New Year, New Fuels

Getting to Know the Alternative Fuels Data Center

It’s 2015. Back to the Future II promised me hoverboards, self-tying shoelaces, and flying cars. If you ask me, a lack of hoverboards is this list’s greatest disappointment (if you can levitate up to 574 people on a high-speed train, why is it so difficult to levitate one young woman on a skateboard-sized deck?). Others in transportation might fixate more on the futuristic automobile - a literal Thunderbird. While it sounds like an ideal solution to congestion, there is little evidence to support that a flying car would increase one’s fuel efficiency, or decrease our nation’s petroleum dependence (in fact, I would posit it would take quite a lot of fuel to power a flying car’s jet engine). 

As our new year’s resolutions at San Francisco Clean Cities thematically identify with the latter aim, I would like to take the opportunity to familiarize those reading with a resource that most certainly can make a difference in supporting America’s clean transportation future: the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC). Looking to save some money on gas (you may interpret this either as the cost of gasoline or the cost of auto emissions)? The AFDC is the site for you. Providing information, data, and tools to help decision makers navigate their way towards cleaner transportation choices, the AFDC is a one-stop-shop for knowledge on alt fuels technology, policy, and news.

Some of our favorite features of the AFDC include:

1.     The newly added “Alternative Fuel IQ” Test for those of us who don’t know where to start. Give it a go yourself! Don’t fret a poor score; there is plenty of information stored throughout the AFDC to boost those alternative fuels brain cells until they rise off the charts.

2.     The Alternative Fueling Station Locator for those of us who have already ventured, or are considering venturing into the land of alt fuel vehicles and are a little anxious about that ever-pressing question: “Can we make it?”. Plan trips in your brand new, fun sized Prius c without worrying about where to charge up!

3.     The Laws & Incentives Database for those who want a little more bang for our buck (as if the internal satisfaction of keeping harmful emissions out of the environment and boosting our nation’s energy independence is not enough). Search by state to review incentives, laws, and regulations related to alt fuels and advanced fuel vehicle technology wherever you are now, or wherever you’re going (it is a new year after all – adventure calls!).

As these features merely skim the surface of what the AFDC has to offer, we at the SFCCC encourage you to take a closer look in 2015. Let us know what you find helpful, and please do reach out with any additional questions, compliments, concerns, or simply to share your new year’s transportation resolutions. Here’s to a cleaner fuel future (and to never losing hope for hoverboards)!

-AC