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Alternative Fuel Vehicle Data

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Alternative Fueled Vehicle Data 2015

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) publishes annual data about fuel use and the number of vehicles in inventory for four types of alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) fleets: federal government, state governments, transit agencies, and fuel providers. The total inventory and fuel used by these four types of fleets do not represent the U.S. total for AFV inventory and fuel use. These values should not be aggregated.

Federal agencies

In 2015, the federal fleet maintained an inventory of nearly 200,000 AFVs. A total of 97% of these vehicles are E85-capable flexible-fueled automobiles, SUVs, and trucks. The U.S. Postal Service accounted for more than 44,000 of the 166,000 light-duty E85 vehicles in the fleet. One reason for such a large overall number is refueling costs. The price of E85 changed drastically after January 1, 2012, when a federal subsidy of 38 cents per gallon began, which made E85 far less expensive at the pump than standard E10. A second reason is that E85-capable vehicles have historically been the most widely available AFV for fleets to meet the federal mandates and executive orders that require AFV acquisition and alternative fuel use.

State agencies

State agencies have similar shares of vehicle types as the federal government. Most of the 137,000 AFVs in the total state fleets are light-duty vehicles, and 86% are E85-capable. Similar to the federal fleets, state agencies tend to use flexible-fuel vehicles to save money at the pump and to reduce the impact of the state fleets on energy consumption and the environment.

Transit agencies

Transit agencies primarily have heavy-duty buses for mass transit in metropolitan areas. Of all alternative-fuel buses in use, natural gas is by far the most prevalent in fleets. In 2015, transit agencies reported an inventory of slightly more than 14,000 AFVs, and about 10,000 of those AFVs were heavy-duty buses that consumed 132 million gasoline equivalent gallons of natural gas. Natural gas-powered vehicles require less maintenance than standard-fuel vehicles because of cleaner burning engines, which allows for lower emissions and cleaner environments.

Fuel providers

Fuel providers are companies whose products also qualify as alternative fuels (i.e., electricity, natural gas, and propane). With some exemptions, under federal law these companies must include AFVs in their annual purchases of light-duty vehicles. Of the 42,500 AFVs reported in use by fuel providers in 2015, nearly 70% were E85 flexible-fuel vehicles. Flexible-fuel vehicles are the most readily available light-duty vehicles on the market, and fuel providers have shown steady growth in AFVs from 2010–15.

What is the AFV data collection requirement?

Under the Energy Policy Act of 1992 EIA must collect three kinds of AFV data:

  1. The annual inventory of AFVs in use
  2. The fuel consumed by AFVs
  3. The annual supply of AFVs made available by original equipment manufacturers and conversion facilities

EIA's two AFV data collections (Form EIA-886)

  1. EIA collects data about fuel use and number of vehicles predominantly from fleets. Because EIA's data collection did not produce enough survey coverage for local and municipal governments, private fleets, and household vehicles, EIA only publishes the fuel use and the number of vehicles for four fleets:
    • Federal government agencies
    • State government agencies
    • Transit agencies
    • Fuel providers (for example, companies that sell natural gas, electricity, or propane must have fleet vehicles that use alternative fuels.)

    Because EIA only publishes four fleets, we no longer publish national totals on the number of vehicles or on fuel consumption.

  2. EIA collects data on the supply of AFVs from two types of suppliers:
    • Original equipment manufacturers
    • Aftermarket vehicle converters

The supply of AFVs (either manufactured or converted) also includes vehicles such as gasoline-electric hybrids and diesel-electric hybrids. These data are published in the Supplier data section, but they are not included in the User data section because they are not considered alternative fuel vehicles under the Energy Policy Act of 1992.

Released April 13, 2017