Private and public fleets are expanding their use of natural gas vehicles to reduce emissions, according to a new research report by Emisstar.
The report points to financial incentive programs adopted by municipal planning or air quality agencies. The study was commissioned by NGV America, a national organization dedicated to the development of a growing, sustainable and profitable market for vehicles powered by natural gas or hydrogen.

"Our aim with this study was to analyze existing incentive-based emissions reduction approaches nationwide, and to recommend how a regional NGV financial incentive program could be developed and implemented in the New York area," said Glenn Goldstein, Emisstar principal.

For example, Smithtown and Brookhaven, local municipalities in New York, have implemented a 100-percent natural gas fuel standard for their contracted refuse hauling fleets, in cooperation with project partners Clean Energy Fuels Corp. and National Grid. According to the report, there is a large demand for alternative fueled vehicles in New York.

"Municipalities and agencies throughout the New York region are working hard to comply with evolving emissions reduction mandates, and are actively seeking ways to cost-effectively replace their aging diesel vehicle fleets with alternative-fueled models," said Rich Kolodziej, NGV America president.

The report gives several recommendations for natural gas incentive programs for Class 6 through Class 8 vehicles. The suggestions were compiled from interviews with stakeholders in the public and private sector, as well as from analysis of existing incentive programs.

The eligibility requirements outlined in the report include:

* Eligible trucks must have been owned and operated in the target region for the past two years

* Trucks will be Class 6 and higher

* Newer, replacement truck be operated in target region for seven years

* At least 75 percent of mileage driven must be within designated nonattainment area

* Annual mileage cannot exceed 130 percent of historical mileage from previous two years

* GPS should be installed and remain operational for seven years

* Old truck must be scrapped or permanently removed from state and nonattainment regions

* If usage commitments are not met for the new truck, applicant may be required to pay back a prorated amount of the grant

"The study results demonstrate the feasibility of implementing a voluntary natural gas vehicle incentive program that is attractive to business and public interest alike," Goldstein said.