U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

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Energy Department Launches Vehicle Cost Calculator

October 26, 2011

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) today launched a new Vehicle Cost Calculator and accompanying widget. These online tools are now available on DOE's Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC), currently celebrating its 20th anniversary. The AFDC helps consumers, fleet managers, and local governments find and compare energy-saving vehicles that can reduce their petroleum consumption. By providing a variety of tools, databases, and informational resources on vehicles powered by alternatives to gasoline and diesel, the AFDC helps users buy the efficient vehicles that are right for them.

The latest addition to the Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC) is the Vehicle Cost Calculator, an easy-to-use tool that allows users to compare emissions and lifetime operating costs of specific vehicle models, including conventional cars and trucks, as well as vehicles running on alternative fuels such as electricity, ethanol, natural gas, or biodiesel. With the new calculator, which was developed by DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), car shoppers, small business owners, and fleet managers can make side-by-side comparisons between thousands of conventional, electric drive, and alternative fuel vehicles from model year 1996 and newer.

The calculator also lets users enter information such as driving habits, local ZIP code, price of fuel, and potential tax credits to personalize their results. The tool then presents a comparison of the selected models, displaying the total lifetime ownership costs of the vehicles and the breakdown of the lifetime operating costs between fuel and maintenance costs. It also calculates the operational cost per mile and greenhouse gas emissions over time for the vehicles. By helping potential buyers evaluate the long-term costs and benefits of various fuels and vehicle options now on the market, they can choose the vehicles and technologies that best suit their needs.

The calculator's widget version gives other organizations outside DOE an easy way to add a simplified alternative fuel and emissions calculator to their own website, and it links to the full calculator for users interested in a more detailed analysis.

In addition to the cost calculator, the AFDC features more than 20 other online tools. The Alternative Fueling Station Locator and its mobile version allow users to search for fuel stations and charge points in a specific region or along a set route. Light and heavy-duty vehicle searches provide information about currently available alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles, from sedans to school buses. The laws and incentives search provides information on state and federal laws, including tax credits, and allows users to sort by technology, location, type of user, or type of policy.

EERE invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil. Visit EERE's Clean Cities website for more information about the initiative's deployment work that is reducing petroleum consumption in the transportation sector.

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Content Last Updated: 01/25/2010