For more than 30 years, politicians and THINK TANKS have talked about America’s security risk from increasing reliance on foreign oil imports. Today DO TANKS like the Alternative Fuels & Vehicles Institute (AFVI) and the US Department of Energy Clean Cities Program are taking action to address the problem; they have helped 3% of America’s municipal and corporate vehicle fleets put substitutes for oil to work.
The 16th annual Alternative Fuels & Vehicles Conference & Expo convened in May in Las Vegas gathering 120 implementers and industry experts to share best practices and learn about coming innovations. The conference founded by the Department of Energy and presented by the American Fuels and Vehicle Institute gathered corporate and municipal fleet managers, directors of alternative fuel programs for original equipment manufacturers (OEM) including GM, Toyota, Ford and Honda, industry experts and supply chain manufacturers. James Woolsey, former CIA Director and Energy Entrepreneur, T. Boone Pickens, emphatically told delegates that America achieving Energy Security remains a challenge of existential magnitude. Working sessions were strategically organized around fleet type, fuel options, strategic planning, economic modeling, implementation plans and analysis. The large exposition hall displayed new to market cars and trucks as well as supply chain products. A Ride-n-Drive event gave attendees the opportunity to drive 20 new vehicles from 12 manufacturers.
Annalloyd Thomason, Executive Director of AFVI, a 20 year alternative fuel vehicle veteran said,” The primary reason corporations are adding alternative fuel vehicles to their fleet is economics. There are many applications where the cost of ownership and operation of alternative fuel vehicles proves to be the better bottom line answer”. A recent random survey of businesses by AFVI indicated 49% of companies, with fleets of 70 to 72,000 vehicles, have a 3 year horizon for including alternative fuel vehicles in their fleets. Businesses are seeking to reduce operational risk and costs inherent in 100% reliance on oil, when the horizon portends rising oil prices, supply uncertainty due to geopolitical uncertainty and increasing risk to America’s energy security. Companies are similarly benefitting, because alternative fuel vehicles, all of which produce fewer emissions than oil, demonstrate businesses’ responsibility toward its community, its customers and the environment.
The conference highlighted successful fleet implementations including that of host city, Las Vegas. Mayor Oscar Goodman pointed to the economic and environmental benefits gained by converting 93% of its fleet to alternative fuels and the city’s near term goal of 100% alternative fuel vehicles. Alternative fuel vehicles have gained a nationwide footprint, including the corporate fleets of FedEx, UPS, ATT, WalMart, Coca Cola, utility companies, taxi services and small scale delivery companies. Similarly non-oil fueled vehicles have joined municipal fleets serving police, fire, sanitation, airport transportation, school buses, transit buses, warehouse utility vehicles and more.
The AFVI Conference is “fuel neutral” encouraging all alternative fuels including natural gas, liquid natural gas, compressed natural gas, alcohol fuels, biodiesel and electric. Thomason points out,” Fuel neutrality is a critical component to America’s success, because there is not a silver bullet. All of these fuels are successfully at work today. The best alternative fuel solution can be arrived at only after careful analysis and modeling for each particular application.”
Municipalities and businesses seeking to find out how they can add alternative fuels to their fleets may contact The Alternative Fuels Institute and Clean Cities offices in 90 US cities. The next Alternatives Fuels and Vehicle Institute Conference takes place May 15 -18, 20011 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Dr. Stephen Oppenheimer, is a Correspondent for The Daily Energy Report. He has worked on the steering committee of the 2008 Energy Freedom Conference sponsored by Citizens for Energy Freedom and is a Coalition Member of Set America Free. Steve can be reached at email@example.com or by phone 404-805-5521.
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