Petroleum use and vehicle emissions are taking a hit in the mountain communities of western North Carolina, where the Land of Sky Clean Vehicles Coalition (LoSCVC) recently received official designation by the Department of Energy (DOE) as a Clean Cities coalition.
LoSCVC is housed within the Land of Sky Regional Council in Asheville, N.C., and works with fleets, fuel providers, and other transportation decision makers in a five-county area to expand the use of alternative fuels, advanced vehicles, and other sustainable transportation strategies. In 2011, the combined work of LoSCVC’s nearly 100 stakeholders saved more than 500,000 gallons of petroleum.
“We’ve made significant progress over the last few years, and we’re very excited about being an official part of the Clean Cities program,” LoSCVC Coordinator Bill Eaker said.
LoSCVC stakeholder Mountain Mobility, a paratransit service in Buncombe County, N.C., operates more than half its fleet of 40 vans and shuttle buses using compressed natural gas (CNG) or propane autogas. And, as part of the Carolina Blue Skies and Green Jobs Initiative, LoSCVC has doubled the capacity of two existing publicly accessible CNG stations and helped public- and private-sector fleets deploy 37 CNG vehicles in the area.
Biodiesel and electric vehicles (EVs) are gaining traction, too. LoSCVC stakeholders have installed 40 EV charging stations in 20 locations. The City of Asheville Police Department’s Chevrolet Volt uses naturally abundant sunshine when it plugs into a solar-powered charging unit.
Asheville-based Blue Ridge Biofuels recently passed the 1-million-gallon mark in its sales of biodiesel, which it produces from used cooking oil collected from 300 local restaurants. LoSCVC is working with the company to increase production through partnerships with additional restaurants and local governments.
“A lot of people move to this region because of its natural beauty, and they want to protect air quality and other natural resources in the mountain landscape,” Eaker said. “Efficient vehicles and alternative fuels are great ways to help.”
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 LoSCVC, e-mail Bill Eaker at [email protected] or visit www.cleanvehiclescoalition.org.