Facebook Twitter LinkedIn


News (Archive)


The NC Clean Energy Technology Center at NC State University and The 100 Best Fleets hosted a webinar on Tuesday 6/28 featuring fleet managers from a few of the top fleets that were judged best out of 38,000 Public Fleets in the 2016 Edition of The 100 Best Fleets. If you were unable to attend, we have documented the highlights to share their practices that you can apply to your own operations moving forward. Continue reading to learn more need-to-know information and practical solutions to the biggest of fleet challenges. 

Ranked #3 Fleet Manager Thomas Kuryla- Wake County Raleigh, NC

Tip 1) Get an outside source. This is necessary to see what areas your fleet can best improve on. Wake County hired a 3rd party consultant to conduct a Market Study to evaluate their fleet and compare their own systems to the larger market and industry entities. Kuryla claimed this was crucial in justifying what needed improvement and finding support from management moving forward. 

Tip 2) Stricter anti-idling policies. Implementing these policies will help ensure accountability of fleet assets. Wake County employees are trained on why it is important to not eat lunch in an idling car or the harm of waiting for the heat/air conditioning to fix the internal environment of a vehicle for large periods of time. Not only did Kuryla help reduce his fleets emissions, he improved employee safety and reduced wasted fuel.  

Tip 3) Update your fleet information system. Kuryla believed having a transparent fleet information system that went from being at a fleet only scale to a county system dramatically improved Wake County’s accountability. Additionally, the creation of a Fleet Advisory Committee opened the door for customer involvement in the fleet and helped employees better evaluate and prioritize requests. 

Ranked #2 Fleet Manager Robert Gordon- DeKalb County, GA

Tip 1) Divide your fleet. Gordon believes that by dividing his fleet into a total of six divisions rather than one huge clump in which a diverse array of vehicles travel in and out the door he has allowed room for people to become much more specialized. The direct byproduct of this change has increased fleet efficiency. Examples of divisions include heavy truck, fire shop and body shop.  

Tip 2) Quality control. Quality control. Quality control. Throughout his presentation, Gordon strongly expressed the importance of implementing an aggressive training program to ensure employees are equally adequate in their skills. Understanding what one’s employees’ strengths and weaknesses are in order capitalize on those weaknesses to train towards evolving them into strengths is essential. Additionally, whenever the DeKalb County fleet is preparing to purchase new vehicles they request that the vendor send a company employee to come out and host a training workshop to educate his people on the vehicle. This prevents the risk of employee knowledge disparities moving forward. 

Tip 3) Build a recruiting committee. This allows a group to focus on employing skilled individuals and filling in labor gaps. For example, Gordon discussed the strategy of reaching out to local secondary technical schools and attending career days to seek out potential candidates for future hiring waves. This helps Gordon’s fleet communicate with these centers of education as to what they are looking students to know for the job. Secondly, Gordon’s fleet has begun to recruit from the military to employ well trained truck technicians that are often hard to come by in the industry. 

Ranked #1 Fleet Manager Peter Bendar- County of Ventura, CA

Tip 1) Have a diverse fleet. Bendar’s fleet is composed of everything from EV’s and PHEV vehicles to hybrids. 

Tip 2) Leaders be a captain. Fleet leaders need to be take the role as captain of their fleet. Do not be afraid to engage the team. Increasing employee engagement is critical to succeeding. Additionally, every year Bendar gives the updated version of 100 Best Fleets Book to his employees as a reference guide to view practices that are being used around the nation. This booklet also serves as a tool to compare measurable outcomes with neighboring fleets.

Tip 3) Do NOT be afraid of change. It is wise to discuss challenges with your team. Inviting a problem solving environment to grow not only increases employee engagement but generates fresh perspectives on how to solve existing problems. Bendar stressed the importance of thinking of your fleet as a business and what steps one needs to take to remain competitive. Embrace change, new ideas and help nurture future leaders by supporting a think tank like culture. 



Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition Invited to “Re-Envision” Department Of Energy Program at NREL

On May 24, 2016, Charlotte Region transportation planners and Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition (CCFC) representatives Jason Wager of the Centralina Council of Governments and Jason Lawrence of Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) attended a workshop at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden, CO.  Also invited were officials from the U.S. Department of Energy and several of its Laboratories, Clean Cities Coordinators, and planning and energy leaders from regions spanning the country.  

A focus of this event was the changing landscape of transportation.  This included emerging transportation technologies, barriers and opportunities related to efficient and effective transportation, and how each of us play a role in our communities in forming the partnerships that will roll out the expected changes to how we move people and goods in the future.  As our population continues to grow, local governments will be a key collaborator in helping to deploy new solutions to address congestion, safety, and reliability of the transportation system.  In addition, attendees pointed out the need to also keep in mind energy efficiency and creating the least amount of disruption to our residents.  

Current and Past Initiatives Getting Attention

This invitation spotlights several local efforts that caught the eye of workshop planners and points out that, while we have much to do, we are on the right track.  Local initiatives include:

1. Smart Cities Proposal – The City of Charlotte’s recent application to the US DOT Smart Cities competition highlighted our region’s interest in tackling significant issues like first mile/last mile connection, navigating transportation options, environmental issues exacerbated by congestion, productivity loss/decreased quality of life due to congestion, and improving the economic mobility of its lower income residents, each of which can involve deployment of emerging transportation technologies.  CATS’ role and knowledge in this arena specifically is noted as critical to understanding what future transportation efforts must address;

2. Charlotte Regional Alliance For Transportation (CRAFT) – Recently CCFC staff were asked to present to a gathering of the six (6) transportation planning organizations in the greater Charlotte region on the topic of Connected and Automated Vehicles and how the emergence of these technologies should be addressed in our long range planning documents and discussions;

3. Plug-in Electric Vehicle Readiness Planning –The “Plugging in from Mountains to Sea” statewide planning project, with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program through the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition, initiated a systematic approach to accommodating electric vehicles and fueling infrastructure which are expected to be key components of the future of mobility;

4. Innovation Corridors –A systematic approach to promoting economic development along key transportation corridors designated as part of the CONNECT Regional Growth Framework. This concept explores the potential to unify place making, economic development/innovation hubs, and transit, allowing communities to promote public transit and high-performance broadband coordinated with transit-oriented housing, commercial development and important public services and institutions, including education;

5. Regional Freight Mobility Plan – This plan will serve urban, suburban, and rural areas of the region by aiding in the understanding of current and future levels of freight network activity, defining feasible solutions supported by the private sector, identifying new technologies to improve freight flow and attract new businesses to the region, and guiding the region’s investments in freight infrastructure.

What’s Next?

The Department of Energy forecasts that a re-envisioned Clean Cities program will be rolled out by this fall, following additional stakeholder engagement events in Washington DC this summer.  Fortunately, our region appears to be well poised to take advantage of what will no doubt be a program focused on the future of transportation and that intentionally integrates efforts across the U.S. Departments of Energy, Transportation, and others.  

About Clean Cities and the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition

The Clean Cities program, represented in the Charlotte region by the CCFC, is a national network of local coalitions focused on advancing the nation’s economic, environmental, and energy security.  Local stakeholders serve as the foundation of Clean Cities by working to cut petroleum use in their communities, through the deployment of technologies, alternative fuels and vehicles, and targeted programs.  Stakeholders include private businesses, fuel providers, vehicle fleets, state and local government agencies, and community organizations.  They support each other in providing information and resources, informing public policy, educating the public, and collaborating on transportation projects.  For more information on Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition, visit their website at, and to learn more about the national Clean Cities program visit the website at



The Southeast Alternative Fuels Demonstration Initiative hosted an alternative fuel vehicle display outside of the Centralina Council of Governments board meeting location at Tyvola Senior Center in May. As member delegates walked in they were educated on AFV's through interaction. 


Left to right: Jeff Miller, Town of Matthews Commissioner, Michael Johnson, Centralina COG Chair and City of Statesville Mayor Pro-Tem, Chris Facente, Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition Vice-Chairman and Automotive Supervisor at UNC Charlotte, and Jason Wager, Coordinator Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition and Planning Program Supervisor, Centralina Council of Governments

The 2016 Clean Cities Region of Excellence Award is presented to the Town of Matthews for demonstrating leadership and excellence in clean transportation and fuel activities. Matthews has recognized the environmental, economic, and national security benefits of reducing consumption of fossil fuels and has implemented programs and initiatives to lower their use of traditional transportation fuels.  The Town of Matthews installation of Electric Vehicle Fast Charging equipment in its downtown, available to the public and growing number of electric vehicle owners on the road, exemplifies Clean Cities’ mission and goals.

The Town of Matthews celebrated the installation and opening of a region-first Direct Current Fast Charger (DCFC) for Plug-in Electric Vehicles in its downtown.  The Town decided early on that the installation of this charging equipment for environmentally minded consumers could both attract visitors to its downtown and establish the community as progressive.  Ultimately, PEV owners are now able to fully charge a typical vehicle in about 30 minutes at a cost of about $6; ideally, spending that time in exploring the shops of Downtown Matthews.  Since installation, over 65 charge events have taken place and with well over 300,000 plug-in vehicles sold nationally, the usage of this charger is only expected to accelerate as the market rapidly grows.  In addition to providing local match including leasing out the physical location for the DCFC equipment, the Town was able to partner with several other organizations to make this DCFC possible including:

  • NC DOT and NC Clean Energy Technology Center – source of Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant funds
  • Brightfield Transportation Solutions - received and implemented the project award
  • Nissan - provided the actual DCFC unit as grant match ( a $33,000 value)
  • BMW - funded additional cord and receptacle equipment
  • Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition and the NC PEV Task Force - outreach and partnership/funding development

Given that each year in the US we burn roughly 121 billion gallons of oil in our passenger cars and trucks, the Town of Matthews is doing its part by supporting a switch to plug-in electric vehicles.  There efforts help to improve America’s energy independence and mitigate the health effects of dangerous air pollution.

A congratulations and a thank you goes out to the Town of Matthews, for taking big steps forward in reducing petroleum dependence in unique ways that reduce costs and improve quality of life for their community.





Grants to Replace Aging Diesel Engines (GRADE) 

$500,000 Available Until July 31, 2016

 $500,000 in funding is available from ​​GRADE for Freight! Mecklenburg County Air Quality (MCAQ) will award sub-grants of up to 50% of the cost to replace older diesel-powered freight vehicles and equipment with newer cleaner-operating equipment. 

Eligible diesel vehicles and equipment operate at goods movement facilities such as rail terminals, airports, and distribution centers.  Equipment must operate at least 75% of time in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Union (NC), and York (SC) counties. MCAQ will be hosting opportunities to learn more and access help with informational sessions at their Charlotte location. To find more information on the grant application click here.

INFORMATION SESSION: June 14, 2:00-2:30 PM

DROP-IN APPLICATION SESSION: July 12, 2:00-3:00 PM and July 20, 9:00-10:00 AM

 In 2007, Mecklenburg County Air Quality initiated an air pollution control program called Grants to Replace Aging Diesel Engines or GRADE.  GRADE is designed to reduce oxides of nitrogen (NOx), an ozone forming air pollutant, by providing businesses and organizations funding incentives to replace or repower heavy-duty non-road equipment with newer, cleaner, less polluting engines.

Since 2007, GRADE has funded a total of 282 projects and awarded $5.09 million. These projects have reduced 489 tons of ozone-forming NOx in the Charlotte region. The grant application can be found here

Blurry Cars


This website and program (, supported in part by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, is a pooled fund initiative led by the Oregon Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration to assist state and local transportation agencies interested in promoting the use of alternative fuel vehicle technologies. 

Through this initiative, an AFV Planning Guide has been developed that helps transportation agencies create a plan for deploying AFVs. AFV Toolkits can also be accessed at the site, and are based on workshops held in 2015-2016 with AFV stakeholders on topics that include EV Corridor Development and Innovative Financing methods.


Question of the Month:

What are the various weight classes and why do they matter?


Which Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard applies to my vehicle? What are the state emissions testing requirements for my vehicle? Would a medium-duty vehicle qualify for the plug-in electric drive motor vehicle tax credit? To answer these questions and determine which laws, regulations, and incentives may apply to your vehicle or fleet, you must first understand the specifics of the vehicle weight classifications.

You may recall learning about federal agencies and vehicle classes from our February Question of the Month ( However, each agency defines vehicle classes differently. So this month, we will dig deeper into the specific vehicle weight classes set by three federal agencies. This guide will help you identify a Class 1 vehicle to a Heavy-Duty Vehicle 8b, and everything in between.

U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

The FHWA defines vehicles as Class 1 through 9, the most common categorization used in the fleet industry. The classes are based on a vehicle's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), which is the maximum operating weight of the vehicle, measured in pounds (lbs.). GVWR is set by the manufacturer and includes the total vehicle weight plus fluids, passengers, and cargo. The FHWA's vehicle classes (listed below) are used in the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (e.g., as it relates to the National Highway Freight Program). The vehicle classes are also used by certain states to determine vehicle road and fuel taxes, access to roadways, and idle reduction and emissions reduction requirements.

Light-Duty Vehicle: less than (<) 10,000 lbs.

  • Class 1: <6,000 lbs., e.g., sedan or sport-utility vehicle (SUV)
  • Class 2: 6,001-10,000 lbs., e.g., utility van

Medium-Duty Vehicle: 10,001-26,000 lbs.

  • Class 3: 10,001-14,000 lbs., e.g., mini bus
  • Class 4: 14,001-16,000 lbs., e.g., step van
  • Class 5: 16,001-19,500 lbs., e.g., bucket truck
  • Class 6: 19,501-26,000 lbs., e.g., school bus

Heavy-Duty Vehicle: greater than (>) 26,000 lbs.

  • Class 7: 26,001-33,000 lbs., e.g., city transit bus
  • Class 8: >33,000 lbs., e.g., dump truck

For more vehicle examples, see the Types of Vehicles by Weight Class chart (

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA uses the following categories to certify vehicles based on emissions standards, in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's CAFE standards to regulate fuel economy. The light-duty vehicle category is also used in Energy Policy Act vehicle acquisition requirements. Note that there is a distinction between vehicles and engines in the EPA's classification because there are separate emissions standards for each.

Passenger Vehicles

Light-Duty Vehicle: <8,500 lbs.

Medium-Duty Vehicle: 8,501-10,000 lbs.

Heavy-Duty Vehicles and Engines

General Trucks

  • Light-Duty Trucks: <8,500 lbs.
  • Heavy-Duty Vehicle Heavy-Duty Engine: >8,500 lbs.

Heavy-Duty Trucks

  • Light-Duty Truck 1 and 2: <6,000 lbs
  • Light-Duty Truck 3 and 4: 6,001-8,500 lbs.
  • Heavy-Duty Vehicle 2b: 8,501-10,000 lbs.
  • Heavy-Duty Vehicle 3: 10,001-14,000 lbs.
  • Heavy-Duty Vehicle 4: 14,001-16,000 lbs.
  • Heavy-Duty Vehicle 5: 16,001-19,500 lbs.
  • Heavy-Duty Vehicle 6: 19,501-26,000 lbs.
  • Heavy-Duty Vehicle 7: 26,001-33,000 lbs.
  • Heavy-Duty Vehicle 8a: 33,001-60,000 lbs.
  • Heavy-Duty Vehicle 8b: >60,000 lbs.

Heavy-Duty Engines

  • Light Light-Duty Truck: <6,000 lbs.
  • Heavy Light-Duty Truck: 6,001-8,500 lbs.
  • Light Heavy-Duty Engine: 8,501-19,500 lbs.
  • Medium Heavy-Duty Engine: 19,501-33,000 lbs.
  • Heavy Heavy-Duty Engine Urban Bus: >33,000 lbs.

U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau uses the following Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey classes to measure how many private commercial trucks operate within the United States.

  • Light-Duty Vehicle: <10,000 lbs.
  • Medium-Duty Vehicle: 10,000-19,500 lbs.
  • Light Heavy-Duty Vehicle: 19,001-26,000 lbs.
  • Heavy-Dutu Vehicle: >26,000 lbs.

States are not consistent, as some use one of the classifications above and others develop their own classifications for various state laws, regulations, and incentives related to vehicles. Be sure to check your state legislation and program guidance to determine which classifications apply. For example, the California Air Resources Board typically uses "heavy-duty" to describe vehicles with a GVWR greater than 14,000 lbs., which is referenced in the Mobile Source Emissions Reduction Requirements ( 

Looking for a more visual comparison of the various classifications? Check out the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) Vehicle Weight Classes and Categories chart (


Bimbo Bakeries USA and Nestlé Waters North America recently deployed new fleets of propane autogas delivery vehicles that will service multiple cities across the U.S.

"Becoming a better steward of our environment is a priority for Nestlé Waters," said Bill Ardis, national fleet manager for Nestlé Waters North America. "We've been running propane autogas vehicles since 2014. Because of the proven emissions reductions and cost savings, we knew it was the right choice to expand our fleet with this domestically produced alternative fuel."

Nestlé Waters added more than 150 new Ford F-650 delivery vehicles to its existing propane autogas fleet. Bimbo Bakeries USA purchased 84 new, clean-burning Ford F-59 trucks.

"This initiative is the latest in our company's continued effort to reduce our carbon footprint," said Gary Maresca, senior director of fleet services for Bimbo Bakeries.

By operating propane autogas delivery trucks equipped with ROUSH CleanTech’s fuel system technology, both companies will cut carbon dioxide emissions in local communities by about 192,000 pounds per truck (compared to gasoline) per year.

In addition to reducing the emissions of harmful greenhouse gases, Bimbo Bakeries and Nestlé Waters also anticipate fuel and maintenance savings.

The new Ford F-59 and F-650 delivery vehicles will replace older diesel models.

Propane autogas is a nontoxic, non-carcinogenic and non-corrosive fuel. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies the fuel as a non-contaminant. It is the leading alternative fuel in the United States and the third most commonly used vehicle fuel, following gasoline and diesel. About 23 million vehicles travel worldwide with propane in their fuel tank.


Question of the Month: It's tax time! What are some common questions related to the federal tax credits for alternative fuels and infrastructure?


Tax season is upon us, and the recent federal tax incentive extensions and changes impact the alternative fuel and infrastructure tax credits.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 (H.R. 2029, retroactively extended several tax credits, including the Alternative Fuel Excise and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credits. It also included updates to the calculation method for the Alternative Fuel Excise Tax Credit amounts, specifically for propane and liquefied natural gas (LNG). Below we discuss three recent frequently asked questions about these credits.

How have the Alternative Fuel Excise Tax Credit amounts changed for propane and LNG in 2016 and beyond?

The Alternative Fuel Excise Tax Credit ( applies to alternative fuel sold or used to operate a motor vehicle. Previously, the excise tax credit amount for propane and LNG was based on a volumetric basis ($0.50 per gallon). For fuel sold or used starting January 1, 2016, however, the excise tax credit amount for propane and LNG is based on an energy equivalent basis. This means the credit for propane is now measured per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) and LNG is measured per diesel gallon equivalent (DGE). Specifically, the updated Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 8849, Schedule 3 (https://www.irs.gove/pub/irs-prior/f8849s3--2016.pdf) defines 2016 tax credit rates for propane and LNG as follows:

  • Propane: One GGE is equal to 5.75 pounds (lbs.) or 1.353 gallons of propane.
  • LNG: One DGE is equal to 6.06 lbs. or 1.71 gallons of LNG.

What does this mean for propane and natural gas retailers and fleets? In short, the tax credit for the same amount of fuel is now less:

  • The propane tax credit was previously $0.50 per gallon and is not $0.50 per GGE (1.353 gallons of propane), which equates to $0.37 per gallon.
  • The LNG tax credit was previously $0.50 per gallon and is now $0.50 per DGE (1.71 gallons of LNG), which equates to $0.29 per gallon.

The tax credit amount for compressed natural gas (CNG) is still based on the GGE, where one GGE is equal to 121 cubic feet.

Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVAmerica) provides additional information on federal tax incentives for LNG and CNG (, and highlights the impacts of the recent tax credit changes in the article, New Year Rings in Changes for CNG and LNG in 2016 ( The National Propane Gas association explains the excise tax equalization for propane (

So, you said the Alternative Fuel Excise Tax Credit was retroactively extended. Does that mean I can claim it for fuels sold or used in 2015?

Yes! Both the federal Alternative Fuel Excise Tax Credit and Biodiesel Mixture Excise Tax Credit ( were extended to cover 2015, meaning that propane, CNG, LNG, hydrogen, and biodiesel sold or used in 2015 are eligible for the federal tax credit. To file for the tax credit, registered claimants must submit a single one-time 2015 claim with IRS Form 8849 (, as well as the accompanying Schedule 3 ( The deadline to submit a claim for fuels sold or used in 2015 is August 8, 2016. Please note that the tax credit amount for propane and LNG sold or used in 2015 is based on the previous, volumetric rate of $0.50 per gallon.

For additional information on claiming the tax credit for fuels sold or used in 2015, please see IRS Notice 2016-05 (

Are tax-exempt entities eligible for the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit?

While a tax-exempt entity, such as a school or state government fleet, may not be eligible to claim the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit ( directly, the entity selling the fueling infrastructure to the tax-exempt entity can claim the credit and pass the "discount" along to the fleet. According to Title 26 of the United States Code, Section 30C(e)(3) (, the entity selling the fueling equipment to the tax-exempt entity can be treated as the taxpayer and claim the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit, but only if the seller discloses the amount of the credit allowable to the tax-exempt purchaser in writing. In practice, this means the tax-exempt fleet would have the opportunity to use this information to request a discount. However, the infrastructure seller is not required to pass along any savings associated with the tax credit.

For more information on how tax-exempt entities may be eligible for the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit, please see the IRS instructions for Form 8911 (

Please note that the Technical Response Service recommends consulting a qualified tax professional or the IRS before making any tax-related decisions.


When school districts adopt propane autogas buses, everyone -students, parents, and educators- benefits. More than 500 school districts across North America have deployed school buses fueled by clean, cost-effective autogas in recent years.

Now transit agencies are adding this alternative fuel into their existing fleets. To date, almost 700 propane autogas shuttles transport passengers in 12 states, with the highest concentration in Michigan. This map provides an overview of additional deployments aroud the nation.

The Altoona-approved ROUSH CleanTech Ford E-450 cutaway chassis affords transit agencies the ability to take advantage of Federal Transit Administration funding, which covers 85 percent of the entire alternative fuel vehicle cost, with a 15 percent local match.

Florida's Broward County Transit tops the charts with the largest autogas transit fleet in the U.S., followed by Michigan's Flint Mass Transportation Authority. The Flint agency's autogas shuttles have chalked up over 9 million miles in the past few years. The agency reports $2 million in fuel and maintenance cost savings compared with diesel vehicles.

Centralina Council of Governments
9815 David Taylor Drive
Charlotte, NC 28262

Part of the U.S.
DOE Clean Cities
National Network