Alternative Fuel Vehicles
The rapid recent increase in fuel cost should result in the natural emphasis on alternative fuels. Economics is the driving factor. In the 1990s, two major bills pushed for increased use of alternative fuel vehicles, the Energy Policy Act and the Clean Air Act. Both received substantial attention, but both have fallen short of their objectives. Instead, we probably have more SUVs than ever before. The Salt Lake Clean Cities organization will have its annual awards breakfast on February 25th and Utah is recognizing this week as Alternative Fuel Vehicle Week.
The State Building Energy Efficiency Program (SBEEP) has set up an online forum for building managers to share information on how to manage building energy more effectively.
The "Bio-Beetle" (shown at right) is the first bio-diesel powered rental vehicle. It is being offered by Maui Car Rentals.
President Bush announced a $1.2 billion hydrogen initiative during his State of the Union address. The initiative will include $720 million in new funding over the next five years to develop the technologies and infrastructure needed to produce, store, and distribute hydrogen for use in fuel cell vehicles and to generate electricity.
Utah has several hundred alternative fuel vehicles in its fleet, but many of them are dual-fuel vehicles which are often run on the traditional fuel. Steve Saltgiver, the state fleet manager, informs that the current price of unleaded is about double the cost of compressed natural gas ($1.06 vs. $0.53) and is encouraging agencies to take advantage of CNG in their AFVs.
Colorado now has an HEV program. HEV stands for Hybrid Electric Vehicles. We have several in the Utah state fleet. The federal government also offers HEV tax credits. Several state legislators appear to be interested in the technology.
Check the latest information on CARB's Zero Immission Vehicle program postponement.