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NGVAmerica News Week in Review: September 25, 2017

  • NGVAmerica Applauds Colorado VW Mitigation Plan
  • California Clean Air Initiative to Provide $895 Million for Reducing Emissions
  • VIA Showcases Natural Gas Bus at Sustainability Festival in San Antonio
  • S. EIA Releases International Energy Outlook 2017
  • Green Logistics Initiative in Germany to Deploy 100 LNG Trucks
  • IVECO to Take Part in European Road Rally with Stralis NP Natural Gas Truck


NGVAmerica Applauds Colorado VW Mitigation Plan

September 18, 2017

NGVAmerica applauded the State of Colorado for its development of a draft Volkswagen settlement environmental mitigation plan that focuses on maximizing emission benefits for its citizens and significantly increases the use of clean alternative fuel technologies like natural gas vehicles.

On August 28, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released a draft plan that outlines how the state intends to spend $68.7 million in settlement funds resulting from the Volkswagen “clean diesel” lawsuit.

“Colorado is to be commended for developing a smart plan and for being one of the first states to hold public workshops to solicit citizen input on how best to utilize VW settlement funds to improve air quality,” said Daniel Gage, NGVAmerica President.  “Investing in commercially-available natural gas vehicle technology is the most cost-effective way to fully maximize nitrogen oxide reductions in both public and private fleets.”

Colorado’s draft plan targets a mix of different types of eligible projects with significant emphasis on replacing older, dirtier on-road trucks and buses with new, cleaner alternative fuel vehicles.  The plan correctly focuses on the problem at hand, which is excess nitrogen oxide emissions, and addresses emissions that affect public health through encouraging cost-effective solutions.

NGV advocates are particularly pleased to see that the plan provides a level playing field for all alternative fuels.  The program also maximizes the chances for success by matching the VW funds with other available incentive funding and using existing funding mechanisms to limit administrative costs.

NGVAmerica encourages other states looking to develop environmental mitigation plans to take a close look at Colorado’s. Nationwide, a total of $2.9 billion has been set aside for states to address the thousands of tons of excess nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution generated by non-compliant diesel vehicles.  The terms of the agreements reached by the states, the U.S. government, and Volkswagen set broad guidelines for how the funds are to be used and establish specific types of projects that are eligible for funding.  The settlement requires states to solicit input and develop mitigation plans that spell out how they plan to use the VW funds.  The plans must be approved by an independent trustee before funding is released to the states.

The settlement targets environmental funding for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and equipment because that is the most cost-effective way to offset the offending emissions.  To reduce harmful emissions and address public health, the settlement rightly focuses on heavy-duty vehicles, not light-duty vehicles, because dollar-for-dollar there is no better way to offset emissions of nitrogen oxide emissions.  In many urban areas, large diesel vehicles contribute a disproportionate share of emissions that contribute to air pollution.  It is far easier and cheaper to encourage businesses and government fleets to remove large, older and dirtier diesel vehicles from the roads than it would be to pay individual consumers to remove what would have to be millions of light-duty vehicles from the road to reduce the same level of pollution.  This is why the settlement among other things targets funds for replacing Class 4 – 8 diesel powered trucks and buses.  The funds are to be used to retire older, dirtier vehicles and replace them with new, cleaner vehicles.

Current natural gas vehicle technology is so pure that it produces emissions that are 50 – 90 percent cleaner than federal standards.  Dollar for dollar, natural gas vehicles offer the cleanest and most economical choice for state officials looking to target environmental mitigation funds.

NGVAmerica encourages communities to look at all available alternative fuel options and select the one that maximizes the air quality benefit.  If they do so, it is confident that they will find that natural gas vehicles are a winner.


California Clean Air Initiative to Provide $895 Million for Reducing Emissions

September 18, 2017

The California state legislature passed a landmark series of bills Friday that provides $895 million towards programs that will reduce air pollution from mobile sources which are responsible for 40 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically the legislation allocates $140 million toward incentivizing cleaner emissions vehicles at the ports, $180 million towards the Clean Bus and Truck program, which underwrites Low-NOx natural gas engines, and another $250 million toward the Carl Moyer program.

Titled the ‘California Clean Air Initiative,’ the bills will use cap and trade funds to replace harmful diesel engines in heavy-duty trucks and buses. According to the California Sustainable Freight Action Plan, trucks, like the thousands that move goods from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, account for 33 percent of the state’s NOx emissions, and 26 percent of diesel particulate matter that contributes to lung disease and other respiratory ailments.

“This is the largest investment to clean air in our state’s history, and will provide incentives to replace dirty diesel engines with cleaner-burning natural gas engines that will directly result in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the reduction of smog-forming pollutants,” said Thomas Lawson, president of the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition.

The passage of the Clean Air Initiative is particularly timely as the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are scheduled to vote on a Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) in early November. With funding now available, the final version of the plan can be made much more effective than previous versions using incentives to remove diesel burning heavy-duty trucks and replace them with new trucks using low-NOx natural gas engines fueled by renewable natural gas. The current draft plan allows diesel trucks to continue operating in the ports for another 17 years.

The Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) Now Plan aims to accelerate the San Pedro Bay Ports’ Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) with complete replacement of dirty diesel trucks over the next 5 years. It offers a cost-effective opportunity, using proven technology, to significantly and immediately reduce emissions from the 13,000 port trucks serving the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.


VIA Showcases Natural Gas Bus at Sustainability Festival in San Antonio

September 21, 2017

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) community showed its dedication to sustainable living at its Equinox Festival 2017, held Friday, September 22. The event hosted a full day of events and showcased one of VIA Metropolitan Transit’s new natural gas buses.

Participants at the festival were to explore information presented by community organizations, including VIA, that related to the environment and sustainability efforts in the community. Researchers at UTSA are committed to enhancing clean energy production/integration, improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions with five new research initiatives through the Strategic Alliance between the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute (TSERI) and CPS Energy, established in 2010.

Earlier this year, VIA introduced the first of more than 400 new clean-burning CNG transit buses. The transition to cleaner, more environmentally friendly buses is part of VIA’s multi-year plan to significantly reduce vehicle emissions, decrease operating costs, and allow VIA to carry out planned service enhancements.


U.S. EIA Releases International Energy Outlook 2017

September 25, 2017

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its International Energy Outlook 2017 that assesses international energy markets, including transportation, through 2050.

The report found that natural gas is expected to be one of the fastest-growing forms of energy used for transportation in OECD countries on a percentage basis, a trend largely driven by favorable economics in heavy trucking.

“The share of natural gas as a transportation fuel grows from 4% in 2015 to 9% in 2040. Natural gas consumption for passenger and freight transportation—excluding natural gas pipeline consumption—grows to nearly six times its 2015 level by 2040, reaching 9 quadrillion Btu in 2040.”

However, most of the growth in transport-related energy demand is expected to occur in non-OECD countries, where increased stability and investment and long-term economic development are the market enablers.

“Natural gas and electricity, while starting from much lower levels of use than liquid fuels in the transportation sector, are the fastest-growing forms of transportation energy use, with consumption of each approximately tripling between 2015 and 2040. Natural gas consumption for passenger and freight transportation increases nearly 500% from 2015 to 2040, up nearly 8 quadrillion Btu.”

Overall, natural gas is highly competitive as an energy source, as global natural gas consumption increases by 1.4%/year. Although consumption of non-fossil fuels is expected to grow faster than fossil fuels, fossil fuels still account for 77% of energy use in 2040.

The full report is available for download here.


Green Logistics Initiative in Germany to Deploy 100 LNG Trucks

September 20, 2017

More than 100 Scania LNG trucks are to be used in northern Germany, in an initiative to make the transport activities of the Volkswagen Group more environmentally compatible.

To speed up the implementation, participants recently met at a “LNG Truck Day.” At the gathering Volkswagen Group Logistics, Scania, the gas suppliers participating and 18 regional forwarders all gave their support to sustainable logistics. The German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will provide forwarders with a support package for the purchase of the trucks, and gas suppliers are to construct LNG refueling stations in the region.

“Lower-emission trucks are a key element in our Green Logistics sustainability initiative,” said Thomas Zernechel, Head of Volkswagen Group Logistics. “With yesterday’s LNG Truck Day, we provided impetus for the use of trucks with alternative powertrains.”

Scania trucks with an LNG powertrain emit up to 20 percent less CO2 than comparable diesel engines. The use of regional and local biogas even reduces CO2 emissions by as much as 90 percent in addition to the improvement in the carbon dioxide balance, these powertrains emit some 95 percent less nitrogen oxides (NOx). In addition, less particulate matter is produced during combustion and particulate emissions are almost completely avoided.


IVECO to Take Part in European Road Rally with Stralis NP Natural Gas Truck

​​​​​​​September 19, 2017

IVECO is taking part in this year’s “Blue Corridor-2017: Iberia – Baltia” Rally in Europe with the Stralis NP, a natural gas truck specifically designed for long-haul operations that can run on CNG or LNG. With its participation, IVECO aims to support the development of natural gas, which it views as the best and the only mature alternative fuel for a sustainable transport industry.

The “Blue Corridor-2017: Iberia – Baltia” Rally, which is promoted and organized by Gazprom Group and Uniper, gathers every year representatives of energy and logistics companies, vehicle manufacturers and operators in the NGV market in order to demonstrate the benefits of natural gas as a fuel of the future.

The rally officially started last week with the flag-off ceremony hosted in Lisbon. From there, participants will drive across Europe to St. Petersburg. The Blue Corridor Rally 2017 demonstrates the progress made in the development of the natural gas infrastructure in Europe, confirming the viability of this sustainable fuel in long haulage.

The caravan will stop at IVECO’s Ulm plant, in Germany, where they will be able to refuel at the country’s first LNG station. On September 25th, IVECO will host at its Ulm Delivery Centre a round table event with customers and other stakeholders in the development of natural gas in the transport industry.