The Energy Policy Act (EPAct) includes specific terminology related to transportation requirements. Knowing the definitions of these key terms is helpful in understanding the EPAct regulatory activities.
Alternative Compliance Vehicle
This term refers to a vehicle—or required alternative fuel vehicle (AFV)—that must be included in calculating a fleet's petroleum reduction requirement under the Alternative Compliance option. Alternative Compliance vehicles are:
- AFVs acquired in previous model years in compliance with the Standard Compliance requirements (minus retirements)
- Light-duty vehicles (conventional or AFV) planned to be acquired in the upcoming waiver model year instead of the AFV requirements that otherwise would be met under the Standard Compliance requirements
- Light-duty vehicles (conventional or AFV) acquired in previous waiver model years instead of the AFV requirements that would otherwise be met under the Standard Compliance requirements (minus retirements)
Alternative Compliance Vehicle Inventory
This term refers to the Alternative Compliance vehicles in a fleet for the upcoming waiver model year. Alternative Compliance vehicles retired from the fleet before the start of the model year are not included in the Alternative Compliance vehicle inventory.
The Energy Policy Act of 1992 defined these fuels as alternative fuels:
- Methanol, ethanol, and other alcohols
- Blends of 85% or more of alcohol with gasoline
- Natural gas and liquid fuels domestically produced from natural gas
- Liquefied petroleum gas (propane)
- Coal-derived liquid fuels
- Fuels (other than alcohol) derived from biological materials (including pure biodiesel (B100))1
- 1 In its March 1996 final rule establishing the Alternative Fuel Transportation Program regulations, the U.S. Department of Energy concluded that neat/pure biodiesel (B100) is derived from biological materials and therefore is an "alternative fuel." In January 2001, the Biodiesel Final Rule made it possible for fleets to earn EPAct credits for using biodiesel blends of at least 20%. This rule does not make B20 (a 20% blend of biodiesel with diesel) an alternative fuel but gives one credit for every 450 gallons of pure biodiesel used in biodiesel blends of B20 or higher.
- 2 In a May 1999 final rule, DOE classified three P-Series fuels as "alternative fuel."
Alternative Fuel Vehicles
Alternative fuel vehicles, or AFVs, include any dedicated, flexible-fuel, or dual-fuel vehicle designed to operate on at least one alternative fuel.
State and alternative fuel provider fleets are considered covered fleets if they own, operate, lease, or otherwise control 50 or more non-excluded light-duty vehicles (less than or equal to 8,500 lbs) and if at least 20 of those vehicles are used primarily within a single Metropolitan Statistical Area/Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area and are capable of being centrally fueled.
The following vehicles do not count toward a fleet's annual light-duty vehicle count and the associated determination of AFV-acquisition requirements because they are excluded. They do count, however, toward satisfying AFV-acquisition requirements.
- Emergency vehicles, including vehicles directly used in the emergency repair of transmission lines and in the restoration of electricity service following power outages
- Law enforcement vehicles
- Nonroad vehicles
- Vehicles parked at private residences when not in use
- Vehicles used for evaluating or testing products of a motor vehicle manufacturer, including those owned or held by a university for research purposes
- Vehicles owned or held by a testing laboratory or other evaluation facility that are used solely for evaluating the vehicles' performance
- Vehicles acquired and used for purposes that the U.S. Secretary of Defense certifies must be exempted for national security reasons
- Vehicles held for lease or rental to the general public
- Vehicles held for sale by motor vehicle dealers, including demonstration vehicles
The exemption provisions under the Alternative Fuel Transportation Program are specific to the AFV-acquisition requirements of Standard Compliance. Exemptions are based on a lack of available alternative fuels and/or AFVs and are not related to the Alternative Compliance option, under which fleets may adopt multiple strategies for compliance (aside from alternative fuels and acquiring AFVs).
For the purpose of the Alternative Fuel Transportation Program, a model year runs from September 1 through August 31 of the following calendar year (e.g., September 1, 2012, through August 31, 2013).
Regulatory Information Line
For help with understanding and meeting Energy Policy Act requirements, state and alternative fuel provider fleets may contact the Regulatory Information Line: