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New Jersey: Atlantic City Jitneys Running on Natural Gas

November 6, 2013 - 12:00am

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In 2009, the New Jersey Clean Cities Coalition was one of 25 recipients to receive funding from the EERE Clean Cities’ Alternative Fuel and Advanced Technology Vehicles Pilot Program. The approximately $15 million in funding allowed he city to  purchase nearly 300 compressed natural gas vehicles, including 190 Atlantic City “jitneys.”  The jitneys, minibuses run by owner-operators, have been Atlantic City’s main form of public transportation since 1915. By paying for the cost differential between gasoline and natural gas vehicles, the award allowed the Jitney Association to replace its entire aging fleet with a cleaner alternative.

The fleet was particularly important during Hurricane Irene in 2011, when the coast had an evacuation order for the whole city. The 190 jitneys focused on evacuating people who could not transport themselves, including elderly and disabled residents. The drivers brought 2,000 people to safer areas, protecting them from potentially catastrophic flooding and winds. After the weather calmed, the jitneys brought the evacuees back to central locations so that they could return home.

In addition, the fleet was used again during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Before the hurricane, 30 of the jitneys evacuated people who could not transport themselves, including elderly and disabled residents living along the Boardwalk. Other jitneys transported clinic patients to medical treatments and helped those staying behind gather emergency goods such as food and water. Despite widespread fuel shortages for gasoline and diesel, the compressed natural gas station that the jitneys used to fuel up remained open and supplied the needed fuel. Despite the unusual circumstances, the natural-gas -powered jitneys served their community well in its time of need—demonstrating that using compressed natural gas for vehicles can be an asset in the aftermath of natural disasters when gasoline and diesel fuel are often in short supply.

The Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) develops and deploys efficient and environmentally friendly highway transportation technologies that will enable America to use less petroleum. These technologies will provide Americans with greater freedom of mobility and energy security, while lowering costs and reducing impacts on the environment.

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