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Clean Cities Vermont eNewsletter 11.10.2006

Your clearinghouse for news, programs, and funding related to reducing the
consumption of petroleum for transportation in Vermont. 

 

Clean Cities is a national program, coordinated by local coalitions in
states and large cities, committed to advancing "the economic, environmental
and energy security of the U.S." through cutting back on "petroleum
consumption in the transportation sector". [More at the
<http://www.eere.energy.gov/cleancities/> Clean Cities website].

 

Weekly Petro-Stats


 

Gas at the pump, VT

[compiled from  <http://www.gasbuddy.com/> gasbuddy.com]

Crude oil futures 

[compiled from  <http://www.nymex.com/> nymex.com] 


Last week 

(Oct 25-31)

$2.206/gallon

$59.688/barrel


This week 

(Nov 1-7)

$2.181/gallon

$59.030/barrel

 


NEWS & INFO BY SECTOR

*         Fuels

*         DOE funding for alternative fuel projects announced

*         Vegetable oil

*         Biodiesel

*         Vermont's vehicle regs and diesel

*         Alternate modes of transportation

*         Pedestrian progress

*         On the horizon

*         Policy watch

 

 

*       Fuels: DOE funding for alternative fuel projects announced

On October 25, 2006 the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $8.6
million for 16 projects to increase the availability and use of alternative
transportation fuels. The grants are part of the Clean Cities program and
over $25 million will be put directly into the U.S. alternative fuel
infrastructure. Projects focus on new dispensing facilities and new
equipment or enhancements to existing refueling sites for alternative fuel
vehicles (AFV). Alternative fuel blending and refueling infrastructure is
planned for over 180 locations in 25 states and the D.C. area. Of the
awarded infrastructure improvements included the installation of biodiesel
blending resources at existing gasoline facilities.  

 

Unfortunately, none of the 16 planned projects were awarded to Vermont.
Nevertheless, plans like the propane-powered vehicles project that is
projected to reduce diesel fuel consumption by over 100,000 gallons per year
will certainly have an effect on the Green Mountain State. Moreover,
alternative fuel projects under these grants will be popping up as close as
Chelsea, Massachusetts and Albany, New York. [Source:
<http://www.energy.gov/news/4404.htm> U.S. Department of Energy]

 

*       Fuels: Vegetable oil

High School Students are trying to set a healthy example at Mount Mansfield
Union High School. Eight students apart of the environmental committee at
their school received a donated car 6 months ago from a local resident.
Since then the students have been working to convert the Mercedes diesel
engine to run on vegetable oil. The students are hoping to highlight our
country's overdependence on petroleum and prove that their buses could
easily run on some sort of alternative fuel, possibly biodiesel. Using
recycled vegetable oil from a local bakery the students had the car up and
running after only two tries. [Source:
<http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?S=5600985> WCAX]

 

*       Fuels: Biodiesel

The Vermont Biodiesel project has released a comprehensive report detailing
their first phase efforts to build biodiesel demand in the state. Biodiesel
consumption will hit one million gallons in Vermont by year's end. You can
access the report at  <http://www.vtbiodieselproject.org/>
vtbiodieselproject.org.

 

*       Fuels: Vermont's vehicle regs and diesel

In the last edition of the Clean Cities Vermont newsletter, we suggested
that the new ultra-low sulfur diesel could potentially affect the ability of
manufacturers to comply with the provisions of  Vermont's Low Emission
Vehicle (LEV) Program. This potentially muddied what are already confusing
waters. There are common misconceptions about what Vermont's regulations are
regarding diesel, which, if clarified, may assist interested Vermonters in
framing the discussion on ways to reduce our petroleum consumption and
global warming emissions.

 

Vermont's LEV regulations, which under the Clean Air Act Amendments must
match California LEV regulations, do not in fact ban the sale of diesel or
diesel vehicles per se, or any specific fuel for that matter. Instead the
LEV Program requires vehicle manufacturers to certify that their vehicles
meet low emission standards as defined by the regulation , while meeting a
declining annual fleet average emissions standard for non-methane organic
gases, and, starting in 2009, for greenhouse gases as well.  There is a
provision, however, for manufacturers to market otherwise non-compliant
vehicles by negotiation with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to
offset the emissions from the dirtier vehicles through appropriate sales of
certified, clean vehicles. In other words, the LEV Program requirement is
certification by a manufacturer - nothing is banned. Manufacturers make
business decisions about what level of emissions treatment technology to
supply to particular models, and where to certify and market them.

 

Current light-duty diesel-powered passenger cars have not been certified by
manufacturers to LEV standards or otherwise permitted through a
manufacturer-initiated offset agreement, and therefore cannot be sold in
Vermont, or in any of the 11 other states who have also exercised their
Clean Air Act option to adopt California LEV standards.

 

The new ULS diesel fuel may or may not by itself permit a manufacturer to
certify to a LEV program standard , but will enable the use of more
sophisticated after-treatment technologies which are sensitive to the sulfur
content of fuel.  Volkswagen is an example of a manufacturer who has decided
to withdraw light-duty passenger diesels from the entire U.S. market for the
2007 Model Year, in order to revise their primary engine fuel control from
mechanical to a more sophisticated electronic injection system, a technology
unrelated to ULSD.  For the 2008 Model Year, VW, Mercedes and Honda are
expected to certify 50-state or LEV compliant light-duty diesels, with the
distinct possibility that several other manufacturers will do the same.
ULSD fuel will not only encourage the necessary after-treatment of diesel
exhaust, but also permit manufacturers to anticipate a reasonable full
useful life of the treatment devices in a market driven by consumer
expectations of dependability, enhanced by the consumer-friendly warranty
provisions of the LEV Program. 

 

Still have questions?
<http://www.anr.state.vt.us/air/MobileSources/docs/lev.pdf> More info on
Vermont's vehicle emissions regulations, and how they are implemented
through the state's Low Emission Vehicle program.

 

Our thanks to George Little for contributing to this item. You can
<mailto:[log in to unmask]> email George Little about his work on the
Vermont Low Emission Vehicle Program.

 

*       Alternate modes: Pedestrian progress

That most fuel-efficient means of transportation - walking - has been
getting more love lately, even in this rural state with two mud seasons.
VTrans indicates that at least 14 towns made improvements to both
pedestrian-friendly facilities this year. [Source:
<http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061008/NEWS/61008
0356/1017/FEATURES08> Rutland Herald.
<http://www.aot.state.vt.us/progdev/Sections/LTF/LocalTransportationProjectL
isting/LTFWebPageProjectStatus07_5_06.pdf> VTrans list of municipal
projects]

 

Pedestrian highlights from around the state:

*   The town of Bennington has been awarded a matching grant of $53,253 for
improvements to sidewalks in its downtown. The town has prioritized
pedestrian safety and high traffic volume. [Source:
<http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061027/NEWS/61027
0390/1003/NEWS02> Rutland Herald] 

*   A health-conscious group walk series began a couple of weekends ago in
East Montpelier, highlighting fun trails around town. [Source:
<http://www.timesargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061027/NEWS/61027036
5/1026/NEWS03> Times Argus]

*   Hinesburg residents have prioritized pedestrian friendlier improvements
for their town in addressing issues around traffic, transportation, parking,
and pedestrian access. Proposed proactive changes included better sidewalks,
reducing the speed limit, more sidewalks, public transportation options for
commuting, access to businesses, and a town square. Implementation is still
a question mark, however. [Source:
<https://mail.snellingcenter.org/webmail/%5bSource:%20Times%20Argus%5d>
Burlington Free Press] 

 

*       Policy Watch

The 2006 mid-term election will impact funding and programs for Clean
Cities-type activities in at least two ways. Democratic control of the House
and Senate means Democratic chairs of House and Senate committees which
direct funding and policy. For example, Barbara Boxer (D-CA) may take over
the Senate Environment and Public Works, the committee from which Jim
Jeffords was able to coordinate many positive environmental initiatives.
Secondly, Vermont's delegation continues to be strongly supportive of
sustainable and environmentally sound energy policy. New US Senator Bernie
Sanders has supported funding for alternative fuel vehicles in Vermont
including the hydrogen-fueling station and electric vehicles. Patrick Leahy
has been a long-time supporter of organizations such as EVermont. And Peter
Welch made climate change, reducing tax breaks for oil companies and
directing funding to alternative sources of energy one of the key issues in
his campaign. Stay tuned.

 

USEFUL CALENDARS

 <http://vtpeakoil.net/calendar.html> 10% Challenge

 <http://vtpeakoil.net/calendar.html> Vermont Peak Oil Network

 

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Best regards,

Elaine Wang

Snelling Center Intern

 

Vermont Clean Cities Coalition