4.1 The NLEV Program
By September 2000 (model year 2001), the NLEV Program requires
automobile manufacturers to ensure that their new cars and trucks, with
less than 6,500 lbs. GVWR, meet the LEV standards (on average) in all
U.S. states. Although not required in Texas until September 2000, many
automakers began selling a wide variety of gasoline and diesel-powered
LEVs prior to that date. These have been available at the same price as
their conventional counterparts. For many models, automakers have been
selling only LEVs.
Tables 1 and 2 list the growing number of LEV models that are currently
available for purchase in the Texas market (see Tables 11-13 in Appendix
B for more information on the emission standards for LEVs).
4.2 TIER II Vehicle Standards
In December 1999, The EPA announced new tailpipe emissions standards
(Tier II standards) for all passenger vehicles less than 10,000 lbs. GVWR,
including sport utility vehicles (SUVs), minivans, vans and pick-up trucks.
This will be the first time that SUVs and other light-duty trucks--even the
largest passenger vehicles--are subject to the same national pollution
standards as cars. Simultaneously, EPA also announced lower standards for
sulfur in gasoline, to help ensure the effectiveness of low emission-control
According to EPA, these new standards require passenger vehicles to be 77
to 95 percent cleaner than those on the road today and reduce the sulfur
content of gasoline by up to 90 percent. EPA estimates that the new
standards will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides from vehicles by about
74 percent by 2030.
4.3 Energy Policy Act (EPAct)
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on February 28, 1995, proposed
rules requiring the purchase of AFVs by state government fleets and
alternative fuel providers as mandated by EPAct in 1992. The rule was
finalized March 14, 1996. Certain Texas state fleets must comply with the
AFV purchase requirements of both EPAct and Chapter 2158 of the TGC.
Similarly, certain private and local government fleets could also have dual
purchase requirements under EPAct and the TCF Program if the DOE
decides to expand the EPAct requirements. This would mean that under
EPAct, affected private and local government fleets could be required to
purchase vehicles capable of operating on alternative fuels. Some of these
fleets are already required to purchase LEV-certified vehicles under the
TCF Program. To comply with both requirements, they would need to
purchase a percentage of vehicles that are both LEV certified, and are
capable of operating on an alternative fuel recognized under EPAct. For a
comparison of the TCF, FCFF and EPAct programs see Appendix C.
In April 1998, DOE published an Advanced Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking about possibly adding local government and private fleets to
the EPAct requirements. During the comment period, support for
alternative fuel use was strong, however, many questioned whether
mandated purchase of AFVs by local government and private fleets was the
best way to increase alternative fuel use. Consequently, in March 2000,
DOE announced its plans to delay a Rulemaking to allow more time to
receive additional public comment and to evaluate alternative approaches,
including those that emphasize voluntary collaboration and incentives
rather than mandatory regulation.
EPAct was enacted to stimulate the development of technologies that can
shift national energy demand toward renewable or domestically produced
energy sources. EPAct requires DOE to establish a program that promotes
the replacement of petroleum-based motor fuels to the maximum extent
possible. EPAct affects:
- Fleets of 20 or more vehicles operated primarily in metropolitan
statistical areas (MSAs) and consolidated metropolitan statistical areas
(CMSAs) with 1980 populations of 250,000 or more that are operated
by state governments; and
- Alternative fuel providers which control 50 or more vehicles within the
- Vehicles that are centrally fueled or capable of being centrally fueled.
In Texas, the following MSAs and CMSAs are affected: Austin-San
Marcos, Beaumont Port Arthur, Corpus Christi, DFW, EP, HG,
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, and San Antonio. However, all Texas state
fleets with more than 15 vehicles are already required by Section 2158.005
of the TGC to purchase AFVs.
Under EPAct, the following are considered alternative fuels: methanol,
denatured ethanol and other alcohols; M85, E85, and other alcohols with
gasoline or other fuels; natural gas; LPG; hydrogen; coal-derived liquid
fuels; fuels (other than alcohol) derived from biological materials; and
electricity (including electricity from solar energy). Chapter 2158 of the
TGC as amended by SB 200 only recognizes these alternative fuels:
electricity, natural gas, LPG, ethanol, E85, methanol and M85.
Fleets currently affected by EPAct, beginning in 1996 (MY 1997), must
acquire AFVs according to the following percentages:
- State government:
10 percent in MY 1997;
15 percent in MY 1998;
25 percent in MY 1999;
50 percent in MY 2000; and
75 percent in MY 2001 and thereafter.
- Alternative fuel providers:
30 percent in MY 1997;
50 percent in MY 1998;
70 percent in MY 1999; and
90 percent in MY 2000 and thereafter.
Current Texas requirements are broader in scope than EPAct. As of model
year 2001, (approximately September 2000), 75 percent of vehicle
purchases by affected State fleets must be capable of operating on AFVs
under EPAct. This is less stringent than Section 2158.004 of the TGC
which requires Texas state fleets with more than 15 vehicles to purchase
AFVs exclusively (a 100 percent purchase requirement). Furthermore, 50
percent of an affected State fleet must be capable of operating on an
alternative fuel under Section 2158.005 of the TGC.
Alternative fuel providers are not covered by Chapter 2158 of the TGC so
EPAct does represent an additional regulatory burden for these fleets.
EPAct allows exemptions for both state governments and alternative fuel
providers. Both state governments and alternative fuel providers may be
granted exemptions for a lack of fuels or a lack of vehicles. In addition,
state governments may obtain exemptions if the use of alternative fuels
would pose a financial hardship. Similarly, under SB 200 the GSC is
authorized to grant waivers to state vehicle fleets on the basis of excessive
cost or the lack of fuel or equipment. Private and local government fleets
are allowed these same exemptions and others under Section 382.136 of
EPAct also establishes a fleet credit program for the acquisition of vehicles
that are in excess of the number required to be purchased, or by the
acquisition of vehicles prior to the required dates.
4.4 Clean Cities
Clean Cities is a voluntary Federal program designed to accelerate and
expand the use of alternative fuels in communities throughout the country,
and develop the necessary infrastructure for their operation. Sponsored by
the DOE, Clean Cities encourages local governments and organizations to
form public/private partnerships to develop markets for AFVs. Fleets
impacted by EPAct can find information on funding, fueling and AFVs by
participating in the Clean Cities Program.
Over the last six years, more than 75 communities have joined the national
Clean Cities effort, enabling the deployment of more than 160,000 AFVs
operating in both public and private fleets, and helping to build over 6,066
alternative refueling stations.
Six areas in Texas have established Clean Cities programs: Austin, Corpus
Christi, Dallas–Fort Worth, El Paso, Houston-Galveston and San Antonio.
Many fleets in these cities have reported their AFV purchases to the Clean
The following sections summarize the Clean Cities programs by area. Some
data will include AFV purchases by Federal fleets because these fleets
benefit Texas. These fleets, however, are not under the legislative authority
of the Texas Legislature.
Austin became the first city in Texas to be designated as a U.S. DOE Clean
Cities program. The Austin Clean Cities program was inaugurated in April
of 1995. It is also the first city in Texas to achieve Redesignation (after five
years of existence); this occurred in February 2000. Austin Clean Cities
was "redesignated" as the expanded Central Texas Clean Cities (CTCC).
With redesignation, CTCC intends to reach out to surrounding counties
and get their participation as stakeholders and to expand programs to these
The mission of the CTCC Coalition is to support and sustain an expanded
market for alternative fuels and vehicles in Central Texas throughout 2005.
Programs include adding new AFV fleets, increasing alternative fuel
refueling infrastructure, and building awareness about the relationship
between alternative fuels and clean air.
According to fleet reports received by the Clean Cities Coordinator,
Austin-area fleets contain 1,448 AFVs. Of these vehicles, there are 425
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles, 27 liquefied natural gas (LNG),
995 LPG, and one electric vehicle.
B. Dallas–Fort Worth
In the early 1990s, the Regional Transportation Council made a
commitment to encourage the use of alternative fuels. Funds from the
Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program
were provided to public sector fleets interested in transitioning to AFVs.
Since its designation in 1995, DFW Clean Cities has grown from 45
stakeholders to more than one hundred active AFV users.
According to fleet reports received by the Clean Cities Coordinator, 766
AFVs were purchased between September 1, 1998 and September 1, 2000.
The Greater Houston Regional Clean Cities program, organized and staffed
by the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC), was officially
designated as a Clean City on September 4, 1997.
The H-GAC provides developmental assistance to this end through its
Alternative Fuel Vehicle Program, funded through the Department of
Transportation’s CMAQ funds. These funds are available to government
entities and public/private partnerships purchasing or converting vehicles to
be fueled by a recognized alternative fuel, or constructing and operating
publicly owned alternative fuel infrastructure.
According to fleet reports received by the Clean Cities Coordinator, HG
fleets have reported purchasing 617 AFVs in 1999. Of these vehicles, there
were 98 CNG vehicles, 30 LNG, 39 LPG, and 450 Ethanol vehicles.
D. Paso del Norte (El Paso area)
According to fleet reports received by the Clean Cities Coordinator, EP
fleets have reported purchasing 77 AFVs in 1999. Of these vehicles, there
were 16 CNG vehicles, 17 LPG, 34 Ethanol and 10 electric vehicles.
E. San Antonio
The Alamo Area Clean Cities program was initiated in 1996 by the Alamo
Area Council of Governments (AACOG). In 1994, the AACOG staff
completed an emission inventory which indicated that vehicle emissions
comprised a large percentage of the region’s overall air pollution and
ozone problems. After this inventory was completed, the AACOG decided
to pursue a Clean Cities Designation as a way to increase the use of AFVs
and reduce mobile source pollution in the region. The Alamo Area was
formally designated a Clean City on November 10, 1999.
According to fleet reports received by the AACOG, San Antonio-area
fleets have reported purchasing 795 AFVs in 1999. Of these vehicles, there
were 458 CNG vehicles, six LNG, 79 LPG, 146 Ethanol, 100 Methanol,
and six electric vehicles.
F. South Texas Clean Cities Coalition (Corpus Christi area)
Corpus Christi became the 61 st Clean City in the nation on March 31, 1998.
Since that time, it has changed its name to the South Texas Clean Cities
Coalition (STCCC). On August 31, 2000 it was incorporated as a
nonprofit organization. Once Memoranda of Understanding have been
finalized, the STCCC hopes to expand into the Lower Rio Grande Valley
and Monterrey, Mexico.
According to fleet reports received by the Clean Cities Coordinator,
STCCC fleets contain 718 AFVs. Of these vehicles, there are 106 CNG
vehicles, 68 LNG, 536 LPG, and eight electric vehicles.
—— excerpted from Status Report: Low-Emission Vehicles
and Alternative Fuel Use, SFR-049/00,