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Alternative Fuels: What does this all mean?

Who hasn’t heard the term “Going Green in 2011”? By now it is common knowledge that “green” is the new black, and fleets could be one of the biggest targets for critics in the near future. You don’t have to go very far to hear about how to go green, reduce your carbon footprint, and save energy. You simply un-plug electronics, carpool, and recycle, right? But what about the alternative fuel messages filling the airwaves? Are the solutions for going green on the road just as easy to grasp?

“Increases fuel economy” “Reduces carbon foot print” “Increases energy independence” “Reduces tailpipe emissions”…These phrases are becoming just as commonly discussed as the price of fuel itself. But they often leave fleet mangers asking, ‘what does it all really mean?’ and ‘aren’t these solutions just for the future?’

The energy world and the politics involved can be a confusing and scattered mess of conflicting messages. The only message all the fuel alternatives seem to agree on is their claim to be the “best” sustainable long-term solution.

VehiclePath GPS, and our team of industry experts, did some research and broke down some fuel alternatives for those of you who are ready and willing to do your part to “go green”. Below are the most common options along with some pro’s and con’s, so you can make the best decision for your fleet.

  • Electric and Battery
    Pros: no tailpipe emissions, domestic
    Cons: suffers from grid and battery quality, upstream methods for producing electricity (coal burning and nuclear plants) have pollution that isn’t detected at tailpipe
  • Compress natural gas (CNG)
    Pros: clean, domestic, abundant
    Cons: expensive to deploy (infrastructure and vehicle hardware cost mean high price of entry)
  • Hydrogen
    Pros: clean, domestic, abundant
    Cons: low on power, requires added compression and featured low fuel economy
  • Propane autogas
    Pros: clean, domestic, abundant, affordable to deploy
    Cons: non-renewable fuel source, decrease in energy content.

Overall, every domestic source of energy is good – in it’s own way. For true energy independence, the first step is for fleet operators to adopt a green attitude, do their research and educate their team.

Allowing fleet managers to thread the needle of which fuels work for them will ultimately achieve the reduction of operating costs, freedom of dependence on imported oil and most importantly a cleaner environment.


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