A320 to make Mexico’s first Jatropha-based bio-fuel flight; Spanish Government, Iberia, and Airbus launch bio-fuel initiative
Toyota and Tsinghua University extend joint research agreement for 5 years

New US National Clean Fleets Partnership; AT&T, FedEx, PepsiCo, UPS and Verizon charter members

On Friday, President Obama announced the National Clean Fleets Partnership, with AT&T, FedEx, PepsiCo, UPS and Verizon as charter members. This public-private partnership is intended to help large companies reduce diesel and gasoline use in their fleets by incorporating electric vehicles, alternative fuels, and fuel-saving measures into their daily operations.

Through the Partnership, the Department of Energy (DOE) will assist companies in their efforts to reduce fuel use and achieve greater efficiency and cost-savings by offering specialized resources, technical expertise, and support. The partnership is part of the DOE Vehicle Technology Program’s “Clean Cities” initiative.

The five charter members represent five of the US’ 10 largest national fleets and collectively own and operate more than 275,000 vehicles. Their planned current and near-term petroleum reduction strategies will account for the deployment of over 20,000 advanced technology vehicles and annual petroleum displacement in excess of 7 million gallons. DOE is challenging other companies to join this important effort.

In 2009, there were more than 3 million commercial fleet vehicles on the road, consuming nearly 4 billion gallons of fuel. Fleets, which are typically centrally managed and comprised of a large number of vehicles, offer significant opportunities to reduce fuel use and carbon pollution. Through the National Clean Fleets Partnership, the Department of Energy will help companies:

  • Reduce fuel use through the use of more efficient vehicles and technologies, including hybrids; and

  • Replace conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles with advanced technology vehicles or ones that use alternative fuels, such as electricity, natural gas, biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen, or propane

Partners will benefit from opportunities for collaboration with DOE and their peers, as well as DOE technical tools and resources.

In light of President Obama’s announcement of The National Clean Fleets Partnership, we applaud the public-private partnership model inherent in this partnership. We would like to reinforce the long-run advantages of electrification in reducing fuel consumption, over alternative forms of fuel as we move toward clean fleets. As battery costs come down as expected over the next few years, electric drive vehicles will become the most cost effective option by the latter half of the decade.

The 2010 Fleet Electrification Roadmap, which PRTM developed with the Electrification Coalition, outlines how Fleet operators can be early adopters of electric drive technology, and serve as a catalyst for the broader consumer market. The combination of high utilization rates, predictable routes, common use of central parking facilities, and total cost of ownership approach to vehicle acquisitions will make EVs and PHEVs attractive to operators of several fleet segments. These factors, combined with implementation of operational innovation and policy levers, could lead to EV and PHEV penetration in 2015 as high as 7% of fleet vehicle sales, or a fleet vehicle parc of more than 200,000. Such volumes would utilize some 20% of the announced capacity for advanced batteries and other components, benefiting the entire EV/PHEV sector in accelerating the volume driven cost reductions, and contributing to the faster adoption of EVs and PHEVs among consumers.

—Oliver Hazimeh, Director, PRTM



Converting local truck to CNG is the easiest and most progressive move we could make. They have the room and carrying capacity for the tanks, they would run cleaner, save fuel dollars and reduce imported oil.

FedEx and others know that they save money, they will talk oil imports and cleaner air, but the bottom line wins the day every time. That is fine, you can do well and do good at the same time.


This is another excellent move by the Obama Administration - which is continuing to implement aggressive plans for electrification of the nations light duty transport fleet.

Fleet conversions are all-important, not just because of the economics noted in the post - but because it puts these vehicles in public view. And seeing the taxi industry rapidly adopt the Prius was a great boon to Prius consumer sales.

The same will happen with these large fleets. The public will take note of the fuel savings and convenience of overnight charging. Confidence in any new technology precedes its mass adoption. Again, it took nearly 8 years for consumers to see the light in the Prius.

Good work on the part of DOE.


DME can be made at the fueling stations from natural gas for big rigs. They use 1/3 of our road fuel going 100,000 miles per year at 4 mpg and there are more than 4 million of them.

Once you have DME, cars could run on it in a diesel hybrid configuration. No high pressure tanks like hydrogen or CNG, DME is liquid at low pressure and provides good range at a reasonable price, with cleaner air and less oil imports.

David Trahan

I think it's great how we can begin moving toward new fuels. Natural gas is a good place to start. However it should be a natural gas derived liquid like methanol. Already proven as a fuel for recip engine and a fuel for fuel cells. The battery technology is not there yet but fuel cell technology is. Methanol can be made from natural gas, coal, biomass etc. Any carbon based fuel can be gasified into syngas and then into methanol.

All methanol is currently produced out of US so we in the short term are merely shifting dependencies but that can change quickly with new modular methanol production systems coming into play.

Why would it be necessary for DOE to support ($$$) the biggest and most profitable companies in this transition?


David, good question. Likely answer is the guys running these outfits hate to spend their own money when they can get their buds in guv'ment to pay.

Check out the cellulosic methanol plant being piloted by Range Fuels:



OFS will put millions of new cars on the road able to run methanol every year. Once you have those a market can develop, but you have to have a critical mass of vehicles.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)