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Alternative Fuel Fleets Grew While Production Fell

There were almost 29 percent fewer alternative fuel vehicles made available for use in 2009 than in 2008, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration figures.

In 2009 (the latest year for which data is available), 1,076,350 AFVs were made available in the U.S., down from 1,509,533 the previous year. The figures reflect market conditions during 2009 when several auto manufacturers greatly reduced production and, in some cases, halted entire production lines for a period of months, according to the EIA.

However, over that same time period, the number of alternative fuel vehicles in fleets rose about 7 percent. EIA estimates that the total inventory of AFVs in fleets in 2009 was about 826,316, up from around 775,667 in 2008.

Five states accounted for 40 percent of the fleet AFVs in use in 2009: California (16 percent); Texas (11 percent); Arizona (5 percent); Florida (4 percent); North Carolina (4 percent).

The EIA says that due to uneven access to transportation fuels, specifically ethanol, the vast majority of AFVs owned by individuals still burn traditional fuels such as gasoline and diesel.

This is not true for fleet vehicles, the EIA says. Vehicles consuming alternative transportation fuels are primarily part of fleets owned by federal, state and local governments; fuel providers; transit agencies; or other private entities, where access to an alternative fuel has been established in response to various legislative regulations, incentives, and environmental interests, according to the administration.

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