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Online resources for alternative fuels

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Using electronic media is an excellent way to focus on alternative fuels and opportunities to support sustainability initiatives.

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“Our goal is to create a web experience that puts current and prospective customers in the driver’s seat of the total alternative fuel vehicle experience,” said Jadine Starmer, web product manager at GE Capital Fleet Services. “We continually strive to identify ways to help our customers look to greener solutions by use of the latest technologies and interactive tools.”

The company’s new eco-focused website (www.gefleet.com) provides access to its knowledge regarding alternative fuels and related sustainable products. The site’s tools include an interactive Learning Center featuring an alternative fuel locator app and guides; resources and news for drivers, fleet managers and businesses; educational videos demonstrating the benefits of alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure solutions, and access to GE’s Intelligauge tool, an online app that calculates current and projected fuel costs and CO2 emissions.

GE Capital Fleet Services isn’t alone in its use of online tools to help customers achieve their environmental goals. Vehicle fleet management services company Automotive Resources International, for example, has consolidated information on its broad range of environmental-related services under its EnviroFleet banner. At http://sustainability.arifleet.com, the company offers case studies, information such as a Fuel Reduction Strategies White Paper, and details on ARI’s Eco-Partners.

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PHH Arval, the financial and management services company for commercial vehicle fleets, offers its comprehensive PHH GreenFleet program for fleets looking to meet their company’s environmental goals and cut operating costs. On its website at www.phharval.com, for example, are papers such as “Greenhouse Gas Management for Medium-Duty Truck Fleets” and “Redefining Green: Best practices for reducing emissions and costs.”

NAFA, the fleet management association, provides an online gateway for all types of alternative fuel information at its website, www.nafa.org. Included is NAFA’s Fuel Management Guide, which covers regional environmental policies and regulations and remains up-to-date on alternative fuels and emerging technology. NAFA also has partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to develop a Greenhouse Gas Calculator. Available on the association’s website, the tool is designed to help fleets measure greenhouse gas emissions using fuel consumption data.

The NAFA site also links to websites detailing U.S. Department of Energy initiatives that encourage or require the use of alternative fuels and vehicles, as well as other petroleum-reduction measures for U.S. fleets. Those program websites can serve as very helpful online resources.

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Clean Cities, the government-industry partnership designed to support local decisions to adopt practices that contribute to the reduction of petroleum consumption, provides a variety of tools at www.cleancities.energy.gov.

Clean Cities also sponsors the Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (www.afdc.energy.gov), which contains information about alternative fuels and vehicles, hybrids, idle reduction and other topics. The site has a number of interactive tools, including the Alternative Fueling Station Locator, vehicle cost calculators, and a searchable database of transportation-related incentives and laws. Also sponsored in part by Clean Cities is its website, www.FuelEconomy.gov, which allows fleets to find and compare vehicle fuel economy and emissions performance ratings.

Other online information sources available for fleets can be found at www.eere.energy.gov. Included are details on federal fleet statutory requirements, executive orders and other policies related to alternative fuel use and petroleum-reduction, as well as information for state and alternative fuel provider fleets, which are required to acquire a percentage of alternative fuel vehicles each year or reduce petroleum consumption.

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For many medium- and light-duty fleets, “going green” is an environmentally-conscious approach to doing business. In highly competitive markets, sustainability also is a critical success factor. Fleet managers faced with meeting sustainability goals within tight budgetary constraints can uncover opportunities to reduce emissions, boost efficiency and lower costs using many of these evolving online resources.

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