The NGV Task Group (now the NGV Committee) was created by the APGA Board at the January 2011 Board Meeting in Sanibel, FL. Through subsequent conference calls, the mission and functions of the Committee have been detailed, culminating in the creation of this webpage. The Task Group is open to any APGA member who wishes to participate in helping to increase the deployment of NGVs and fueling infrastructure to our members, private businesses, and all levels of government. If you would like to participate, please contact Doug MacGillivray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mission of the Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) Committee is to disseminate NGV and fueling infrastructure information internally to APGA members and to advocate for NGVs and fueling infrastructure externally to businesses and local, state, and federal policymakers in order to significantly increase the near-term deployment of NGVs throughout the United States.
Despite the recent decrease in the price of gasoline to a national average well below $3/gallon, many economists and energy analysts are projecting over the next several years that gasoline prices will rebound as foreign countries’ demand for oil continues to increase. The combination of increasing gas prices and a lack of a viable renewable/electric alternative leaves a critical space for Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) to occupy. Moreover, the benefits of job creation, domestic availability of the fuel source, and emissions reductions offered by NGVs makes them the logical choice for replacing our transportation fleet. To learn the basic facts about NGVs, please visit our strategic partner NGVAmerica at: https://www.ngvamerica.org/vehicles/consumers/
To learn about Clean Cities' goals and accomplishments since the program's inception in 1993, please visit: https://cleancities.energy.gov/accomplishments/
What are the benefits of NGVs?
Today, natural gas is a vital component of the world's supply of energy. Natural gas currently supplies more than one-half of the energy consumed by residential and commercial customers, and about 41 percent of the energy used by U.S. industry. It is one of the cleanest, safest, and most useful of all energy sources.
Ninety-nine percent of the natural gas used in the United States comes from North America. Because natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel, it is playing an increasing role in helping to attain national goals of a cleaner environment, energy security and a more competitive economy.
Moreover, the two million-mile underground natural gas delivery system has an outstanding safety record. In light of recent incidents in San Bruno, CA and elsewhere, APGA and its members have redoubled their efforts to ensure the safety and integrity of their distribution systems. Safety, has been and will continue to be, APGA Members’ first priority to the communities they serve.
On March 29th, the EPA announced a final rule clarifying and streamlining the process for after-market conversion to alternative-fueled vehicles including NGVs. This final rule is critical in expediting the process for converting gasoline vehicles to run exclusively on natural gas or as a bi-fuel vehicle, without violating the Clean Air Act’s prohibitions on tampering.
The EPA website has a substantial amount of information about the new rule, as well as important information for consumers such as approved conversions, conversion companies, etc.
The EPA website is: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/consumer/fuels/altfuels/altfuels.htm
The Department of Energy (DOE) also has very helpful information. The DOE website is: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/vehicles/conversions.html
Click Here to Access the Calculators
The Rate Builder Calculator allows you to build an NGV rate and compares it to the other competing fuels (as noted earlier you can change to pump prices to reflect regional difference) so you can quickly see how competitive the NGV rate is. You can either simply calculate a delivered fuel rate for the station owner or a pump price by adding in the station, taxes and credits to get an “all-in” price. You would typically do this if you are running the station or want to estimate an end use price for a potential customer where as the former would allow you to price the gas delivered to the station.
The Savings and Revenue calculator allows you to enter basic fleet data including mileage, MPG, fuel type and number of vehicles then select a rate to charge and it will calculate the annual alternative and NGV GGE equivalent costs and the annual savings for the fleet. This calculator can be used to test the fuel economics of a particular vehicle and/or fleet.
The Target Discount Calculator that allows you to back into the cost per MCF based on the current pump price of a particular fuel and a proposed discount to that pump price. It compares the resulting price to the current rates that might be in place at a utility to the extent they load those in the rate table and highlights the closest NG rate for each alternative fuel.
All 3 calculator support Gasoline, Diesel, Biofuels B100 and B20 and LPG as alternatives. There are general instructions as well as instructions for each tab ,as well as some navigation aides to make it as use friendly as possible. Also, rates developed using the Rate Builder and Target Discount calculators are immediately available to the Savings calculator. BTUs and Pump prices can be changed on a single tab and are made available to all other tabs to ensure consistency across the various calculations.
Tax Extenders NGV Provisons
Almost every year Congress passes extensions of expiring business, energy, and other tax provisions in one package, which is referred to as tax extenders legislation. In 2014, Congress passed a scaled back version of tax extenders legislation titled the “The Tax Increase Prevention Act” which only included incentives for 2014 with nothing for 2015. Two key credits of interest to APGA members included in the 2014 package were:
- Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit (aka Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Credit) which covers up to 30% of the cost of the project capped at $30,000 and
- Alternative Fuel Credit: which provides a 50 cent/gallon credit for sales of compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) sold for use in motor vehicles.
Both of these credits were retroactive to January 1, 2014, and were in effect through December 31, 2014. APGA will continue to push Congress to reinstate these credits for 2015 and beyond. Click here to read a copy of the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014.
LNG Excise Tax Equalization
On February 3, 2015, Senators Bennet (D-CO) and Burr (R-NC) introduced S. 344, which equalizes the tax treatment of LNG with diesel. APGA Members may recall that, under current law, the federal highway excise tax on both LNG for use in motor vehicles and diesel are taxed on a volumetric basis at 24.3 cents per gallon. LNG is less energy dense than diesel, as it requires 1.7 gallons of LNG to equal the energy content of 1 gallon of diesel. Based on this fact, LNG trucks will consume more fuel than their diesel counterparts and therefore will pay more in federal highway taxes than their diesel counterpart.
An example from our strategic partner NGVAmerica is perhaps instructive:
“A diesel truck traveling 100,000 miles per year at 5 miles per gallon consumes 20,000 gallons of diesel fuel and would pay $4,860 in federal taxes. An identical LNG truck would require 34,000 gallons of LNG to travel the same distance. The LNG truck would pay $8,262 in taxes or an additional $3,402 per year in taxes for using LNG.”
This additional tax burden provides a strong disincentive for consumers to purchase the LNG-powered truck. Taking into account the incremental cost of an LNG truck which can be up to an addition $60,000, the additional fuel tax burden may be sufficient to prevent fleets from using cleaner-burning LNG.
This legislation would seek to remedy that disincentive by taxing LNG on an energy content basis, as CNG is taxed. Effectively, this would level the playing field between LNG and diesel.
On February 11, the Senate Committee on Finance passed S. 344 sending the bill to the floor for full Senate consideration.
Click here to see a copy of S. 344.
Federal and State Incentives
The Federal Government and State governments have demonstrated a long-standing commitment to reducing our dependence on foreign energy sources and pollution emitted by light and heavy-duty vehicles. The health and national security benefits of reducing both are clear, as sending money abroad to potentially hostile regimes harms our security and reducing emission of criteria pollutants and Greenhouse Gases improves public health and helps to protect the environment.
To that end both States and the Federal Government have historically offered and continue to offer various incentives for NGVs and fueling infrastructure because of the critical benefits they confer.
To learn more about State and Federal Incentives for NGVs, please visit our strategic partner, NGVAmerica at: http://www.ngvamerica.org/
Fueling Station Information
APGA Members run NGV fleets and fueling infrastructure around the country. Would you like to know if there is an APGA fueling station near you?
- Cost Associated with Compressed Natural Gas Vehicle Fueling Infrastructure (PDF), Department of Energy report (Sept 2014)
Light Duty NGV
Members-only area. Click here to see the list.
click to jump to a question
1. CNG Police Vehicles
2. Complete Packaged Station
3. NGV Conversions
4. Incremental Cost of Heavy-Duty NGVs
5. NGV School Buses
6. CNG Fuel Sales Taxes
7. CNG Vehicle Maintenance
8. CNG Bucket Trucks
9. CNG Station Construction
10. Landfill Gas to CNG
11. Take or Pay Contracts/CNG Rates
12. CNG Rates paid by Communications Companies
1.Police fleets utilizing CNG natural gas vehicles?
My city management is considering mandating that a portion of their city’s police vehicles use natural gas, but was curious if other cities have done this already (i.e. best practices, etc.) If your city/municipality’s police fleet uses natural gas or you know of one that does?
APGA member Trussville, Alabama recently converted its police fleet to CNG. The city purchased 32 Chevrolet Tahoes last year and spent spring of 2012 converting them. Trussville started using CNG vehicles three years ago and installed a refueling station at the Trussville public utility. They have been working to bring a commercial CNG station to Trussville as well. To read more about Trussville's CNG conversion, please go here.
While not a municipality, in 2011 Kansas City, MO introduced CNG Chevrolet Impalas and Ford Crown Victorias into their police fleet. KCPD received funding for the CNG conversions through U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) award DE-EE0002538, a grant coordinated by the Kansas City Regional Clean Cites Coalition. The Coalition, a member of the DOE’s Clean Cities Initiative and administered by Metropolitan Energy Center, is a partnership between private businesses and local governments to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of fuel and increase our region’s air quality through adoption of clean transportation technologies and policies. Atlanta's police department has recently also considered adding natural gas vehicles.
2. Getting a specifications & budget together for building a complete packaged station and CNG vehicles
My city has money earmarked for both a small fast fill complete packaged station (similar or equivalent to the Ingersol Rand Model 05H25NGSX complete packaged station from P. C. McKenzie Company) station and 5 vehicles but it just doesn’t seem that we can get off the ground with getting detailed budget and station specifications. The last two vendors I contacted could not provide me with quotes. Any help or direction would be greatly appreciated.
Getting a station off the ground is a big project, but totally doable. If you are interested in the Ingersol Rand Model, have you reached out to P.C. McKenzie Company directly? Usually they will have a list of contractors they have worked with in the past or offer some installation assistance.
Also, look around to see what other station providers are out there and request bids. Natural gas engine company CumminsWestport has a comprehensive list of CNG station providers on their website. Pinnacle CNG Systems, a CNG re-fueling site vendor, promises spec-based bids. The Natural Gas Vehicle Institute also offers Fueling Station Consulting. Wise Gas Inc is a full service CNG solution provider out of Florida that offers competitive bids on small fast fill packaged stations. An APGA member also recommends Air & Gas Technologies as another CNG fueling station provider.
Another resource is Clean Cities. Created in 1993 by the Department of Energy, Clean Cities aims to provide informational, technical, and financial resources to adopters of alternative fuels and vehicles.
Your biggest resource is always your fellow APGA member. Coming to conferences and networking to find out how their CNG station installation process turned out, the highs and the lows, and recommendations are key to the industry. If you have more questions or would like to be put in contact with an APGA member, please email Doug MacGillivray at email@example.com.
3. NGV Conversions
How do I find basic information about converting cars to run on CNG along the lines of:
1. How much do conversions cost?
2. What type of cost savings can be realized using converted vehicles?
3. How does the conversion process work?
The first thing to keep in mind is to check on your state's emissions requirements - since they all differ. Also, that there are two types of CNG fuel systems: dedicated CNG and bi-fuel. You'll have to decide based on cost and fueling infrastructure what is best for your utility, and what will conform to EPA and your state agencies' regulations. There are many resources available about converting online and depending on what type of conversion kit you need it can range from a couple thousand dollars to $20,000+. There are also consultants like Phoenix Energy Corporation and WiseGas that have been recommended by APGA members.
In terms of cost savings, CNG Interstate has a conversion cost calculator on their website to help estimate the savings of moving from gas to CNG: http://www.cnginterstate.com/conversion-cost-calculator as does TransEco Energy http://www.transecoenergy.com/pages/calculator.htm
4. Incremental Cost of Heavy-Duty NGVs
Our City is really looking for general information right now concerning the additional cost of a new CNG vs. Diesel garbage truck, and related maintenance costs. We received a quote for a premium of $60k on a new garbage truck and this sounded high to me. So I’d like some advice from those with experience to tell us if this is in the ballpark for one new truck or if the City can expect to pay less.
NGVAmerica says that the basic cost of a Low-cab-forward chassis refuse trucks (available from Mack, Autocar, Peterbilt, Crane-Carrier and Condor) have premiums from 35-40K, sometimes even less than $35K. Conventional chassis trash trucks can run higher depending on the amount of fuel specified, but are still $30-40k more than a diesel truck. However, one problem people run into is specing out way too much fuel based on what they are used to with diesel fuel as opposed to the amount of fuel they actually need in a day. If your diesel truck has a 70 gallon tank, instead of ordering a 70 DGE of fuel capacity check to see how much of that you are actually using in a day. If you are only using 45 gallons of the 70 tank then order a 45 DGE of fuel capacity. The difference between 70 DGE and 45 DGE can be $12-15K.
5. NGV School Buses
I have a meeting with Talbot County Schools and the County Manager on Jan 24 to discuss adding NGV school buses to their fleet. Are there any success stories with school bus fleets or PR material I could make part of my presentation? Also, has anyone what is the process for converting school buses to run on natural gas? Does anyone have any resources for NGV School Bus manufacturers
The city of Tallahassee, FL has converted Leon County Schools' fleet to CNG school buses. APGA's magazine THE SOURCE has an indepth article with Manny Joanos, division director, and Barbara Willis, assistant superintendent, for Tallahassee on the process that I recommend checking out. LCS won an $350K EPA grant to assist in purchasing their first eight buses, but the more challenging aspect was fueling the buses as there were no fueling stations. As Tallahassee is the natural gas supplier, Leon County Schools quickly ending up building the first fast-fill fueling facility in Florida that can refuel eight buses in one hour. They also entered into a partnership to open a public fueling facility at the school district's bus compound to help accommodate the decade long goal of converting into a 200-bus fleet. With 36 more CNG buses purchased, Leon County Schools estimates the fuel savings at $7.5K per bus, or $333K annually, and taxpayers are very happy. Matthews Buses helped Leon County Schools with converting their bus fleet and engine service training.
Also, the DOE's Clean Cities program has a Natural Gas Transit and School Bus Users Group. Their purpose is to provide information and technical assistance to agencies and school bus fleets using or considering natural gas. The link to their webpage is below: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/cleancities/natural_gas_users.html
If you are looking for more manufactures, Blue Bird and Thomas Bus both produce CNG school buses. DOE also has a helpful search tool to look for vehicles by type (school bus, refuse, etc) and by fuel option (CNG, electric, hybrid, etc) that you might want to check out.
6. CNG Fuel Sales Taxes
Do I collect the CNG fuel sales tax? If it’s a private station behind the meter, how are they separating natural gas for vehicle fuel from other gas used? Is it separately metered? Are they letting the customer deal with it?
First off, there probably should not be a need for separate meters since the pump itself is a meter. For instance, at Clearwater Gas System, their CNG station is opened to the general public, so they use standard CNG dispensers for billing each customer. Our CNG dispensers meter the gas, just like a gasoline station. In addition, they have a master meter that measures the gas volume prior to entering the compressor/facility. Therefore, they can compare the sum of the dispenser reports to how much gas flowed through the master meter. It is also important to note that each state may have taxes or fees on alternative fuel vehicles and it is important to check that.
7. CNG Vehicle Maintenance
How do I handle the CNG vehicle maintenance and cylinder inspections? Outsource it? Should I get my employees trained and certified, and if so by whom?
For right now, most of APGA members have their vehicles' manufacturers handle maintenance (check your warranties!) and outsource cylinder inspections, but many are looking for information on how to train their employees to do this in-house. Phoenix Energy Corporation is one company who performs inspections for cylinders and fueling stations. City of Tallahassee was involved in Leon County School's transition to a CNG school bus fleet, and their CNG bus supplier Matthews Buses is now leading basic training sessions for CNG engines. Checking with your CNG vehicle manufacturer to find out if there are any training programs for your vehicles would be a good start.
8. CNG Bucket Trucks
I have a couple CNG Bucket Trucks that have been used heavily for branch and tree removal and now need to be replaced. How do I go about purchasing or replacing these vehicles?
APGA member Nebraska City, NE recently purchased a dual CNG/gasoline fuel, 1500 Chevrolet four-wheel drive is Nebraska City Utilities' first natural gas vehicle. APGA member Clearwater Gas has ordered two knuckle boom loader CNG trucks on the Freightliner chassis and use it in a similar operation to a bucket truck. While not an APGA municipality, here's a story about the City of Glendale, CA also purchasing a Freightliner M2 112 Natural Gas (link to vehicle) aerial bucket truck with a man lift (link to story).
9. CNG Station Construction:
Do APGA members have experience with station construction?
APGA Members Hamilton, OH, Clearwater, FL , Omaha, NE, and many others have constructed public and private stations and have gained valuable experience in so doing. I
10. Landfill Gas to CNG:
Do APGA members have experience with landfill gas to CNG projects.
APGA Member Atmos Energy has experience with this project as does D2 Energy. Also, your local Clean Cities Coordinator (can be found at: www.cleancities.energy.gov) will also have information.
11. Take or Pay Contracts/CNG Rates
We are trying to negotiate a take or pay contract with a couple companies. How is this done? Also, We are trying to develop a CNG rate.
APGA member Pensacola Energy has created contracts with volume minimums for certain negotiated rates. Customers falling outside of the minimum volume would move to another rate or a standard commercial or industrial rate would tend to be higher.
As for developing a CNG Rate, APGA members have developed taken a few paths. Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) developed their rates in the early 1990s to promote adoption of natural gas a vehicle fuel. You can read about their tariffs here. NGV rate is indexed to the price of gasoline (page 139) and the delivery charge is 20% of the standard delivery charge for normal residential firm service (page 135). They also recently added a tariff rate for the sale of LNG (page 142) that is indexed to Weighted Average Cost of Gas (WACOG) and includes & added for liquefaction service. PGW only sells uncompressed gas to private station owners at the current time and do not have any residential customers yet. Because they do not sell directly to a consumer, PGW is not responsible for collecting taxes such as the highway fuel tax.
Pensacola Energy worked with a consultant to strike a balance between special pricing and maintaining a margin to compensate the City's risk to begin billing CNG at a public station in August 2012 at a CNG Station Rate 2.05/DGE for commercial fleets. They will also open a private station in October 2012 for their City's fleet. The 2.05/DGE rate was based on the index cost of gas, transportation charges, hard dollar costs (electric, maintenance, and possible capital costs), and profit margin. For sales at the meter (when companies have their own equipment) they sell uncompressed gas, and at their station they sell compressed gas. While everyone in Florida will have a decal, they will have a separate rate with excise tax that can be used at the pump for non-decal users (people passing through). Pensacola Energy does not have home refueling opportunities yet, but they speculate that they would have to set a separate meter at the home for the refueling station since it would be easier for the fuel to just pass through their existing meter.
Clearwater Gas System owns and operates their own CNG station, which is the only CNG station in the county. They have three rates: Private (city fleets, tax exempt entities) at 1.73/GGE, public (with state decal permit) at 2.05/GGE, and public (out of state no-decal) at 2.23/GGE. Based on a fixed 1 year gas strip purchase, the rate was made up by federal excise tax, state sales tax, capiital recovery, O&M recovery, non-fuel/margin, and fuel/commodity. Clearwater Gas System as the station owner has a markup of .35/GGE, and used their existing fuel/non-fuel rate structure when determining pricing. Also, their O&M/capital recovery charges are based on a 5 year station payback. Clearwater's Brian Langille has a home fueling unit and the cost is .05/gge less than refilling at the public NGV station. Clearwater has tracked Brian's residential home-fill application for three years however, any other customer with a home fill unit might not have it separately metered as it would be billed on their normal billing rate as another appliance. Please contact Doug MacGillivray at firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with any of these systems to learn more.
12. CNG Rates paid by Communications Companies
Do any APGA members have communications companies (like AT&T) as a CNG customer? If so, how did they create a GGE rate?
In 2009 & 2010, Verizon and AT&T started pushing forward to expand their alternative-fuel vehicle fleets. Clearwater Gas System has a gas contract with Verizon. They purchased a fixed-price gas strip on NYMEX futures to lock in the gas rate for one year when negotiating the contract last year.
Alternative Fuels & Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC): http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/
The Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC) provides information, data, and tools to help fleets and other transportation decision makers find ways to reduce petroleum consumption through the use of alternative and renewable fuels, advanced vehicles, and other fuel-saving measures.
Vehicle Cost Calculator: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/calc/ This calculator utilizes information about your driving habits to calculate total cost of ownership and emissions for many vehicles, including NGVs.
Clean Cities: http://www.cleancities.energy.gov/
Clean Cities is the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) flagship alternative-transportation deployment initiative, sponsored by the Vehicle Technologies Program. Clean Cities has saved nearly 3 billion gallons of petroleum since its inception in 1993.
Clean Cities helps vehicle fleets and consumers reduce their petroleum use. Clean Cities builds partnerships
- Alternative and renewable fuels
- Idle-reduction measures
- Fuel economy improvements
- New transportation technologies, as they emerge
Clean Cities' goals and accomplishments are listed at http://www1.eere.energy.gov/cleancities/accomplishments.html
The Official U.S. Government Source of information on Fuel Economy.
U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)'s Alternatives to Traditional Transportation Fuels: http://www.eia.gov/renewable/alternative_transport_vehicles/index.cfm
The EIA collects data on alternative-fueled vehicles in the U.S.
CNG Station Finder Mobile Application Now Available for iPhone and Android: http://www.cngnow.com/Blog/Post.aspx?ID=21
Federal Fleet Management: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/femp/program/fedfleet_management.html
FEMP provides guidance and assistance to help implement Federal legislative and regulatory requirements mandating reduced petroleum consumption and increased alternative fuel use. FEMP's efforts include assisting agencies with implementing and managing energy-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles and facilitating a coordinated effort to reduce petroleum consumption and increase alternative fuel use annually.
DOE National Laboratories: http://energy.gov/offices. This site provides contact information for the DOE National Laboratories and Administrative offices.
Other Federal Government Agencies: Several other government agencies implement programs and regulations (as well as incentives) related to alternative fuels and advanced vehicles. http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/laws/fed_summary/Agency.
The National Association of State Energy Officials contains a list of state and territory energy office websites and contacts (http://www.naseo.org/members/states/).
NAFA Fleet Management Association: (http://www.nafa.org/)
NAFA is the world's premier not-for-profit association for professionals who manage fleets of sedans, public safety vehicles, trucks, and buses of all types and sizes, and a wide range of military and off-road equipment for organizations across the globe. NAFA provides its members a full range of products and services, including statistical research, publications, regional chapter meetings, government representation, seminars, online information, and an annual Institute & Expo.
ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability: (http://www.iclei.org/)
ICLEI is an association of over 1220 local government Members who are committed to sustainable development. Our Members come from 70 different countries and represent more than 569,885,000 people.
ICLEI provides technical consulting, training, and information services to build capacity, share knowledge, and support local government in the implementation of sustainable development at the local level. Our basic premise is that locally designed initiatives can provide an effective and cost-efficient way to achieve local, national, and global sustainability objectives.