By allocating just 20 percent of its $150 billion transportation services budget to carriers that fuel their fleets with domestically produced natural gas, electricity, biofuels and other alternatives to diesel and gasoline, the US government could save the taxpayer up to $7 billion annually and about $25 billion by 2025, according to a report from nonprofit the American Clean Skies Foundation.
Oil Shift: The Case for Switching Federal Transportation Spending to Alternative Fuel Vehicles says that a gradual fuel shift, beginning in 2015, would also reduce oil imports by billions of gallons annually; cut greenhouse gas pollution by over 20 million metric tons a year; and stimulate the nationwide introduction of tens of thousands of new alternative fuel vehicles.
To realize the financial and environmental benefits described above, the ACSF report makes three main recommendations:
- Starting in 2014, federal agencies should publish annual targets and initiatives for buying more alternative fuels, reducing petroleum and lowering emissions associated with major transport services.
- Starting in 2015, agencies should require major carriers to use alternative fuels for at least 5 percent of contracted shipments. This requirement should increase by at least 2 percent each year from 2015 to 2025.
- Starting in 2016, federal agencies should publish annual targets and detail their initiatives for using more alternative fuels, reducing petroleum and lowering emissions associated with the transport services used by major vendors.
In other transportation news, a report by the federal advisory committee the National Petroleum Council says that if certain technology hurdles and infrastructure barriers can be overcome, fuel economy could be substantially improved while greenhouse gas emissions could be substantially reduced.
Emissions from light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles could drop by at least 40 percent on a per-mile basis by 2050, when compared to 2005 levels, the report says. But to reach a 50 percent reduction – the target the Energy Secretary asked the NPC to research – additional strategies beyond technology and infrastructure would be required, Advancing Technology for America’s Transportation Future says.
The report says that there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding which individual fuel-vehicle systems will overcome technology hurdles to become economically and environmentally attractive by 2050. Therefore, government policies should be technology neutral while market dynamics drive commercialization, according to the NPC.