The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) launched a new online tool, and redesigned the DOE’s Alternative Fuels Data Center website to allow fleet managers to determine the best alternative-fuel vehicle strategies.
The new Petroleum Reduction Planning Tool allows fleet managers to evaluate the benefits associated with five alternative fuels, including biodiesel, electricity, ethanol, natural gas and propane. The tool also allows fleet managers to evaluate the benefits of other efficiency approaches, such as idle reduction and simply improving the fuel economy of gasoline or diesel vehicles.
“Fleets across the country are trying to reduce their vulnerability to spikes in oil prices and are finding themselves increasingly subject to greenhouse gas emissions limitations at the federal, state and local levels,” NREL Project Manager Witt Sparks said. “This tool provides valuable information on a variety of strategies that can help them reach their desired and even required outcomes. From a single web page, a fleet manager can explore multiple strategies and know what the energy and environmental impacts will likely be before making any substantial investments.”
The tool allows fleet managers to set objectives for a plan, save the plan, make changes to it and to evaluate different alternative-fuel fleet scenarios. Each area of the site also links to informational resources on each efficiency strategy and alternative fuel type.
In addition to the new tool, the redesigned Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) now features a library of maps and data, which users can customize via interactive charts and graphs. Data sets available for viewing include alternative fuel use trends, driving habits, hybrid vehicle availability, biofuels production, transportation regulations, incentives and vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.
The site also offers an updated version of the Alternative Fueling Station Locator, which allows fleet managers and drivers to find stations that offer electric vehicle charging, E85, biodiesel, natural gas, propane and hydrogen. The tool also details the number of available fueling stations by state and by technology across the U.S. Fleet organizations with websites can also embed the fuel site locator on their own sites.
One other tool the U.S. DOE launched earlier this year provides benchmarking data for fleets that want to use alternative-fuel vehicles and other advanced powertrain technologies.
For more information, visit the new site at www.afdc.energy.gov.