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Corporate Fleets Lead the Way to Alternative Fuels

shuttleCorporate fleet vehicles are starting to drive the conversion to alternative fuel systems, pushed by rising gasoline prices last year. Meanwhile, automotive recyclers are raising concerns over the Obama Administration’s “Cash for Clunkers” program, designed to remove gasoline-hungry cars off the road. These are just a couple of the recent developments in reducing emissions on the roadways.

The U.S. has about 130,000 natural gas vehicles on the road, mostly fleet vehicles, according to lobbyist group NGV America, compared to 8.5 million worldwide, reports The Dallas Morning News. The U.S. has about 1,500 natural gas refueling stations, half of which are not for public use, which is a fraction of the more than 300,000 gasoline stations in the nation, according to the newspaper.

But the trend toward natural gas vehicle conversion is increasing. As an example, Dallas-based BAF Technologies, a natural gas vehicle conversion company, recently secured $350 million of the overall $565 million contract with AT&T Inc. to convert 8,000 fleet vehicles to natural gas over the next five years, making it the largest corporate alternative-fuel fleet in the nation, reports The Dallas Morning News. BAF also has large contracts with the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and the California Port Authority in Los Angeles, according to the newspaper.

Thanks to the growing green movement subsidized by President Barack Obama’s stimulus package the company is nearly doubling its workforce, and because BAF has become a player in the green movement, it has drawn attention from big energy investors such as T. Boone Pickens, reports The Dallas Morning News.

At the same time, the Automotive Recyclers Association is raising concerns that the “Cash for Clunkers” program designed to help the consumer, the environment, and the automakers will restrict the sale of two major replacement parts — the engine and drive train. The industry organization believes it will reduce the supply of quality recyclable OEM parts for vehicle repair and will lead to increased prices for consumers that need to get their cars repaired.

The group says the reuse of automobile parts prior to their ultimate destruction is preferable to just recycling the metal as scrap.

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One thought on “Corporate Fleets Lead the Way to Alternative Fuels

  1. While natural gas vehicles offer some emissions savings, these same reductions can be gained at less cost through the use of clean diesel technologies.

    In less than 6 monthes, the new 2010 heavy duty diesel buses and trucks sold in the U.S. will test to the same emission certification standards as those powered with natural gas while emitting less than half the particulate matter of the natural gas vehicles (based on CARB certification data). Moreover, they are significantly less expensive than clean diesel buses and trucks, not to mention the additional cost of natural gas infrastructure if you don’t already have access to one of the 750 public fueling stations.

    Of course, to improve upon the new clean diesel vehicles, there is always consideration of heavy duty diesel hybrid buses, which based on studies by the National Renewable Energy Lab, are 43 percent more fuel efficient and have 42 percent less maintenance costs than a CNG powered bus. Counties and cities realize this, as evidenced by the fact that 77% of the 10 largest transit districts’ bus orders for 2008 were for diesel hybrids.

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