Streetcars aren't living up to their promise in many cities, some say. Usually running on short lines alongside regular urban traffic, they don't provide much of a time benefit compared to walking in many cases. Schedules also leave something to be desired, with relatively low frequency often not meeting minimal service standards. Critics don't necessarily think new streetcars are a bad transportation option, though, they just need to be deployed correctly. Dedicated lanes, higher frequency and wider range could make streetcars a more viable transportation option rather than just a draw for tourism. Read more at CityLab.
China has officially announced a tax exemption for electric vehicles. As of September 1, people who purchase a new EV will not be required to pay the 10-percent purchase tax formerly required. Along with other incentives, China is hoping to attract more people to buy EVs to improve air quality and energy independence, as well as jumpstart the country's electric car manufacturing industry. China has a goal of seeing 500,000 EVs on its roads by the end of next year. Read more at Tax-News.
Additional Grants Awarded for Innovative Alternative Fuel Projects
HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett today announced nearly $4 million in Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants (AFIG) to 33 local governments, non-profit organizations and companies making the switch to compressed natural gas (CNG), propane, or electric, for medium to light-weight fleet vehicles.
"These important grants allow Pennsylvania to make the most of our abundant natural resources, edging us closer to energy independence while also helping to improve our air quality," Corbett said. "This funding makes it possible for many local governments, organizations and companies to convert their lighter-weight vehicles to natural gas or other alternative fuels."
The awarded AFIG grants will help pay for the conversion or purchase of 274 natural gas vehicles, 261 propane vehicles, and 23 plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles. An estimated 24 new fueling stations and 35 existing stations will be supported by these vehicles.
AFIG grants are an annual solicitation, providing financial incentive for a variety of transportation projects with the result of reducing air emissions in Pennsylvania. This year, AFIG grants focused on the conversion or purchase of natural gas vehicles weighing less than 26,000 pounds, as well as the conversion or purchase of electric, propane or other alternative fuel vehicles of any size.
Applications were also accepted for innovation technology projects that include research, training, development and demonstration of new applications or next phase technology related to alternative transportation fuels and alternative fuel vehicles. DEP awarded $1.8 million in AFIG funding to four innovative alternative fuel technology projects.
The AFIG fund was established under Act 166 of 1992, and is administered by the Department of Environmental Protection through its Office of Pollution Prevention and Energy Assistance.
To learn more about the AFIG grant program, visit www.dep.state.pa.us, Keyword: AFIG.
Editor's note: The 33 local governments, organizations and companies that were awarded AFIG vehicle grants today are listed below, alphabetically by county, with a brief project description and funding amount.
Yellow Cab, convert 14 taxis and shuttles to propane - $39,200
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, purchase 21 CNG passenger vans - $249,984
Civil and Environmental Consultants, purchase seven dual fuel CNG vehicles - $38,640
Air Star Transportation, purchase five electric vehicles - $50,000
Valley Energy, with partners Bradco Supply Company and DM Industries, purchase five bi-fuel CNG vehicles - $30,500
Cambria County Transit Authority, purchase six CNG mini-buses - $75,000
New Bethlehem Borough, with partners 3M Transport, Baker Gas and Smerker Contracting, purchase six CNG vehicles, convert two existing vehicles to CNG - $55,620
Clepper Bus Service, purchase seven CNG vehicles - $55,671
Fleet Energy America, convert five vehicles to CNG bi-fuel - $27,999
Tinicum Township Propane Vehicle Conversion Initiative/Greater Philadelphia Clean Cities, with partners Tinicum Township (converting eight police vehicles to propane), Colonial Airport Parking and Park & Jet (purchasing a total of 26 propane shuttle vans) - $238,700
Clean Energy Inc., with partner Warfield Pennsylvania, purchase six bi-fuel CNG pick-up trucks and three CNG shuttle vans - $86,430
Atlantic City Linen Supply, purchase five CNG vehicles - $61,250
Environmental Remediation and Recovery, purchase and convert total of five vehicles to bi-fuel CNG - $28,209
Rhoads Energy, converting 14 and purchasing two vehicles to run on propane - $63,952
United Parcel Service, converting 50 delivery trucks to propane - $250,000
Southeastern PA CNG Vehicle Conversion Initiative/Greater Philadelphia Clean Cities, with partners Sunoco, Wawa, PECO, AAA and Shearon Design, purchasing 31 CNG vehicles - $249,200
Bimbo Bakeries, four grants to convert a total of 81 delivery vehicles to CNG – $789,750
Montgomery County, purchase 10 vehicles (CNG, propane and hybrid electric) - $83,645
Reichard Busing Company, purchase 5 propane school buses - $23,750
VNG Company with partners Safelite Group, purchase 10 NGV vehicles - $81,675
Seven Springs Mountain Resort, purchase five propane passenger buses - $33,580
Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority, with partners Dawood Engineering and Harrisburg City Cab, purchase 11 and lease two CNG vehicles - $103,735
Anthem Propane Exchange, purchase and convert 20 delivery trucks to propane - $220,500
Western Pennsylvania Alternative Fuel School Bus Program/Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities, purchase 50 propane school buses - $250,000
Western Pennsylvania Alternative Fuel Vehicle Program/Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities, purchase 33 propane and CNG vehicles, buses and shuttles - $216,192
O-Ring, with partners Paris Company and Christoff Mitchell Petroleum, convert 39 vehicles to propane bi-fuel, converting one to bi-fuel CNG - $160,145
Skytop Inc./FedEx, two grants to convert a total of 30 delivery vans to CNG – $150,000
PPL, purchase 15 electric vehicles - $116,100
UGI Pennsylvania, purchase 18 CNG vehicles - $95,000
Editor's note: The four companies that were awarded AFIG innovative project grants are listed below, alphabetically by county, with a brief project description and funding amount.
EC Power, to transition its parented ACB Li-ion cell technology from early stage prototyping to pilot production for electric vehicles. The project involves pilot-scale manufacturing and testing of all climate battery cells and cell designs optimization to increase cell energy density for electric vehicles - $796,000
Cleveland Brothers, to support the installation of a CNG vehicle tank defueling vent stack at its Harrisburg facility. The equipment allows for the safe maintenance and repair of CNG fuel systems by allowing them to be quickly depressurized to atmospheric pressure for both scheduled and emergency repairs - $14,750
REV LNG, to construct, own and operate a pilot micro liquefied natural gas (LNG) production plant. The project expects to achieve LNG liquification production of 50,000 gallons per day, and would be the first of its kind in the eastern part of the country - $800,000
Momentum Dynamics, to demonstrate wireless opportunity charging in a variety of routes, including urban and highway. The project will employ an all-electric full size bus that will be operated within the Philadelphia Navy Yard, carry passengers to public transportation stations, and to the Philadelphia International Airport - $270,290