Natural Gas – Conversions, Vehicles and Technology

Breathe Free and Drive

July 2012, Green Fleet Magazine - Feature

by Julie Sutor

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services uses a CNG Ford Transit Connect for air quality monitoring. 
The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services uses a CNG Ford Transit Connect for air quality monitoring.

Freedom isn’t taken lightly in New Hampshire, a state where nearly every license plate enjoins residents to “Live Free or Die.” Granite State Clean Cities Coalition (GSCCC) is harnessing that fiercely independent spirit in the transportation arena, steering fleets toward reliable, cleaner, domestic sources of energy such as biodiesel and natural gas.

The coalition, administered by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services under the direction of Coordinator Dolores Rebolledo, saved more than 1.3 million gallons of petroleum fuels in 2010 through the work of about 100 stakeholders throughout the state.

Among the stakeholders are municipalities and state agencies that are rightsizing fleets, reducing vehicle miles traveled, and switching from gasoline and diesel to compressed natural gas (CNG). With help from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds through the State Energy Program, the New Hampshire state government recently upgraded its CNG fueling station, and several agencies and the City of Concord added 10 light-duty CNG vehicles to their fleets.

“The City of Concord is absolutely thrilled that it’s contributing to air quality and reducing fuel costs,” Rebolledo said.

The City of Nashua, N.H., a GSCCC stakeholder, is unrelentingly devoted to CNG, according to Rebolledo. With the help of funding from the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) programs, Nashua boasts 27 natural gas vehicles, including refuse and transit vehicles, and now provides publicly accessible CNG fueling at its Route 3 station — a first for the Granite State. The public station extends an existing CNG corridor along Interstate 93 from Massachusetts into New Hampshire.

The popularity of biodiesel in the state is also widespread, with Cranmore Mountain Ski Resort and the City of Keene, N.H., paving the way for fleet managers nationwide to use biodiesel in colder climates.

GSCCC helps deploy other alternative fuels and vehicle technologies as well, showcasing them at its “Green Your Fleet!” event. More than 100 public- and private-sector fleet managers attend the event, which covers topics such as electric vehicles, biodiesel, idle reduction, and fleet-management software.
“I love spreading the word about the coalition, and this event is always a whopping success,” Rebolledo said.

Get Involved With Clean Cities
Through the work of nearly 100 local coalitions, Clean Cities advances the nation’s economic, environmental and energy security by reducing petroleum use in transportation. Clean Cities is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy. Find out more at www.cleancities.energy.gov.

For more information about GSCCC, visit www.granitestatecleancities.nh.gov

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