For 25 years, the public and private sectors have been coming together under the Clean Cities umbrella, to promote clean-burning, domestic, alternative fuels, advanced vehicle technologies and transportation efficiencies. Nearly 100 strong, Clean Cities coalitions can be found in large cities, small towns, and rural areas. Some of the biggest names in American business, including UPS, FedEX, Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Staples, and Verizon, to name a few, have been active members of Clean Cities coalitions for years. The diversity of the coalitions’ membership, which also includes state and local governments and nonprofits, vehicle manufacturers and fuel suppliers, ensures that the right fuel or technology is matched to the right application.
Every day, American consumers and businesses rely on transportation for jobs, schools, and commerce. On average, nearly one-fifth of total U.S. household expenditures are for transportation, making it second only to housing cost. You may live in a community where trash is picked up by natural gas waste haulers. Perhaps you’ve ridden on a hybrid-electric, electric, or natural gas transit bus. Your children may ride to school each day on a propane or biodiesel-powered school bus. Your local service station may carry ethanol or biodiesel blends of fuel, and if you’ve visited a national park recently, you may have noticed electric vehicle charging equipment for use by the public, or alternatively-fueled park vehicles. In all these cases, the chances are good that Clean Cities coalitions played a role in promoting the use of those vehicles and technologies.
Clean Cities’ influence has been growing by leaps and bounds. The Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition worked closely with Fair Oaks Dairy and AmpCNG to recover methane from dairy farms, and use it to power long distance, over-the-road milk delivery trucks with renewable natural gas. The Southeast Louisiana Clean Fuel Partnership helped develop idle reduction plans for the Port of New Orleans and the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. The San Francisco Clean Cities coalition was actively involved in transitioning the Bay Area Ferry Fleet to renewable diesel, and Utah Clean Cities continues to work with Park City, Utah, as the city transitions its transit fleet to all-electric buses.
Clean Cities coalitions regularly conduct educational workshops for fleet owners and operators, code officials and first responders, to help keep them abreast of changes to fuels and vehicles that may impact their operations. In many cases, fleets are seeing substantial cost savings, due to actions they have undertaken. Coalitions have promoted workplace charging for electric vehicles, and have looked into autonomous vehicles and the potential changes they will bring.
The U.S. Department of Energy and the National Laboratories provide numerous resources to assist Clean Cities coalitions with their work. The national Clean Cities website and the Alternative Fuels Data Center are managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). You’ll find links to all the Clean Cities coalitions, as well as a wealth of information on a wide range of fuels and technologies. If you’re looking to buy a car, check out https://www.fueleconomy.gov/ to help you find the right vehicle for your needs.