and advanced hybrid drivetrains? As communities are demanding cleaner, more sustainable solutions from the transportation industry, fleets are responding by using alternative fuel.
CONTRIBUTE TO A CLEANER COMMUNITY
By transitioning your fleet to run on alternative fuel, not only will your community benefit from reduced emissions and improved air quality, but your fleet can utilize financial incentives to maximize gain from the transition.
There is a growing demand in the market for cleaner transportation solutions and emission reductions. In response, many transit fleets have made the transition to alternative fuel: a choice that not only benefits their brand positioning, but has a significant, positive impact on air quality for their passengers and communities in which they operate.
Furthermore, the transition to alternative fuel is economically viable due to the numerous state and federal funding incentives for fleet transitions and infrastructure builds. These are available to advance alternative fuel adoption within the transportation industry. Utilizing these funds, fleets can customize their fueling needs while saving on time and cost.
There are many types of alternative fuels that can be tailored to meet your fleet’s needs; however, they differ in their stages of development. Natural gas is currently the most developed option with widespread infrastructure builds and proven-vehicle technology, ensuring minimal downtime for your fleet. Furthermore, with renewable natural gas, there are significant environmental benefits which can help your fleet achieve its overall sustainability goals.
On the other hand, some fleets have begun to adopt electric and hydrogen for their fueling needs. However, it’s important to note these solutions are still in their infancy in terms of infrastructure development and adoption. Also, from a cost standpoint, electric vehicles in particular are charged at a much higher premium than natural gas models, an important consideration depending on your fleet’s budget.
Advancements are continually being made for alternative fueling infrastructure, with natural gas being one of the most advanced. Overall, fueling stations can be tailored to meet your fleet’s needs whether that’s onsite or on-route. With fleets operating on a return-to-base model, onsite time-fill fueling can save time and reduce costs by utilizing overnight fueling. Drivers simply plug-in after their shift and return to a fully fueled vehicle the next morning. Also, as your fleet expands, so can your station without interrupting onsite traffic.
Conversely, developments are still occurring with hydrogen and electric infrastructure, but with the proper timing, these solutions can be added to your fleet’s portfolio. However, in order to do so, it’s crucial to have conversations about these solutions with fueling providers like us, sooner, rather than later. This is to ensure you’ll have the necessary resources for when your vehicles arrive.
The cost of an alternative fuel transition is contingent on where your fleet will be sourced and operating. This is because many states have allocated funds for the adoption of clean fuel alternatives. Often provided as grants, these funds aid in financing alternative fuel vehicle purchases and fueling infrastructure builds. Such programs include the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, Oregon Clean Fuel Program and the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard. To better understand the current options in your area, reach out and we can discuss what funding your fleet is eligible to receive.
Additionally, by using alternative fuel, your fleet can benefit from economic incentives that positively impact the total cost of ownership: lower taxes and reduced registration fees. Furthermore, with renewable natural gas, fuel costs are nonvolatile and there is the potential to receive environmental credits, strengthening the financial appeal of this option.
Adoption of alternative fuel allows your fleet to significantly reduce your transportation related greenhouse gas emissions. Not only does this provide improved air quality for the communities you serve, but with natural gas transit buses, communities and passengers also benefit from noise and vibration reduction.
From an economic standpoint, there are many government programs and fueling incentives available which strengthen your overall financial performance. Also, as states are beginning to mandate alternative fuel use in certain sectors, being an early adopter could save you time and money in the future.
Emerging Technologies: Hydrogen and electric have been gaining tracking for use in the transportation industry. If your fleet is considering either for future application, it’s important to note that although there has been progress advancing current technology, there is much development yet to be done. Heavy-duty battery electric vehicles are roughly 3 years out from commercialization, and fuel cell electric vehicles are even further out. Also, infrastructure isn’t developed and fueling station and grid upgrades are needed. While these solutions aren’t likely to help your fleet in the near-term, once fully developed, they will impact air quality significantly.
Maintenance: While purchasing your fleet vehicles is an important step in your alternative fuel transition, there is another step, crucial to not overlook: maintenance. With any alternative fuel vehicle, maintenance intervals differ – especially from that of their diesel counterparts. However, this does not mean it will be more expensive. It simply means the timing and requirements will vary. To maximize fleet uptime, define your maintenance (and back-up maintenance) plans early on.