With a demand of almost 20 million barrels/day, the United States is one of the world’s largest importers of oil, relying on imports to fill more than half the demand.
According to the Sustainable Cities Institute, domestically produced alternative fuels reduce this reliance, which then increases the security and reliability of local fuel supplies.
“Alternative fuels often have environmental benefits and if locally produced, can create jobs for the community,” reported SCI.
Alternative fuels can include the use of biofuels such as ethanol or biodiesel, natural gas, propane, electricity or hydrogen.
Mount Pleasant has converted several garbage trucks to liquid propane. “It’s been successful so far,” said City Administrator Eric DeMoura. “I’m looking hard at compressed natural gas and electric for the future.”
Rock Hill began using compressed natural gas in 1995 and has had electric vehicles in its fleet since 1993. “All of our diesel vehicles run on B20, and we have our own E85 pump for the 70 plus ethanol vehicle in our fleet,” explained Marty Burr, Rock Hill’s performance manager.
The Sustainable Communities Institute encourages cities to establish policies that maximize the use of alternative fuels, alternative fueled vehicles and infrastructure when cost effective. Measures should include the following:
- Purchasing flexible fuel vehicles that permit the use of ethanol (E85) or biodiesel (B5 – B20) whenever such models are available.
- Purchasing ethanol, biodiesel and other appropriate alternative fuels whenever the price is comparable to conventional fuels.
- Incorporating alternative fueling infrastructure such as tanks and other equipment at fleet fueling stations.
- Purchasing locally produced alternative fuels.
- Establishing a petroleum reduction target with a