Frequently Asked Questions for State and Alternative Fuel Provider Fleets

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Alternative Fuel Transportation Program (the Program), also known as the State and Alternative Fuel Provider Fleet Program, implements provisions of Titles III–V of the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992, as amended. These provisions are designed to reduce U.S. dependence on imported petroleum by accelerating the introduction of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) in state government and alternative fuel provider fleets.

Following are answers to questions frequently asked about the Program by managers of these fleets.

About EPAct

Electric Drive Vehicles and Investment-Related Credits

EPAct Applicability

Standard Compliance

Annual Reports

Earning and Applying Credits

Excluded Vehicles

Requesting Exemptions

Alternative Compliance

Administrative Issues and Contacts

 


 

About EPAct

Q. What is EPAct?
A. Congress passed EPAct in 1992. Several Titles of EPAct, especially Titles III–V, aim to reduce U.S. dependence on imported petroleum. These provisions require certain fleets to purchase AFVs or reduce petroleum fuel consumption. DOE administers the statutory provisions through its State and Alternative Fuel Provider Fleet and Federal Fleet Programs. EPAct also includes provisions that establish voluntary programs, such as DOE's Clean Cities Program, that accelerate the use of alternative fuels in transportation. For more information, visit the EPAct Transportation Regulatory Activities, Federal Fleet, and Clean Cities websites, or contact the Regulatory Information Line.

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Q. Where can I find resources to help me understand EPAct requirements?
A. The best place to begin is the EPAct Transportation Regulatory Activities website, which includes these helpful resources:

The Regulatory Information Line is also available for Program-related inquiries.

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Q. Which fuels are "alternative fuels" under EPAct?
A. See the list of alternative fuels.

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Q. How do I know if a vehicle is considered an alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) under the EPAct State and Alternative Fuel Provider Fleet Program?
A. Under the Program, an AFV is any dedicated or dual fueled vehicle. A dedicated vehicle operates solely on an alternative fuel(s). A dual fueled (sometimes called a bi-fueled or flexible fuel) vehicle is a vehicle capable of operating on an alternative fuel(s) and on a conventional fuel (gasoline or diesel). For example, a bi-fueled natural gas vehicle stores compressed natural gas in one fuel tank and gasoline in another, and the driver can choose the fuel used by the vehicle at any given time. Most of the dual fueled vehicles on the road today are flexible fuel vehicles, which store E85 and gasoline in a single fuel tank and can operate on either fuel or any mixture of the two.

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Q. What are the penalties for noncompliance with EPAct?
A. 10 C.F.R. section 490.604 of the Program regulations identifies the applicable penalties:

  • A civil fine of up to $9,000 per violation
  • A criminal fine of up to $10,000 per violation for willful violations
  • A criminal fine of up to $50,000 per violation for certain repeated violations.

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Electric Drive Vehicles and Investment-Related Credits

Q. How can I tell if a particular light-duty hybrid vehicle is an AFV or otherwise eligible for credit under EPAct?
A. Any light-duty vehicle is an AFV if it is a dedicated vehicle or is a dual fueled vehicle by virtue of meeting NHTSA's minimum driving range criteria for dual fueled automobiles. The light-duty hybrid vehicles on the market as of the end of calendar year 2013 come in various engine configurations. Some are conventional hybrid vehicles that have gasoline engines and no capacity to operate on other alternative fuels nor to enable fueling from off-board sources (e.g., Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, and Ford Escape Hybrid). These vehicles do not qualify as AFVs because they are neither dedicated vehicles nor capable of operating on a liquid (e.g., E85) or gaseous (e.g., compressed natural gas) alternative fuel. Although these hybrid vehicles can operate at low speeds for short distances on the energy captured through regenerative braking, that electricity does not come from an off-board source. Consequently, the acquisition of such a hybrid vehicle by a covered fleet is not treated as an AFV acquisition. Starting in model year 2014, though, light-duty hybrid vehicles that are not AFVs are eligible for ½ of an AFV credit.

Other light-duty hybrid vehicles include plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and these may be AFVs. Those that qualify as dedicated or dual fueled vehicles are AFVs, and a fleet's acquisition of such a PHEV is treated as an AFV acquisition. As of model year 2014, PHEVs that are not AFVs—because they cannot complete the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urban and highway test cycles on electricity alone and also lack an engine capable of operating on a liquid or gaseous alternative fuel—receive ½ of an AFV credit. To find out if a particular 2014 or later PHEV is a dual fueled vehicle and thus also an AFV, DOE encourages covered fleets to review the EPA/U.S. Department of Transportation fuel economy and environment label (also known as the fuel economy window sticker or the Monroney label) that is posted on all new light-duty vehicles. If the label on the particular vehicle says, "This is a dual fueled automobile," the PHEV meets the NHTSA minimum driving range criteria for dual fueled electric automobiles, is a dual fueled vehicle, and thus is an AFV under the Program. If the PHEV is not a dual fueled automobile, it is a conventional hybrid vehicle and eligible for ½ AFV credit.

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Q. What about medium- and heavy-duty hybrid vehicles?
A. As of model year 2014, medium- and heavy-duty hybrid vehicles that are not AFVs receive ½ of an AFV credit. Medium- and heavy-duty fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) that are not AFVs (i.e., non-alterantive fueled FCEVs) receive ½ of an AFV credit. In the same way that medium- and heavy-duty AFVs are treated under the Program, credit is not allocated unless the fleet has already met its light-duty AFV-acquisition requirements for the given model year.

Presently, there is no test to determine whether a medium- or heavy-duty plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is a dual fueled vehicle, and hence an AFV. Until such time as a test procedure or relevant criteria are established for such vehicles, medium- and heavy-duty PHEVs are considered AFVs. As with other medium- and heavy-duty AFVs (e.g., medium- and heavy-duty battery electric vehicles, medium- and heavy-duty flexible fuel vehicles), DOE will allocate 1 AFV credit (i.e., 1 per vehicle) for the acquisition of such a vehicle.

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Q. What do I need to do to get AFV credit for my fleet's acquisition of hybrid vehicles that are not AFVs?
A. To obtain AFV credit for any of these non-AFV vehicle acquisitions, include the following vehicle-specific information in the credit activity portion of your fleet's annual report: vehicle make and model; model year of manufacture; vehicle identification number; and acquisition date.

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Q. Can I amend my fleet's model year 2012 or 2013 annual report to get AFV credit for the non-AFV hybrid vehicles that we acquired in that model year?
A. No. A non-AFV hybrid vehicle that was acquired prior to model year 2014 does not receive any AFV credit.

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Q. How are neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) treated under EPAct?
A. Although they do not use any petroleum, NEVs are not and can never be AFVs under EPAct. As of model year 2014, though, NEVs receive ¼ of an AFV credit, and the acquisition of an NEV is not factored into the calculation of a fleet's annual AFV-acquisition requirements.

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Q. How do I obtain AFV credit for my fleet's NEV acquisitions?
A. To obtain AFV credit for an NEV acquisition, include the following vehicle-specific information in the credit activity portion of your fleet's annual report: vehicle make and model; model year of manufacture; vehicle identification number; and acquisition date.

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Q. Can my fleet get AFV credit for its investments in alternative fuel infrastructure?
A. Yes. As of model year 2014, your fleet will receive 1 AFV credit for every $25,000 that it invested during a model year in alternative fuel infrastructure. Note, though, that credit is not available for any such investments made prior to model year 2014.

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Q. What is "alternative fuel infrastructure"?
A. "Alternative fuel infrastructure" means a fueling station for motor vehicles that operate on a liquid or gaseous alternative fuel, or a charging station for plug-in vehicles (e.g., battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, neighborhood electric vehicles), but the term does not include simple electrical outlets for charging.

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Q. Are there any other investments for which my fleet can get AFV credit under EPAct?
A. In addition to alternative fuel infrastructure investments, your fleet may receive 1 AFV credit for every $25,000 that it invested during a model year in alternative fuel non-road equipment, and 2 AFV credits for the first $50,000 (and an additional AFV credit for every $25,000 thereafter) that it invested during a model year in an emerging technology, as long as the model year of the equipment or emerging technology investment is 2014 or later.

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Q. What is "alternative fuel non-road equipment"?
A. "Alternative fuel non-road equipment" means mobile (i.e., self-propelled) non-road equipment that operates on alternative fuel, and includes, for example, mobile cargo and handling, farm, landscaping, and construction equipment.

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Q. What is "emerging technology"?
A. "Emerging technology" means pre-production or pre-commercially available versions of a fuel cell electric vehicle, hybrid electric vehicle, medium- or heavy-duty electric or fuel cell electric vehicle, neighborhood electric vehicle, or plug-in electric drive vehicle.

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Q. What do I need to do to get AFV credit for my fleet's investments?
A. To obtain AFV credit for your fleet's investments, include investment-specific information in the credit activity portion of your fleet's annual report. For alternative fuel infrastructure investments, the necessary information is identified in 10 C.F.R. section 490.508(b)(5) of the Program regulations. For alternative fuel non-road equipment and emerging technology investments, the necessary information is identified in sections 490.508(b)(6) and 490.508(b)(7).

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Q. My fleet invested a total of $50,000 over a two-year period to establish an E85 fueling station. How should this alternative fuel infrastructure investment be handled?
A. DOE recognizes that investments in any of the three investment categories for which credit is available as of model year 2014 may span more than one model year. For each type of investment, a fleet is eligible for AFV credit in the year the alternative fuel infrastructure, alternative fuel non-road equipment, or emerging technology is put into operation. In this example, your fleet should seek 2 AFV credits in the year the E85 station became operational.

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Q. During the same model year, my fleet invested $10,000 in alternative fuel infrastructure and $15,000 in alternative fuel non-road equipment. Can my fleet get any AFV credit for these investments?
A. Yes. For model year 2014 and later, although DOE does not allocate fractional credits for investments, a fleet may aggregate the sums that it invested during a particular model year in order to reach an applicable AFV credit threshold. In this case, your fleet may aggregate the $10,000 and $15,000 investments, which alone would be insufficient to earn any credit, and receive 1 AFV credit so long as your fleet provides the necessary information for each of the investments.

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Q. What metrics might DOE review to determine whether technologies would be deemed emerging technologies for the purpose of earning credit for investments in such technologies (i.e., at what point does a technology shift from pre-commercial or pre-production to commercially available)?
A. "Emerging technology" means "pre-production or pre-commercially available versions of a fuel cell electric vehicle, hybrid electric vehicle, medium- or heavy-duty electric [or] fuel cell electric vehicle, neighborhood electric vehicle, or plug-in electric drive vehicle." For a technology to be an "emerging technology," it must be a pre-production or pre-commercially available version of one of the electric drive vehicles identified in Section 133 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). If a technology is available for sale, even if for sale only in one region or area of the United States, the technology is no longer pre-commercial or pre-production. Once the technology has reached the point of being commercially available or mass produced and thus is beyond the stage of demonstration or initial data collection, the provision of any investment credit under the Program would be inappropriate inasmuch as AFV credit for the vehicle's acquisition is available.

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Q. Will DOE consider allocating credit to covered fleets for creditable actions (i.e., acquiring Section 133–identified vehicles, investing in alternative fuel infrastructure, alternative fuel non-road equipment, or emerging technology) that have already been made?
A. DOE will grant credits under this new rule only for creditable actions that occur in model year 2014 and thereafter. No credits are available under this new rule for otherwise creditable actions that occurred prior to model year 2014 (e.g., in model year 2013 or any time before model year 2013).

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Q. May a covered fleet earn credits that it may bank for investments in alternative fuel infrastructure, alternative fuel non-road equipment, or emerging technology even if the fleet does not have a light-duty AFV-acquisition requirement in that particular model year?
A. Yes. It is not necessary for a fleet to have an AFV-acquisition requirement or to have satisfied its light-duty AFV-acquisition requirement before the fleet may earn credit(s) for its investments in alternative fuel infrastructure, alternative fuel non-road equipment, or emerging technology. If the fleet has no AFV-acquisition requirement for that model year, the credits may be banked. If the fleet has an AFV-acquisition requirement in that model year, the credits earned under the Program's investment provisions may be used to help the fleet achieve that requirement.

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Q. Regarding investments in alternative fuel infrastructure, alternative fuel non-road equipment, or emerging technology, will DOE allocate credits for funds that a fleet, due to the implementation of an amortization schedule, pays for the alternative fuel infrastructure, alternative fuel non-road equipment, or emerging technology over several years?
A. Covered fleets may earn AFV credits for such investments in the model year in which the infrastructure/non-road equipment/emerging technology becomes operational. The funds committed towards those investments, for example through an amortization schedule, are deemed expended for the purpose of earning credits. The covered fleet will have to provide evidence of the commitment of those funds for the infrastructure, equipment, or emerging technology that was deployed/became operational in that model year. Fleets should claim the entire investment in the model year in which the infrastructure/equipment/pre-production vehicles became operational. None should be claimed until then, and none may be claimed after.

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Q. Regarding investments in alternative fuel infrastructure, alternative fuel non-road equipment, or emerging technology, will DOE allocate credits for funds that a fleet receives via a grant or other award and then expends for the alternative fuel infrastructure, alternative fuel non-road equipment, or emerging technology?
A. No. Covered fleets may earn AFV credits for such investments only for those funds that are its own and that it commits to the alternative fuel infrastructure, alternative fuel non-road equipment, or emerging technology. DOE does not consider funds that a covered fleet may have received in the form of a grant or other monetary award the fleet's own funds. Thus, if a fleet applies toward alternative fuel infrastructure $50,000 of its own money and $25,000 it received from a grant for the project, the fleet may earn only AFV credits for the $50,000 of its own money that it expended.

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Q. Must a vehicle satisfy both the NHTSA dual fueled electric automobile criteria and the 200-mile range requirement to be considered an AFV?
A. A light-duty vehicle is an AFV if it is a dedicated vehicle or is a dual fueled vehicle by virtue of meeting NHTSA's minimum driving range criteria for dual fueled automobiles. NHTSA's requirement that a vehicle have a minimum driving range of 200 miles to be considered a dual fueled automobile does not apply to battery electric vehicles (e.g., the Nissan LEAF) or to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with a conventional petroleum engine, but rather only applies to vehicles that are capable of operating on alternative fuel other than electricity (e.g., ethanol blends, CNG). The Nissan LEAF is an AFV by virtue of the fact that it is a dedicated vehicle—it operates solely on alternative fuel (i.e., electricity). NHTSA specifies that for a PHEV to be a dual fueled electric automobile (and hence an AFV under DOE's Program), it must be able to complete the EPA urban and highway test cycles on electricity alone. The Chevrolet Volt met these NHTSA criteria and thus is one example of a PHEV that is a dual fueled vehicle and, hence, an AFV.

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Q. May a fleet earn AFV credit for trucks that have hybrid components related to ancillary equipment?
A. No. To be eligible for AFV credit under the new rule, an acquired medium- or heavy-duty vehicle must have an electric drivetrain. Even though DOE excludes hydraulic hybrid and electric bucket system technologies from AFV credit under the Section 133 rule, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles with these technologies may be used to demonstrate petroleum fuel use reductions under the Program's Alternative Compliance option.

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Q. Are investments in alternative fuel non-road equipment considered investments in infrastructure or non-road equipment?
A. Alternative fuel non-road equipment must be mobile (e.g., electric, natural gas, or propane-fueled forklifts) to be considered eligible for credit as non-road equipment, and expenditures on such equipment would be considered investments in non-road equipment rather than investments in alternative fuel infrastructure. Alternative fuel infrastructure encompasses more traditional infrastructure, such as ethanol blend fuel pumping stations or electric vehicle charging stations.

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EPAct Applicability

Q. We think our fleet is not, or is no longer, covered by the requirements of 10 C.F.R. Part 490 for state government and alternative fuel provider fleets. How can I confirm this with DOE?
A. If your fleet is not, or is no longer, covered, one of the following conditions will apply:

  • Not enough vehicles in the fleet [fewer than 50 light-duty vehicles (LDVs)] – DOE must receive information in writing before determining whether a fleet is not covered. Provide a list of all the LDVs [8,500 pounds or less gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)] currently in your fleet and include the make, model, and VIN of each vehicle.
  • Not enough vehicles in a Metropolitan Statistical Area/Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA/CMSA; fewer than 20 LDVs in a single MSA/CMSA) – DOE must receive information in writing before determining whether a fleet is covered. Provide a list of all the LDVs currently in your fleet, where they are located, and their makes, models, and VINs.
  • For alternative fuel providers, not enough revenue from alternative fuels – Send DOE written notification with certified financial statements or an annual report so that DOE may verify that your organization is not deriving at least 30% of its total revenues from the sale of an alternative fuel.
  • Fleet not operating in any of the 125 MSAs/CMSAs listed in Appendix A to Subpart A of 10 C.F.R. Part 490 – Provide DOE with a map of your fleet's service territory and/or a list of the counties in which your fleet operates.

Please contact DOE at the Regulatory Information Line for help confirming your fleet's status.

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Q. How do I determine if my company is an "alternative fuel provider"?
A. Under Program regulations, specifically 10 C.F.R. Section 490.303, an entity is an alternative fuel provider if one of the following is true:

  • Its "principal business" is producing, storing, refining, processing, transporting, distributing, importing, or selling—at wholesale or retail—any alternative fuel other than electricity
  • Its "principal business" is generating, transmitting, importing, or selling—at wholesale or retail—electricity
  • It produces, imports, or produces and imports (in combination) an average of 50,000 barrels per day or more of petroleum and derives 30% or more (a "substantial portion") of its gross annual revenues from the production of alternative fuels.

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Q. Is a state university or college fleet covered under EPAct section 507(o)?
A. Yes, if the fleet meets the threshold size and location requirements that determine whether a fleet is subject to the Program. Although DOE allows each state to determine for itself which agencies operate or control a state fleet for reporting purposes, DOE expects states to follow the common understanding of what constitutes a "state agency." State agencies usually are authorized and funded by the state legislature, receive funding from the state budget, or are situated on state property. Examples of agencies that DOE expects to be classified as state agencies are departments, offices, and divisions of state government; port authorities; and state colleges and universities.

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Standard Compliance

Q. What is Standard Compliance?
A. Covered fleets under the Program are automatically subject to Standard Compliance unless and until they obtain an Alternative Compliance waiver from DOE. Under the Standard Compliance method, covered fleets must acquire a certain number of AFVs each year based on the number of light-duty vehicles (LDVs) they acquire: for state fleets, 75% of their non-excluded LDV acquisitions must be light-duty AFVs, and for alternative fuel provider fleets, 90% of their non-excluded LDV acquisitions must be AFVs. In addition, covered alternative fuel provider fleets must use alternative fuels in their AFVs except when the AFVs are operating in an area where the particular fuel is not available. Covered fleets may meet up to 50% of their AFV-acquisition requirements through the purchase and use of biodiesel in blends of 20% or higher. Covered fleets may also meet their AFV-acquisition requirements through the acquisition of non-AFV electric vehicles and through investments in alternative fuel infrastructure, alternative fuel non-road equipment, or emerging technology.

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Q. What are the dates of a model year?
A. A model year runs from September 1 of the previous calendar year through August 31. For example, model year 2014 is Sept. 1, 2013, through Aug. 31, 2014.

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Q. How do I calculate my fleet's LDV-acquisition count for purposes of determining the fleet's AFV-acquisition requirements for a given model year?
A. As an example:

  1. Start with the number of LDVs new to your fleet that will be acquired during a given model year. Do not include NEVs.
  2. Subtract any excluded vehicles.
  3. Multiply the result by 75% (state fleets) or 90% (alternative fuel provider fleets) to get the number of LDVs that must be AFVs for that model year.
  4. Note that rentals or leases of LDVs for 120 or more days qualify as LDV acquisitions and so must be included in covered fleet LDV-acquisition calculations for the model year in which the rental agreement/lease begins.
  5. Note, too, that donated LDVs the fleet receives constitute LDV acquisitions during the model year in which they are received and so must also be included in covered fleet LDV-acquisition calculations.

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Q. When I provide my total LDV-acquisition count for a given model year (for the purpose of determining my fleet's AFV-acquisition requirements), should I include light-duty AFVs in that figure?
A. Yes, your fleet should include light-duty AFVs, and all other LDVs, in the LDV-acquisition count, but it should not include any light-duty AFVs or LDVs that are on the list of excluded vehicles. Medium- or heavy-duty vehicles of any kind also should not be included in the LDV acquisition count.

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Q. In determining annual AFV-acquisition requirements, are covered fleets required to count vehicles acquired outside an MSA or CMSA?
A. Any LDV that a covered alternative fuel provider fleet acquires is counted in determining its annual AFV-acquisition requirements, regardless of whether the LDV is located or operated within or outside an MSA or CMSA. Covered state fleets, however, need only count the acquired LDVs that are located or operated within an MSA or CMSA. In other words, an LDV that is acquired by a covered state fleet and located or operated outside an MSA or CMSA can be excluded from the fleet's annual LDV-acquisition count.

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Q. If an alternative fuel provider fleet acquires an E85 flexible fuel vehicle (FFV) and locates or operates it in an area where E85 is unavailable, will the acquisition be treated by DOE as an AFV acquisition?
A. Yes. Even if the light-duty FFV is located or operated in an area where E85 is not available, DOE will treat it as an AFV acquisition and count it towards the fleet's annual AFV-acquisition requirements. DOE believes that this approach is appropriate because it spurs demand not only for the vehicle but also, more importantly, for the alternative fuel. Once E85 becomes available in the FFV's operating area, the alternative fuel provider fleet must use E85 in that FFV.

DOE strongly encourages alternative fuel provider fleets to review on a regular basis the availability of alternative fuels in their AFV operating areas. In particular, alternative fuel providers are advised to check DOE's Alternative Fueling Station Locator regularly.

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Q. How does a covered fleet receive credit for using biodiesel?
A. DOE's rulemaking on biodiesel fuel use credits explains the conditions under which a covered fleet may receive credit for biodiesel. Under Standard Compliance, a covered fleet that purchases blends of B20 or higher for use as fuel in vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 8,500 pounds may receive credit for the neat (100%) biodiesel portion of the blends. A fleet may receive 1 credit for each 450 gallons of neat/pure biodiesel (2,250 gallons of B20) purchased for use in medium- or heavy-duty vehicles. Rounding up of biodiesel fuel use credits is not allowed, so the allocation of 1 biodiesel fuel use credit requires that at least 450 gallons of neat/pure biodiesel be purchased for use. Fleets may earn biodiesel fuel use credits to satisfy up to a maximum of 50% of their AFV-acquisition requirements in a given model year. (Biodiesel fuel providers may satisfy up to 100% of their annual AFV-acquisition requirements through biodiesel fuel use credits.) When DOE determines whether a fleet is in compliance with its AFV-acquisition requirements, biodiesel fuel use credits are counted first, up to their allowable limit, and then light-duty AFV acquisitions are counted. If the sum of the two figures exceeds the required number of light-duty AFV acquisitions, the excess—as AFV credits—may be banked for use in future model years. Thus, although biodiesel fuel use credits themselves may not be banked or sold, when used in conjunction with AFV acquisitions, a fleet may end up with bankable or saleable AFV credits.

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Q. What happens if my fleet ordered AFVs early in the model year but, through no fault of the fleet, did not receive the vehicles before the model year ended?
A. If a covered fleet ordered an AFV sufficiently early in a model year such that there was a reasonable expectation that delivery would occur before the end of the model year (i.e., by Aug. 31), and the delayed delivery was due to factors beyond the fleet's control, the fleet may include the AFV in its annual LDV-acquisition count and list the vehicle as an AFV acquisition in its annual report either in the model year in which the vehicle was ordered or in the model year in which the fleet actually acquired (i.e., took possession or control of) the vehicle. In other words, the fleet may choose in which of the two model years to count the vehicle's acquisition. For assistance with such an instance, please contact the Regulatory Information Line.

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Q. How do I determine "fuel type" and "engine configuration" for my AFVs?
A. In the annual reporting process, fleets must specify an AFV's fuel type and engine configuration. To determine fuel type and engine configuration, check the title or receipt from the dealer. For example, vehicles that operate on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and those that operate on compressed natural gas (CNG) can be either dual fueled (they can use gasoline and/or an alternative fuel) or dedicated (they can only use an alternative fuel) and thus would be classified as "Dual Fuel" of "Dedicated Fuel" in the annual report. Ethanol (E85) vehicles are flexible fuel because the same gas tank can hold a mixture of gasoline and E85, and thus are classified as "Flex Fuel." Battery electric vehicles, also called all-electric vehicles, are dedicated and thus classified as "Dedicated Fuel." Gasoline-fueled PHEVs that qualify as AFVs should be classified as "Dual Fuel."

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Q. How can I confirm that a fleet vehicle can be fueled with alternative fuel or that it is an AFV?
A. Check the vehicle's title or bill of sale, or check inside the fuel door. You can also identify an FFV by referring to the eighth position of the VIN in conjunction with manufacturer information. For example, if your fleet acquires a 2009 Ford Crown Victoria, you can confirm by the VIN that the vehicle is alternative fuel (E85)-capable by checking the eighth digit of the VIN, which will be a "V." An alternative fuel-capable 2009 Chevrolet Impala would have a "K" or "M" in the eighth position. Finally, DOE notes that automobile manufacturers have been obligated since Sept. 1, 2006, to attach a label to the fuel compartment of their dual fueled automobiles and that this labeling requirement eventually will be extended to dedicated automobiles as well. In the case of PHEVs, DOE notes that unless the vehicle has a liquid or gaseous alternative fuel–capable engine, it must be able to complete the EPA urban and highway test cycles on electricity alone in order to qualify as an AFV. To find out if a particular 2014 or later PHEV is a dual fueled vehicle and thus also an AFV, DOE encourages covered fleets to review the EPA/U.S. Department of Transportation fuel economy and environment label (also known as the fuel economy window sticker or the Monroney label) that is posted on all new light-duty vehicles. If the label says, "This is a dual fueled automobile," the PHEV is a dual fueled vehicle and thus an AFV under the Program.

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Q. Are state agencies required to use alternative fuel in their AFVs?
A. No. EPAct requires covered state fleets to acquire 75% of their LDV acquisitions as AFVs, but it does not require them to use alternative fuel in those AFVs.

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Q. Are alternative fuel providers required to use alternative fuel in their AFVs?
A. Yes. Unlike state fleets, covered alternative fuel provider fleets are required to use only alternative fuel in their AFVs, except when the vehicles are operating in areas where the appropriate alternative fuel is not available (see 10 C.F.R. section 490.306). Alternative fuel providers should keep records of their alternative fuel use for at least three years.

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Annual Reports

Q. How can I file an annual Standard Compliance report with DOE?
A. Instructions for reporting Standard Compliance are available on this website. For help with annual reporting, email epact.sfp.fleets@nrel.gov.

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Q. What information do I need to submit data or review my fleet's annual report data on the website?
A. You need a user name and password to submit or review your data online. If you have already registered online as a fleet point of contact (POC), you can log in to the annual reporting tool with your existing user name and password. If you have not yet registered your fleet, you can request new fleet access.

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Q. By what date must my fleet's annual report be filed?
A. The deadline for filing an annual report, whether under Standard Compliance or Alternative Compliance, is Dec. 31 following the relevant model year (e.g., Dec. 31, 2014, for the model year 2014 report).

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Q. How will I know DOE has received my fleet's annual report?
A. All fleet reports are reviewed for accuracy as they are received. Usually within three working days of receipt, the fleet receives an email confirming that DOE received the fleet's report and asking for any missing information. If you do not receive an acknowledgment, email epact.sfp.fleets@nrel.gov to ask about your fleet's report status.

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Q. I omitted or included an AFV in error when I submitted my last annual report. May I amend the report?
A. Yes. You may submit and amend an annual Standard Compliance report online any time during the reporting year for that report (e.g., from Sept. 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2014, for model year 2014). If you discover the correction after the reporting year for that annual report has ended, or if you do not use the website to submit your annual reports, email the required vehicle information to epact.sfp.fleets@nrel.gov.

If you entered a vehicle in error on your report, email epact.sfp.fleets@nrel.gov and provide the information for the vehicle(s) that must be deleted.

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Q. What does "acquisition date" mean?
A. "Acquisition date" means the date the vehicle is taken into possession or control, such as through purchase or lease.

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Q. If I report a vehicle that was acquired as an AFV, do I have to report its conversion date?
A. No. If you acquired the vehicle as an AFV, it was either an original equipment manufacturer vehicle, or it had been converted by a previous owner. If the vehicle was converted to an AFV after your fleet acquired it, however, your fleet must report the conversion date. The conversion date is important because AFV-acquisition treatment for a converted vehicle is warranted only if the conversion occurs within the first four months following acquisition of the vehicle. For example, if you acquired the vehicle as a gasoline vehicle on Jan. 1, 2014, and converted it to a natural gas–capable vehicle, such conversion would have to have taken place no later than May 1, 2014, for treatment as an AFV acquisition to be warranted. If a vehicle is converted to an AFV beyond the four-month conversion period, it is ineligible for treatment as an AFV acquisition.

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Q. Must I report the VIN and other information for all my fleet's LDVs or just for my AFVs?
A. Only information for AFVs and other acquired vehicles for which AFV credit is sought (i.e., non-AFV electric vehicles and medium-or heavy-duty HEVs and FCEVs that are not AFVs) must be reported in detail. All on-road certified vehicles have a vehicle identification number (VIN).

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Q. What happens if my fleet fails to submit its annual report to DOE?
A. Failure to file an annual report, or late filing, may subject your entity to civil or criminal penalties. Your fleet can avoid being out of compliance by submitting an annual report in a timely and complete manner.

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Earning and Applying Credits

Q. How are credits calculated?
A. Every light-duty AFV acquisition beyond compliance earns 1 AFV credit. A fleet may meet up to 50% of its acquisition requirements through biodiesel fuel use credits. Biodiesel credits may only be applied to requirements for the model year in which they are earned; they may not be banked for future use. An acquisition of a medium- or heavy-duty AFV or medium- or heavy-duty electric vehicle that is not an AFV earns AFV credit after the fleet's light-duty AFV-acquisition requirements have been met.

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Q. Our fleet did not meet its AFV-acquisition requirements during the past model year. How can I resolve this problem under Standard Compliance?
A. Your fleet may obtain AFV credits through transfer or purchase from another entity. Learn more about trading credits.

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Q. How do I apply banked AFV credits to my fleet's outstanding AFV-acquisition requirement?
A. If reporting online, enter the number of applied AFV credits required to maintain compliance. If reporting via spreadsheet, enter the number of applied credits under the "Model Year Data" section next to "Applied Credits."

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Q. How do I determine the number of banked AFV credits to apply to ensure compliance with the fleet's annual AFV-acquisition requirements?
A. The annual reporting tool calculates banked AFV credits for you. If you choose not to use this simple tool, subtract from your fleet's AFV-acquisition requirements the sum total of the light-duty AFVs acquired and the number of AFV (and biodiesel fuel use) credits earned by the fleet during the model year (e.g., through the acquisition of non-AFV electric vehicles). The result is the AFV-acquisition shortfall and thus how many banked AFV credits should be applied to ensure compliance.

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Q. How do AFV credits for vehicles with a GVWR of more than 8,500 pounds work, and how may these AFV credits be applied?
A. Under Standard Compliance, your fleet may receive 1 AFV credit for each medium- or heavy-duty AFV, and ½ credit for each medium- or heavy-duty HEV or FCEV that is not an AFV, that it acquires in a given model year, but only after your fleet meets its applicable light-duty AFV-acquisition requirements. The medium- or heavy-duty vehicles must be listed as acquisitions on your fleet's annual report (see 10 C.F.R. section 490.508).

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Q. Where should I look if my fleet wants to buy or sell AFV credits?
A. Your fleet may acquire or sell AFV credits through credit transfers with other covered fleets. Learn more about trading credits, where you can see a list of fleets with excess credits, exchange information with other fleets via a bulletin board, and download the credit transfer form. DOE does not collect information on the cost of a credit transfers between fleets and does not know the cost to acquire AFV credits.

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Excluded Vehicles

Q. What is an excluded vehicle?
A. See the list of excluded vehicles

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Q. In determining annual AFV-acquisition requirements, are covered fleets required to count excluded vehicles that they are acquiring as AFVs in a given model year?
A. No. However, as indicated in the answer immediately above, such excluded vehicles will help satisfy your fleet's requirements and may earn AFV credits unless they are non-road vehicles, which (except for alternative fuel non-road equipment) are not eligible to satisfy the AFV-acquisition requirements of Standard Compliance.

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Requesting Exemptions

Q. If my organization is covered under the Program but cannot obtain AFVs or alternative fuels in our area, what can we do?
A. If your fleet cannot find AFVs or alternative fuels suitable for the fleet's normal business practices, you may file for exemptions from the AFV-acquisition requirements of Standard Compliance. State agencies also may file for exemptions based on unreasonable financial hardship; see 10 C.F.R. section 490.204(a)(3). Guidance on filing an exemption request and a sample exemption request are provided on this website. After DOE receives complete documentation justifying your fleet's request, it has 45 days to determine whether your fleet qualifies for exemptions. With proper proof, DOE may grant all or some of the requested exemptions. Note, though, that when a fleet's annual report shows the fleet did not meet its AFV-acquisition requirements for the model year, DOE automatically applies banked AFV credits (if any) held by the fleet to offset the shortfall, thereby either eliminating the fleet's need for exemptions or reducing the number of exemptions needed.

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Q. What is the timeframe for submitting an exemption request?
A. A covered fleet may submit its exemption request no sooner than September 1 following the model year for which the exemption is sought, and no later than January 31 following that model year. Thus, there is a five-month window for a covered fleet to seek an exemption under Standard Compliance. Fleets should keep in mind, too, that they must file their annual report prior to submitting an exemption request.

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Q. How do I file an exemption request for my fleet?
A. DOE strongly encourages fleets pursuing exemptions to request an exemption online. This tool saves fleets time and helps DOE deliver decisions sooner. The tool loads information automatically from annual report records and creates electronic exemption requests that fleets save, print, and send to DOE.

Although DOE strongly encourages fleets pursuing exemptions to request an exemption online, you may submit the exemption spreadsheet by email at epact.sfp.fleets@nrel.gov.

Requests for exemptions do not carry over year to year; they must be filed annually. Learn more about exemptions in the Exemption Request Guidance.

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Q. If DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) denies my fleet's exemption request, does my fleet have other options?
A. Yes. If an exemption request is denied, your fleet may file an appeal with DOE's Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) within 30 days of the date of the written determination denying the exemptions. See 10 C.F.R. section 490.204(h) (state fleets) and section 490.308(g) (alternative fuel provider fleets). Note that the appeal must be filed with OHA, not the Program's Regulatory Manager/EERE, and that it must be filed in accordance with OHA's own regulations set forth in 10 C.F.R. Part 1003, Subpart C.

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Alternative Compliance

Q. What is Alternative Compliance?
A. Alternative Compliance, which is one of two methods through which covered fleets can achieve Program compliance, enables fleets to obtain a waiver from the AFV-acquisition requirements associated with Standard Compliance under 10 C.F.R. Part 490, Subparts C and D. Fleets opting into Alternative Compliance (10 C.F.R. Part 490, Subpart I) implement measures that reduce petroleum fuel use in lieu of meeting the AFV-acquisition requirements.

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Q. What types of fleets are likely to be interested in choosing the Alternative Compliance option?
A. Although Alternative Compliance provides financial incentives and/or greenhouse gas emission reduction benefits to all participating fleets, it may be a particularly good option for fleets that can maximize biodiesel use. Alternative Compliance gives fleets flexibility to pursue innovative approaches to reducing petroleum use in lieu of acquiring AFVs. These approaches include, but are not limited to, purchasing HEVs, increasing fleet fuel efficiency, increasing the use of alternative fuel blends, reducing vehicle miles traveled, and using alternative fuels in AFVs.

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Q. How do fleets participate in the Alternative Compliance option?
A. To participate in Alternative Compliance, a covered fleet must undertake three steps:

  1. A fleet must use a simple online process to notify DOE of its intent to apply for a waiver from Standard Compliance. This notice must be submitted by March 31 before the model year for which the waiver is sought. For example, a fleet applying for Alternative Compliance for model year 2015 must file its notice of intent no later than March 31, 2014.
  2. The fleet must submit a waiver application to DOE no later than July 31 before the model year for which the waiver is sought.
  3. Fleets granted a waiver must submit an annual report to DOE by Dec. 31 after the model year for which the waiver was granted.

See additional information about the Alternative Compliance option.

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Q. Where can I find guidance about estimating different petroleum-reduction approaches?
A. The Alternative Compliance Planning Tool can help you determine your fleet's petroleum-reduction requirement and create a plan for meeting it. Also available is an Alternative Compliance tutorial and other materials. In addition, DOE supports the use of the Petroleum Reduction Planning Tool, which helps fleets, consumers, and business owners create strategies to reduce conventional fuel use in fleet and personal vehicles.

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Administrative Issues and Contacts

Q. How do I log on to the website to manage compliance requirements for my fleet?
A. To file your annual report, log in to the annual reporting tool with your existing user name and password. If you have not yet registered your fleet, you can request new fleet access.

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Q. How do I change the POC or information for my fleet?
A. To change the point of contact for your fleet, email epact.sfp.fleets@nrel.gov. To update your account information, log in to the annual reporting tool and choose "My Account" from the navigation menu on the left. To update your fleet contact information, choose "Manage Fleet Contact" from the "Fleet Management" section.

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Q. I have misplaced my user name or password to access the database containing my fleet's compliance information. How can I retrieve that information?
A. For help with accessing the annual reporting tool, email epact.sfp.fleets@nrel.gov.

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Q. Who is the DOE contact responsible for managing the Program and ensuring compliance?
A. Unless otherwise noted above, direct all correspondence to Mr. Dana O'Hara via the following methods:

  • Email: regulatory.info@nrel.gov
  • Mail: Dana O'Hara, Regulatory Manager, Alternative Fuel Transportation Program, Vehicle Technologies Program (EE-2G), U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20585-0121
  • Phone: 202-586-9171
  • Fax: 202-586-1610.

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