A number of clean fuel options are available to fleets and consumers that can help decrease exhaust pollution from vehicles. These fuels may also reduce petroleum consumption by either enhancing energy efficiency or diversifying energy supplies. Numerous federal incentives are available to encourage use and production of many of these fuel options.
Some of the clean fuel options available include:
Many different fuel options exist which can help displace petroleum consumption and reduce emissions. These fuels are defined in the Energy Policy Act, which also seeks to increase the use of alternative fuels in an effort to reduce dependence upon foreign energy supplies and promote energy diversity. Alternative fuels may include both renewable and non-renewable fuels, and interest in their use is expanding among the general public as well as large fleets. Although availability of different fuels has sometimes been a challenge in the past, refueling infrastructure is expanding in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to meet the growing demand. NCTCOG maintains a map [PDF] of alternative fuel stations in the 16-county NCTCOG service area; available fuels include biodiesel, ethanol, natural gas, and propane. Several federal incentives exist for the use of alternative fuels and the construction of refueling infrastructure.
For more information on alternative fuels, or to find a refueling station, please visit these Web sites:
Biofuels are one category of alternative fuels that are fully renewable and are made from organic matter that is sourced from plants or animals. A wide variety of feedstocks, or raw organic materials, can be used to make biofuels. This is often referred to as biomass and includes both plant products that are grown specifically to be converted into fuels and waste materials from the production of other plant or animal products. Several incentives are available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the production of biofuels in rural areas.
More information on biofuels is available through the following links:
Diesel fuel has changed dramatically in recent years due to newer federal regulations that have resulted in diesel formulations that burn much more cleanly than in the past, while maintaining high energy efficiency. Clean diesel refers to diesel products that reduce pollutants such as sulfur or nitrogen oxides (NOx). The sulfur content of standard No. 2 Diesel (common highway diesel fuel) was reduced significantly in 2006 through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Highway Diesel Rule, which mandated the production and use of Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD). ULSD has a sulfur content of 15 parts per million (ppm); prior to the ULSD mandate diesel fuel had a sulfur content of 500 ppm. The lower sulfur content not only reduces the “black clouds” of smoke seen coming from diesel vehicles but also allows vehicles to be fitted with retrofit devices that reduce exhaust emissions even further. In fact, new diesel engines must be fueled with ULSD in order to work properly because the advanced technologies of modern engines cannot tolerate high sulfur levels. The federal ULSD standard was effective nationwide in June 2006 for all on-road diesel vehicles, and will go into effect in June 2010 for off-road diesel vehicles.
In addition to federally-mandated ULSD, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is requiring the use of Texas Low Emission Diesel (TxLED) in certain areas in Texas. TxLED is a low emission diesel fuel that is designed to further reduce emissions of NOx and other pollutants. TxLED requirements are effective in 110 Texas counties to the east of Interstate 35, including the Dallas-Fort Worth ozone nonattainment area.
For more information on clean diesel, visit the following links:
Fuels which are not yet fully commercialized, but show promise for increasing energy efficiency, reducing emissions, or providing an alternative energy source, are referred to by the Department of Energy as Emerging Fuels. Many of these fuels are derived from biomass, which can provide a wide variety of raw materials for fuel production.
For more information, please visit the Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center.
Fuel additives can be used to boost a fuel's octane quality, enhance combustion, and reduce exhaust emissions. In addition, some fuel additive blends have been approved by the TCEQ as compliant with TxLED program requirements.
To learn more about fuel additives, visit the following web sites:
Blended fuels offer emission and energy saving benefits by mixing two different fuels together into a new fuel. Often these fuel blends consist of an alternative fuel with either gasoline or diesel. The fuel blend is often named by abbreviating the alternative fuel and identifying the percent of alternative fuel blended. For example, a blend of 10 percent ethanol with gasoline would be labeled E10. By mixing small quantities
of an alternative fuel with conventional fuel, such as a five percent blend of biodiesel with 95 percent petroleum diesel (B5), exhaust emissions may be significantly impacted. In addition, these fuel blends represent an important option for reducing dependence on finite petroleum products. The alternative fuel content of fuel blends ranges widely, from a two percent biodiesel blend (B2) to the well-recognized 85 percent ethanol blend (E85). Fuel blends may also consist of two different alternative fuels, such as hydrogen and natural gas (HCNG).
More information on fuel blends is available through the Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center.