Tuesday, July 12, 2016

"LA Metro Considers Future with RNG"

From NGV Global News:
Emission reductions of both GHG and NOx from Low NOx engines and renewable natural gas (RNG) "are an order of magnitude more cost effective than reductions from transition to electric or fuel cell buses," is the conclusion of a report delivered to LA Metro in Los Angeles last week, reports Fleets&Fuels.

LA Metro is considering purchase options for the future following a decision by its Board in April to 'develop an initial outline for a comprehensive plan to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions by gradually transitioning to a zero-emission bus fleet'. The Cummins Westport Inc. (CWI) ISL G Near Zero (NZ) offers transit authorities an alternative product that is certified to optional near-zero emissions standards and will allow LA Metro to meet its goal of zero-emission transit buses more quickly and for less money.

F&F's editor Rich Piellisch summarises the information delivered by Dana Lowell of M.J. Bradley & Associates and Julia Lester of Ramboll/Environ for LA Metro:

  • Fleet costs will rise by just 1% with LNOx+RNG, as compared to 8% to 14% for all-electric buses or 9% to 13%.
  • There are significant emissions advantages: lower GHGs, lower NOx emissions
  • Less expensive

The ISL G NZ engine is built off the current ISL G platform, but requires Closed Crankcase Ventilation (CCV) that prevents crankcase emissions, a larger maintenance-free Three-Way Catalyst (TWC), and a unique engine calibration. Together, these improvements will allow the ISL G NZ to certify to 0.02g/bhp-hr, or 90 percent below the current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) NOx standards.

LA Metro, which switched entirely to CNG fuel in 2011 and reportedly operates almost 2,200 CNG buses today, will use the report to guide future technology decision-making.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Tire Strategies to Save Fuel

Question of the Month: What vehicle tire strategies and technologies are available to save fuel?

Answer: It’s easy to understand why tires are essential to a vehicle, but tires also play an important role in your vehicle’s fuel economy. Tires affect resistance on the road and, therefore, how hard the engine needs to work to move the vehicle. By maintaining proper tire inflation or investing in low rolling resistance or super-single tires, you can improve your vehicle’s fuel economy. Whether you drive a light-duty vehicle (LDV) or heavy-duty vehicle (HDV), there is a tire strategy or technology to help you increase your miles per gallon (mpg).

Proper Tire Inflation

Properly inflated tires increase fuel economy, last longer, and are safer. Oak Ridge National Laboratory estimates that you can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3% by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. In fact, under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by up to 0.3% for every one pound per square inch drop in pressure in all four tires. It is especially important to keep an eye on tire pressure in cold weather because when the air becomes cold, the tire pressure decreases.

You can find the proper tire pressure for your vehicle on a sticker located on the driver’s side doorjamb or in the owner’s manual. Also, check to see if your vehicle is equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), which will illuminate a dashboard light when the tire inflation, in one, multiple, or all tires reaches a certain pressure threshold. Fleet managers, in particular, may consider using telematics with a TPMS to assist their drivers with maintenance. Even if a vehicle has a TPMS, however, it is still good practice to manually check your vehicle’s tire pressure in order to ensure all of your tires are properly inflated.

Low Rolling Resistance Tires

Rolling resistance is the energy lost from drag and friction of a tire as it rolls over a surface. This phenomenon is complex, and nearly all operating conditions can affect how much energy is lost. For conventional and hybrid electric passenger vehicles, it is estimated that about 3%-11% of their fuel is used just to overcome tire rolling resistance, whereas all-electric passenger vehicles can use around 22%-25% of their fuel for this purpose. For heavy trucks, this fuel consumption can be around 15%-30%.

Installing low rolling resistance tires can improve vehicle fuel economy by about 3% for LDVs and more than 10% for HDVs. In LDVs, a 10% decrease in rolling resistance can increase fuel efficiency by 1%-2%. Investing in low rolling resistance tires makes economic sense, as the fuel savings from the use of these tires over the life of the vehicle can pay for the additional cost of the fuel-efficient tires. Most new passenger vehicles are equipped with low rolling resistance tires, but make sure you keep rolling resistance in mind when shopping for replacement tires.

Super-Single Tires

Reducing vehicle drag can provide significant fuel economy improvements. One way HDVs can reduce drag is by replacing traditional dual tires with one super-single tire—also called a wide-base or single-wide. In Class-8 heavy-duty vehicles (see the April Question of the Month for a definition), this can save fuel by reducing vehicle weight and rolling resistance. A super-single tire is not as wide as two tires, so there is a slight aerodynamic benefit as well, further improving vehicle efficiency.

More Information

For more information, see the following pages:


Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team
technicalresponse@icfi.com
800-254-6735

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Has OPEC lost its grip on oil prices?

In an article on USA Today, Hossein Askari, Iran professor of business and international affairs at George Washington University, says "OPEC is just powerless. They cannot agree to anything, both for political reasons and economic realities."
"I think we're in a newer paradigm for the oil market," said Rob Haworth, investment strategist and commodities expert at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. OPEC "can't afford to cut production in a meaningful way, so we are back to the market and the fundamentals of supply and demand and cost of production being the driver of price."

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Next Generation Heavy-Duty Natural Gas Engines Fueled by Renewable Natural Gas

This White Paper explores the need—and leading approaches—to immediately start deploying zero-emission and near-zero-emission heavy-duty vehicle technologies on a wide-scale basis in the United States.

During low oil prices, fleets with own CNG still saved money

Researcher Jon Gabrielsen says that "In the United States, with oil around $40/barrel of crude, just one alternative fuel remained cost-competitive, the analysis finds: compressed natural gas, or CNG." "I had to concede that despite the challenges to equip for CNG and the costs to upfit the vehicle, the savings are even larger, making it the lowest break-even proposition against diesel."

You can find his report here.

"Any time that one can fuel a commercial vehicle with CNG for at least fifty cents per DGE less than with diesel fuel then one will have at least a 3-year or shorter payback by having equipped for CNG instead of diesel."

Sunday, May 22, 2016

How Can I Use The AFLEET Tool To Make Decisions About Alternative Fuels?

Question of the Month: What is the AFLEET Tool, how can I use it to make decisions about alternative fuels, and what are the recent improvements?

Answer: Argonne National Laboratory's Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environment and Economic Transportation (AFLEET) Tool allows you to examine both the environmental and economic costs and benefits of alternative fuel and advanced vehicles. By entering data about your light- or heavy-duty vehicle(s), you can estimate petroleum use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, air pollutant emissions, and cost of ownership.

AFLEET uses data from Argonne's Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation (GREET) model and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES) model to estimate life cycle (well-to-wheel) GHG and tailpipe air pollutant emissions. Users can either use the model's default values or get even more accurate results by customizing the tool with their real life vehicle or fleet data. By using AFLEET's simple input mechanism, users can answer questions such as:

  • What are the emissions savings of replacing a conventionally fueled fleet with alternative fuel vehicles?
  • What is the incremental cost, and potential return on investment, of buying a flexible fuel vehicle?
  • How many passenger vehicles will be "taken off the road" by using natural gas refuse trucks?


Fleets and others that have been using AFLEET since its original release in 2013 will be pleased to hear that AFLEET has been updated to reflect more recent emissions data. In addition, Argonne added new features to help users formulate a more complete picture of the costs and benefits of alternative fuels.

Updates include:

  • Fuel Prices: AFLEET uses public and private station pricing based on the 2015 average Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report data. In addition, fuel pricing is now state-based rather than based on a national average. Users may also input a range of fuel prices to determine effects on simple payback models.
  • Infrastructure Costs: The updated version of AFLEET features data on fueling station and electric vehicle supply equipment infrastructure construction, operation, and maintenance costs. Users may also calculate other infrastructure-related costs, such as public station out-of-route mileage and fueling labor costs.
  • Latest Vehicle and Emission Data: AFLEET uses the latest GREET 2015 air pollutant emissions data, which includes updated heavy-duty fuel economy and emissions data, data for fuel cell electric vehicles, and updated life cycle data for renewable natural gas. AFLEET has also been updated to use the most recent version of EPA's MOVES data, 2014a.
  • Externality Costs: AFLEET output data now includes externality costs of national petroleum use and GHG emissions. Externality costs are the indirect damages associated with fuels that are not explicitly captured by the marketplace (e.g., property damages from increased flood risk as a result of climate change). Externality cost estimates will be useful in putting local vehicle and fleet decisions in a national perspective.


For information about and instructions for using AFLEET, refer to Argonne's AFLEET User Guide.

In addition, check out the Alternative Fuels Data Center's (AFDC) fuel-specific emissions pages for general information on the emissions impacts of the various alternative fuels:



Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team
technicalresponse@icfi.com
800-254-6735