Our nation's energy security depends on the efficiency of our transportation system and on which fuels we use. Transportation in the United States already consumes much more oil than we produce here at home and the situation is getting worse. Domestic oil production has been dropping steadily for over 20 years, and experts predict that by 2025, about 70% of our oil will be imported. The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Vehicle Technologies Office supports research and development (R&D) that will lead to new technologies that reduce our nation's dependence on imported oil, further decrease vehicle emissions, and serve as a bridge from today's conventional powertrains and fuels to tomorrow's hydrogen-powered hybrid fuel cell vehicles. The Vehicle Technologies Office also supports implementation programs that help to transition alternative fuels and vehicles into the marketplace, as well as collegiate educational activities to help encourage engineering and science students to pursue careers in the transportation sector. Following are some of the activities that complement the Vehicle Technologies Office's mission.
Energy Policy Act of 1992
The Vehicle Technologies Office administers programs in support of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct), which was passed to reduce our nation's reliance on foreign petroleum and improve air quality. Officially known as Public Law 102-486, EPAct includes provisions that address all aspects of energy supply and demand. EPAct's regulatory fleet programs require federal, state, and alternative fuel provider fleets to annually acquire a certain percentage of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs), which are capable of operating on nonpetroleum fuels.
EPAct further requires covered fuel providers to use alternative fuels in their AFVs. Since 1992, regulated fleets have helped build a core market for AFVs and have displaced more than 100 million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGE) of conventional fuels.
Clean Cities supports the voluntary side of EPAct. Clean Cities was created in 1993 to provide technical, informational, and financial resources to both regulated fleets and voluntary adopters of alternative fuels.
As the primary deployment arm of the Vehicle Technologies Office, Clean Cities' mission is to advance the nation's economic, environmental, and energy security by supporting local decisions to adopt practices that contribute to the reduction of petroleum consumption. Clean Cities carries out this mission by working with more than 90 coalitions throughout the United States. Among its 4,800 stakeholders are local, state, and federal government agencies; commercial fleets; automakers; fuel suppliers; utility companies; and professional associations. Since its inception, Clean Cities has displaced more than 1 billion GGE of petroleum through the use of alternative fuels and AFVs, idle reduction technologies, fuel economy measures, and fuel blends.
In addition to research, the Vehicle Technologies Office supports post-secondary educational activities, such as competitions and technology development programs for engineering students interested in advanced transportation research.