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

Clean Cities

National Parks Move Transportation Forward in America's Great Outdoors

April 3, 2013

America's National Parks have always attracted pioneers in transportation. In the early 1900s, the new transcontinental railroad encouraged people to “See America First,” particularly the National Parks. Today, the National Park Service is leading by example. Working in partnership with the Energy Department’s Clean Cities National Parks Initiative, National Parks across the country are using alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies to reduce air pollution and lower fuel costs.

Building on the success of its existing National Park Service projects, Clean Cities is now partnering with five additional parks to implement specific projects that improve the parks’ environment and increase the sustainability of their operations. Most of the projects focus on shifting many of the parks' vehicles to run on alternative fuels, such as propane, biodiesel and electricity—a transition that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and minimize fuel costs.

The projects will also educate park visitors on improving the sustainability of their own driving habits to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during park visits and when they return home. For example, parks such as Yellowstone and Grand Teton are educating visitors on the benefits of reducing the amount of time they idle their cars or visiting sites in the parks by biking, walking, or using park shuttles. If just 25% of visitors at the 13 parks in the Clean Cities National Parks Initiative reduce their idling by five minutes, it would save 192,000 gallons of gasoline and more than 2,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.