Kwik Trip wins ‘Natural Gas Vehicle Leadership Award’ – Retailer honored for building nation’s first truly alternative fuels station

Propane

The design of the station itself is a marvel, they said, because it incorporates 10 transportation fuels, including compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG), under a single canopy to achieve a one-stop fueling experience for the general public.

Kwik Trip currently has three locations offering CNG, which sells for between $1.59 and $1.79 per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) in Wisconsin, and plans to open five more stations this year. An additional 10 stations are slated to open in 2013.

Kwik Trip’s own natural gas vehicle (NGV) fleet will serve as part of the anchor load. The company maintains a fleet of about 400 vehicles that travel more than 18 million miles annually. It has just begun to transform its fleet and currently operates more than 20 NGVs ranging from light-duty vehicles to Class 8 trucks. The retailer is an activist for the NGV industry and strongly advocates the nationwide adoption of natural gas to be a standard fuel instead of an alternative fuel.

Kwik Trip operates a chain of 372 Kwik Trip, Kwik Star (in Iowa) and Kwik Trip Travel Center locations throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. Another 38 locations are tobacco outlets, as well as three Hearty Platter full-serve restaurants.

To viisit Kwik Trip’s natural gas webpage, please, CLICK HERE.

CSP Business Media recently named Kwik Trip CEO Don Zietlow as its 2012 Retail Leader of the Year. The chain also recently won the annual CSP-Service Intelligence Mystery Shop.

GE and Chesapeake Energy Launch CNG In A Box™ System at NACS 2012


GE (GE) and Peake Fuel Solutions, an affiliate of Chesapeake Energy Corporation (CHK), today launched the CNG In A Box™ system, which allows easier adoption of compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling options for large- and small-scale retailers. The solution was unveiled at the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) 2012 Annual Show.

Natural gas is an abundant, reliable and cleaner-burning source of energy for consumers and commercial users. A vehicle fleet operator that uses the CNG In A Box system for natural gas fueling instead of traditional gasoline fueling can save about 40 percent in fuel costs1. The CNG In A Box system is a plug-and-play on-site fueling solution that comes with everything retailers need to add low-cost natural gas fuel to their operations quickly and simply. This GE ecomagination™ qualified refueling option provides an easy, lower-cost fueling experience for consumers and a higher-margin solution for facility operators compared to gasoline or diesel.

“In collaboration with Peake Fuel Solutions, GE is developing infrastructure solutions to accelerate the adoption of natural gas as a transportation fuel,” said Mike Hosford, general manager—Unconventional Resources, GE Oil & Gas. “The CNG In A Box system is a unique fueling solution that brings together some of the best innovation from across GE to help fleet owners and everyday drivers realize the benefits of cleaner burning, abundant, more affordable natural gas.”

“After working extensively with GE to develop the CNG In A Box system, we are excited to unveil it at NACS and to the fueling industry overall. Combining Peake Fuel Solutions’ natural gas expertise and GE’s breadth of cross-industry technology capabilities will advance the use of abundant and affordable natural gas fueling solutions,” said Kent Wilkinson, vice president—Natural Gas Ventures, Chesapeake.

The CNG In A Box system compresses natural gas from a pipeline into CNG on-site at a traditional automotive fueling station or industrial location. CNG-powered vehicles such as taxis, buses or small trucks, as well as individual consumer vehicles, can then refill their tanks using a dispenser with the same look and feel as a traditional diesel or gasoline dispenser.

GE ecomagination Vice President Mark Vachon said, “Natural gas is produced at a relatively lower cost and is cleaner burning than gasoline or diesel fuel—natural gas vehicles can show an emissions reduction of up to 80 percent compared to gasoline vehicles2. Through ecomagination, we’ll continue to deliver to the industry innovative solutions that deliver both great economics and environmental performance, and the CNG In A Box system exemplifies this commitment.”

Financing for the CNG In A Box system is offered by GE Capital, providing competitive rates and flexible payment options. By combining an entire acquisition—including equipment, delivery and installation—into a single monthly payment, Peake Fuel Solutions’ customers can structure payments according to their cash flow and eliminate the costs and time associated with paying multiple vendors. With this solution, business owners can work with a single provider to acquire, finance and maintain their CNG In A Box system.

The CNG In A Box system’s 8 foot x 20 foot container is easy to ship and maintain due to its compact design. Its modular and novel design makes it plug-and-play on-site. Wayne, A GE Energy Business, manufactures the dispensers that deliver the CNG from the CNG In A Box system unit to vehicles. These alternative fuel dispensers feature PCI-compliant pay-at-the-pump technology for a familiar and secure fueling experience. Using the same dispenser and payment terminal interfaces as Wayne petroleum dispensers simplifies point of sale integration.

As part of this collaboration between GE and Peake Fuel Solutions, beginning in the fall of 2012 GE will provide more than 250 CNG In A Box systems for natural gas vehicle infrastructure.

To learn more about the CNG In A Box system, visit us online or stop by the Peake Fuel Solutions booth at the NACS show (booth #6101).

Ecomagination is GE’s commitment to imagine and build innovative solutions to today’s environmental challenges while driving economic growth. For more on ecomagination, please visit:www.ecomagination.com.

About GE

GE (GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.ge.com.

About Chesapeake Energy Corporation

Chesapeake Energy Corporation (CHK) is the second-largest producer of natural gas, a Top 15 producer of oil and natural gas liquids and the most active driller of new wells in the U.S. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the company’s operations are focused on discovering and developing unconventional natural gas and oil fields onshore in the U.S. Chesapeake owns leading positions in the Eagle Ford, Utica, Granite Wash, Cleveland, Tonkawa, Mississippi Lime and Niobrara unconventional liquids plays and in the Marcellus, Haynesville/Bossier and Barnett unconventional natural gas shale plays. The company also owns substantial marketing and oilfield services businesses through its subsidiaries Chesapeake Energy Marketing, Inc. and Chesapeake Oilfield Services, L.L.C. Further information is available at www.chk.com where Chesapeake routinely posts announcements, updates, events, investor information, presentations and news releases.

About Peake Fuel Solutions

Peake Fuel Solutions advances innovative fuel solutions with products and services that create demand for clean, affordable natural gas. A significant focus of PFS is to increase compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure across the U.S. Other PFS projects include development of on-road and off-road technologies that reduce emissions and dramatically cut fuel expenses for the trucking, maritime, rail and oil and gas industries. An affiliate of Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Peake leverages the expertise of other Chesapeake affiliates to implement many of its fuel solutions. Further information is available at www.peakefuelsolutions.com.

1 Assuming 25,700 miles per year driven, gasoline priced at $3.50/gallon and CNG at $2.09/gasoline gallon equivalent.

2 Calfornia Energy Commission – Consumer Education Center:http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/transportation/afvs/cng.html

ecomagination is a trademark of the General Electric Company

CNG In A Box is a trademark of the General Electric Company

© 2012 General Electric Company—All rights reserved

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50433209&lang=en

MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE:http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50433209&lang=en

SOURCE- CNGNOW.com

Natural gas vehicles pushed in La.

The push for compressed natural gas vehicles has gained some major traction with commitments from Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge and General Motors, but energy industry experts say federal incentives will be needed if real transformation is to occur.

“It is extremely nice to see that it’s actually here. A lot of times you talk about those things like they’re unicorns,” said Gifford Briggs, vice president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association. “But now they’re here …. I think that is a huge first step towards making it (CNG) a little more mainstream acceptable.”

The energy industry has felt good about the direction CNG has taken for a while, Briggs said, but the advent of mass-produced pickups that can run on natural gas or gasoline opens the door on a national scale.

Louisiana has seen CNG advances because of its Haynesville Shale natural gas formation, LOGA, the energy industry, and companies like Chesapeake Energy Corp., Encana Corp., Petrohawk Energy Corp. and Apache Corp., Briggs said. But trying to get Mississippi, Alabama and Florida and other states that don’t have the energy infrastructure to support CNG has been more challenging.

That may be changing. Twenty-two states are part of an effort, led by the governors of Oklahoma and Colorado, to encourage automakers to make more affordable CNG vehicles for state fleets. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has said the governors hope their efforts will help overcome some of the obstacles automakers face in producing a wider variety of CNG vehicles.

Oklahoma Energy Secretary Michael Ming said if the participating states could buy 5,000 CNG vehicles that would be great, but 1,000 is more likely given the current economic climate.

State government buys only about 40 percent of the public-sector vehicle purchases, Ming said. Municipalities and other political subdivisions account for 60 percent of sales.

If the municipalities — city and parish governments — tag along, the CNG sales could be significantly higher, Ming said.

Chris Knittel, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, described the states’ request as “interesting.”

The states presume the CNG vehicles available aren’t that affordable, Knittel said.

“There’s no magic wand that the automakers can wave that makes the CNG vehicles less expensive than gasoline-based vehicles,” Knittel said.

“But there are things that policymakers can do to level the playing field.”

States have to put policies in place with incentives that encourage consumers to switch, he said. Those incentives could involve making CNG fueling stations available, subsidizing vehicles or in-home fueling stations, or by lowering retail prices for natural gas.

Right now, the states aren’t guaranteeing anything to automakers, Knittel said.

“I think the states are just saying that if you build them, we’ll promise the consumers,” Knittel said. “I’m not sure that’s necessarily the case given the current structure of prices and the number of refueling stations around.”

There are roughly 1,000 fueling stations nationwide, and 123,000 CNG vehicles, Ming said.

In Louisiana, CNG vehicles make up less than 1 percent of the cars and trucks on the road, Briggs said. Nationwide, CNG vehicles are around 2 percent of the total.

But that can change if the state, local and federal governments and the private sector — the companies that operate fleets — work together, he said.

“I don’t think the federal government or the state government or the local government can do it by themselves, any more than I think the fleets can do it by themselves,” Briggs said.

But working together can make things happen, Briggs said. Just look at Lafayette, where the city-parish government and private sector have joined to make the state’s most aggressive move to CNG.

In July, Apache opened a public fueling station. The company also converted 15 of its vehicles in Lafayette, part of 300 conversions it will complete by yearend. The city-parish has converted five buses and announced plans to convert its entire fleet.

The city-parish is also trying to form a partnership with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the local school boards to convert all their vehicles, Briggs said. Acadian Ambulance is experimenting with CNG for its vehicles.

The East Baton Rouge City-Parish Government recently began looking into converting all of its vehicles to CNG. The city-parish expects the move will slash fuel costs, particularly for heavy-duty pickups and other vehicles that consume more fuel.

Chesapeake spokeswoman Katie McCullin said there is evidence across Louisiana that the state is leading the nation in natural gas usage.

For example, Shreveport has added 14 natural-gas powered buses, and Bossier City has added a second public fueling station. Holmes Honda in Shreveport and Bossier City received its first shipment of the Honda Civic Natural Gas, the only dedicated CNG vehicle now sold in the United States.

In total there are 10 public CNG stations in Louisiana, with more in the planning stages or under construction, McCullin said.

Chesapeake, a major player in the Haynesville Shale and other natural gas plays, is one of the leading proponents of CNG.

The Oklahoma-based company’s Fueling the Future Initiative is an effort to communicate how natural gas can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and end the United States’ dependence on foreign oil, McCullin said.

The company has a billboard off Interstate 10 near the state Capitol extolling the use of natural gas vehicles.

Chesapeake has participated and sponsored natural gas vehicle seminars nationwide and is converting its 5,000-vehicle fleet to CNG, McCullin said. UPS, Verizon Wireless, Waste Management, Disneyland Resorts and AT&T are also converting their fleets to CNG; in 2009, AT&T announced it would spend $350 million to buy 8,000 CNG vehicles.

McCullin said Chesapeake will also invest at least $1 billion over the next 10 years with Clean Energy, 3M Corp., GE and Sundrop Fuels in efforts to increase demand for CNG vehicles.

The work with 3M could revolutionize the design and manufacture of CNG tanks, the most expensive part of the CNG fueling system, McCullins said. The redesign is expected to lead to lighter, more durable and less expensive tanks.

Chesapeake expects these investments to be the tipping point that gives automakers the confidence to increase their production of CNG and liquefied natural gas vehicles, McCullin said.

Still, both Briggs and Knittel said federal incentives are needed if natural gas is to replace oil as a transportation fuel.

The federal government would be the best source for those incentives, Knittel said, because the benefits from CNG vehicles accrue to the nation, not just to the states.

Energy independence and a reduction in climate change help everyone in the United States, regardless of whether a Louisiana resident buys CNG vehicle, he said.

“When the benefits accrue to everyone, the best place to set the policies is at the higher federal level,” Knittel said.

Briggs said if the country wants to see “a monumental shift,” then Congress should pass the Natural Gas Act.

The act replaces CNG incentives that dropped off the books about three years ago, Briggs said.

That was about the same time that Louisiana passed its own CNG vehicle incentives, Briggs said.

Right now, with only the state incentives, a Louisiana consumer can recover the $10,000 it costs to convert to CNG in two years if he drives 15,000 to 20,000 miles a year.

Most people don’t drive that much, Briggs said. But if both federal and Louisiana incentives were in place, converting a vehicle would be free, and consumers would begin saving money instantly.

“You’re saving a dollar, a dollar fifty, two dollars a gallon,” Briggs said.

“That would register with the American public overnight.”

Briggs pays around 45 cents per gallon by fueling up at LOGA’s office station, he said.

At Apache’s Lafayette station, the cost is around $1.79 a gallon, which is still only about half the price of gasoline.

Briggs said there is enormous support for the Natural Gas Act, but he doesn’t expect Congress to pass the legislation anytime soon.

And Knittel said any new policies that involve handing out more money have little chance in Congress these days.

“Still, I could certainly see both sides of the aisle supporting CNG,” Knittel said.

The rhetoric from both parties suggests they would support natural gas vehicles, he said.

Meanwhile, the price of natural gas is lower than it’s ever been, and with shale gas so plentiful, prices are expected to remain low for some time, Knittel said. In the past, natural gas prices have been very volatile; the price might fall but no one expected it to stay there.

Now, natural gas is expected to remain at less than $5 per thousand cubic feet for the foreseeable future, Knittel said.

Briggs said the United States is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.

“We have more natural gas than we know what to do with. We’re trying to export it,” Briggs said.

The country has so much natural gas that it’s going to run out of storage capacity, Briggs said.

“I think if the federal government … is serious about eliminating our dependency on foreign oil, the only viable alternative is natural gas,” Briggs said.

Congress should pass the Natural Gas Act, he said.

“Let’s get it on the books, and let’s see if we can get started transforming America’s transportation infrastructure” Briggs said.

Source:  The Advocate

Looking to get a cng station? Check us out http://www.fenleynicolenvir.com/cng.html

Competing projects propose $500 home Cng Fueler

Eaton Corp. and General Electric Co. are working on competing projects to develop a $500 home natural gas fueling station, a product that could entice car owners to switch to a fuel whose price has plummeted because of shale drilling.

The companies’ efforts are part of a U.S. Department of Energy push to reduce the cost of such stations, which can sell for more than $5,000, and the time it takes to refuel as a way to attract more people to drive vehicles powered by compressed natural gas.

An affordable CNG station for homes could “revolutionize” how Americans commute, Dane Boysen, director of an Energy Department program to encourage use of the fuel in vehicles, said in a statement from Cleveland, Ohio-based Eaton.

“My hope is that these advanced technologies will enable us to use our abundant domestic supply of natural gas for transportation, diversifying our nation’s fuel and refueling portfolio for the future,” he said.

CNG is selling at retail for the equivalent of about $2.09 per gallon of gasoline, according to Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp., one of the nation’s largest producers of natural gas. Monday in Tulsa, the most common price of regular-grade gasoline was $3.39 a gallon.

Eaton said its technology will tap into a home’s existing natural gas system. The company is developing the home station with the University of Minnesota, funded in part by a $3.4 million Energy Department grant. The company said it will draw on its experience installing electric-vehicle charging stations across the nation.

GE said last week that it’s working with Chart Industries Inc. and the University of Missouri to develop a fueling station. The Fairfield, Conn.-based company received a $1.8 million Energy Department grant, according to Todd Alhart, a GE spokesman.

The Energy Department is also funding projects including storage tanks being developed by Ford Motor Co. and United Technologies Corp. in separate efforts.

Thanks to drilling technologies to recover the natural gas from shale rock, the market price of the fuel is about 80 percent lower than four years ago. Monday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas rose a penny to finish the trading day at $3.09 per 1,000 cubic feet.​

This article was first published by Tulsa World.

Germany plans construction of 50 hydrogen fuel stations by 2015

The Linde Hydrogen Center

The German Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development has signed a joint Letter of Intent with several industry partners to expand the network of fuelling stations from current 15 stations across the country. The letter forms part of the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP), in which Germany’s federal government will work with its partners; Air Liquide, Air Products, Daimler, Linde and Total Germany to expand the public network.

The German government’s own NOW GmbH (National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology) will coordinate the construction of the filling stations. The network of hydrogen filling stations accompanies the introduction of fuel cell vehicles that the automobile industry has announced for 2014/15.

Hydrogen Fueling

Partner, Daimler plans to be the first carmaker to start full commercial production of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, with plans to launch the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell by 2014.

Dr. Peter Ramsauer, Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Development, said: “Electric vehicles equipped with hydrogen fuel cells generate no harmful emissions. They also have a high range and can be refueled within minutes. To facilitate their introduction to the market, we need a network of filling stations that covers the major metropolitan areas and connects them to each other. We are therefore partnering with the private industry to setup a total of 50 hydrogen filling stations in Germany by the year 2015. By doing so, we create the basis for a demand-driven infrastructure for refueling hydrogen vehicles.”


Prof. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development: “Electric vehicles equipped with a battery and fuel cell will make a considerable contribution to sustainable mobility in the future. However, the success of fuel cell technology depends crucially on certain conditions being in place, such as the availability of a nationwide hydrogen infrastructure.”

Source – Petroleum Plaza

California and American West Top 2012 State Clean Energy Index

California is the top clean energy state in the United States for the third consecutive year, and the American West region continues to lead the national clean tech economy, according to a new ranking from industry analysts Clean Edge.

The 2012 State Clean Energy Index, the third-annual such analysis, aggregates various industry data into one scoring system. Overall scores are awarded on a 100-point scale based on three categories – installed technology (clean electricity, clean transportation, energy intelligence & green building), policy outlook (regulations & mandates, incentives), and invested capital (financial, human & intellectual).

#1 — California

California dominated the rankings with a 91.1 score, more than 10 points higher than the second-ranked state, even though it lost 4.2 points from 2011. The Golden State “has established itself as the world’s preeminent testing ground for clean technology of all kinds,” and led the country in nearly all aspects of market expansion, including new wind and solar, hybrid and electric vehicles (EV), and green building.

However, the state’s most notable achievement comes in attracting venture capital. California-based clean energy startups saw $9 billion in investment over the past three years, more than the combined total of all 49 other states.

#2 — Oregon

Oregon held onto its second-place rank, gaining 0.5 points for a 79.9 score. Clean Edge credits the state’s success to consumer-driven demand for clean tech products and services, the highest national participation rates for voluntary green pricing programs, the largest concentration of LEED-certified buildings, and one of the highest rates of hybrid-electric vehicles per-capita.

#3 — Massachusetts

Massachusetts jumped 4.3 points to retain its third-place rank with a score of 76.1. Clean Edge attributes the state’s strength to an existing base of energy efficiency measures, a $500-million infusion of venture capital investment in 2011, and the Boston metro region’s network of universities. The index considers this concentration of education and startups second only to Silicon Valley.

#4 — Washington State

Washington State, buoyed by a 9-point increase, jumped from sixth overall in 2010 to the fourth-ranked state in 2011 with a score of 69.0. This ranking was due to newly added wind capacity and strong hydropower output, which helped to generate more than 84 percent of all in-state electricity from low-carbon sources (up from 72 percent in 2010). In addition, the state’s focus on building out an EV charging network could make it an industry epicenter moving forward.

#5 — Colorado

Rounding out the top five was Colorado, which maintained the fifth-overall rank from 2010 with a five-point score increase to 65.1. Clean tech infrastructure continues to grow in the state, especially in green building, wind power, and solar photovoltaics. Interestingly, Colorado also checks in as the third most attractive destination for venture capital investment, thanks largely to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

National trends

Clean Edge also noted four impressive national trends:

  • Six states now generate more than 10 percent of their utility-scale electricity from wind, solar, and geothermal – twice as many as 2010.
  • Nearly two million hybrid cars are now registered in the U.S., and nearly 50,000 all-electric vehicles now ride our roads.
  • The 29 states with renewable portfolio standards (along with Washington, D.C.) now represent nearly two-thirds of the total national generating capacity.
  • Clean energy patents granted to U.S. entities exceeded the 1,000 mark for the first time in history.

Remainder of top ten

The index also highlights interesting factors that helped determine the rank of the rest of the top-ten states:

  • New York State (64.9) ranked sixth, generating more GDP dollars per kilowatt-hours consumed as a result of extensive energy efficiency measures, and the upstate region is a growing hotbed of clean energy R&D.
  • Illinois (59.8) ranked seventh, reflecting rural areas of the state’s focus on agriculture and biofuels development as well as Chicago’s leadership in green building and energy efficiency.
  • New Mexico (58.1) ranked eighth, due largely to the state’s growing importance to the solar industry and importance as a key market for PV deployment and technology development.
  • Vermont (56.5) ranked ninth on the strength of an environmentally minded population, high percentage of hybrid-EV deployment, and energy efficiency measures.
  • Minnesota (54.6) ranked tenth as a notable national leader in wind energy and biofuels. The state was one of only five in 2011 to generate 10 percent of its power needs from wind, and is among the highest national ethanol producers.

Even though national support for clean energy technology may be uncertain, state-level support remains strong and the green economy continues to grow. “The state-level scene shows a diversity that crosses political boundaries and regions,” said Ron Pernick, Clean Edge managing director. “The next decade will determine which nations, states, and cites lead in clean tech.”

Source: Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1d4mi)

Is it a Hybrid or Electric Car? In Massachusetts, Check The Plate

massachusetts electric car plate

These days, unless you’re an ardent fan of hybrid or electric cars, it can be pretty hard to tell them apart from their gasoline equivalents.

For the average motorist it isn’t an issue, but for first responders attending the scene of an accident, it’s important to know what a crashed car is powered by.

Which is why the state of Massachusetts is becoming the second state in the U.S. (after Hawaii)  to fit electric and hybrid cars with special license plates designed to warn recuse crews that they’re dealing with an electric or hybrid car.

The new license plates were introduced after the National Fire Protection Association recommended them as an additional precautionary measure to protect emergency workers.

prius crash

 “You want to make sure that it’s completely disabled,” Mark Sylvia, commissioner of the state’s Department of Energy Resources told Boston.com. “You want to make sure any issues relative to electric shock are addressed.”In the past, various states have employed different measures to protect fire-crews and first responders from mishandling electric and hybrid car crashes, ranging from specific training courses to smartphone electric and hybrid car identification applications.

It is hoped that Massachusetts’ approach will be easier to implement in the field, since first responders will only have to look for one of two different license plate designs.

It’s likely that some advocates will argue that the new plates only further alienate the public from hybrid and electric cars.

After all, gasoline cars are far more likely to burst into flames in an accident than a hybrid or electric car, both of which have sophisticated interconnection systems designed to make the car’s high-voltage battery pack safe in a crash.

But with high-voltage cabling often hidden behind panels and under floors, safety workers need to ensure the car’s battery pack is safe before using cutting machinery to rescue occupants.

By offering a visual prompt, Massachusetts hopes both car victims and rescuers remain safe at all times.

Massachusetts has already produced 17,600 of the specialized plates, which are available at Registry of Motor Vehicles offices statewide.

For new car owners, the plates will cost the same as any other regular plate, although owners of existing electric or hybrid cars can swap their plates free of charge for the official electric/hybrid plate.

How To Save Gas: Money Saving Tips

Rising gas prices got you down? Earth911 rounded up these tips from the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Alliance to Save Energy that can improve your gas mileage, save you money and help the environment.

The average U.S. household will spend about $3,325 to fuel its vehicles in 2012, according to the Alliance. But by performing simple vehicle maintenance and changing a few driving habits, the nonprofit estimates you can save as much as $1,347 on gas this year, based on an average national gas price of $3.65 per gallon.

1. Get A Tuneup

Savings from a basic tuneup: $18

Savings from an oxygen sensor repair: $1,297

Resolving both minor and major car maintenance issues could result in big gas savings. Repairing a car that is out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve gas mileage by an average of 4 percent. Fixing a more serious problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can boost your car’s gas mileage by as much as 40 percent.

2. Inflate Those Tires

Savings: $60

You can improve gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent by simply keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. For every 1 psi drop in pressure in all four tires, gas mileage decreases by 0.3 percent. Maintaining proper tire pressure also extends the tire’s useful life and supports safer driving.

How do you determine the right pressure for your tires? The DOE recommends locating the proper tire pressure on the sticker on the driver’s side door jamb, on the sticker in the glove compartment or in your owner’s manual. Do not follow the maximum pressure printed on the tire’s sidewall, the DOE advises.

3. Choose the Right Oil

Savings: $40

Not using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil on your car? Then you could be reducing your gas mileage by 1-2 percent.

In addition to opting for the manufacturer’s recommended motor oil, the DOE suggests looking for oil labeled as “Energy Conserving” on the American Petroleum Institute performance symbol to make sure the oil contains friction-reducing additives.

4. Ease Your Aggression

Savings: $973

Save money and prevent accidents by avoiding aggressive driving. Speeding, rapid acceleration and rapid braking can lower gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and 5 percent while driving in the city.

5. Slow Down

Savings: $216

In most cars, gas mileage quickly goes down when you drive above 60 mph. According to the DOE, you can expect to pay an additional $0.30 per gallon of gas for each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph.

6. Lighten Your Load

Savings: $40

Clear out your back seat and trunk of all the unnecessary items you’ve been lugging around in your car – camping equipment, kids’ toys and more. Carting around an extra 100 pounds can reduce your gas mileage by up to 2 percent.

7.Turn the car off

Pulled into the drive-thru or waiting in front of your friend’s house with the car engine on? Idling can waste a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on the engine size and your air conditioner use. Turn off your car when you’re parked, and it will only take a few seconds’ worth of fuel to restart your engine.

8. Link Your Trips

If you need to visit the dry cleaners, grocery store and library, combining these errands into one larger car trip – rather than making separate trips from your home for each stop – can save you both gas and time. Several short car trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as one multi-errand outing that covers the same distance when the engine is warm.

9. Beat the Traffic

Improve gas mileage and reduce your stress by avoiding rush hour’s stop-and-go traffic conditions, whenever possible.

10. Choose Vehicles Wisely

Have more than one car at home? Use the most fuel-efficient vehicle, especially for longer trips

11. Consider Carpooling

Share the ride – whether it’s your daily commute or a cross-country road trip – and you’ll reduce fuel costs, as well as wear and tear on your car. Carpoolers can take advantage of local High Occupancy Vehicle lanes, which are typically less congested and can further boost your mpg. Let websites like eRideShare.comCarpoolworld.com and Zimride help you coordinate your next rideshare online.

12. Try Public Transit

If you live or work near a subway, bus or train station, consider replacing a few of your local car trips with a ride on public transit, and you’ll avoid paying for gas altogether. Check out Earth911’s handy guide for getting started with public transportation.

Source : Huffington Post

Geothermal for your home- Benefits & Great Savings

Residential

A GSHP system can be installed in a residential structure of any size, anywhere, whether it is single-family or multi-family. GSHPs can be installed on almost any size lot: under lawns, landscaped areas, driveways, or the house itself. An existing house can be retrofitted with a GSHP using the ductwork that is already there. Your dealer/installer will be able to determine ductwork requirements and if any minor modifications are needed. Home builders and homeowners can both take advantage of the special financing that is offered in many locations on a GSHP either through the utility or manufacturer.

The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have both endorsed ground source heat pump systems as among the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly heating, cooling, and water heating systems available. In a 1993 report, the EPA concluded that geothermal technologies represent a major opportunity for reducing national energy use and pollution, while delivering comfort, reliability and savings to homeowners.

Ground Source Heat Pumps offer great benefits:

  • Can be a combination heating/cooling and hot water heating system
  • Some can save you up to 50% on your water-heating bill by preheating tank water
  • Made of mechanical components that are either buried in the ground or located inside the home
  • About the same size as a traditional heating/cooling unit
  • Pipe carries up to a 50-year warranty
  • Can cut energy consumption by 20 to 50% and reduce maintenance costs
  • Keep the air warmer in the winter (90 -105¡ F) and at a more consistent temperature throughout the home, eliminating the hot and cold spots common with other systems
  • Very quiet, providing a pleasant environment inside & outside the home
  • No noisy fan units to disturb outdoor activities
  • No exposed equipment outdoors; children or pets cannot injure themselves or damage exterior units
  • No open flame, flammable fuel or potentially dangerous fuel storage tanks

GSHPs offer great savings:

  • One of the most efficient residential heating and cooling systems available today
  • Heating efficiencies 50 to 70% higher than other heating systems and cooling efficiencies 20 to 40% higher than available air conditioners
  • Save money in operating and maintenance costs
  • Investments recouped in only a few years
  • Positive cash flow; energy savings usually exceed the cost of the system
  • Some utilities offer rebates or incentives to their customers who purchase GSHPs. To see what your state has to offer click here.
  • Many heat pump manufacturers, local utilities, and lending institutions have special financing for homeowners who are installing GSHPs

GSHPs are environmentally friendly:

  • Conserve natural resources by providing climate control efficiently and thus lowering emissions
  • Minimize ozone layer destruction by using factory-sealed refrigeration systems, which will seldom or never have to be recharged
  • Uses underground loops to transfer heat, with no external venting and no air pollution

Source – IGSHPA

Rev up the tapping of our own natural gas

Rev up the tapping of our own natural gas

Image
Chicago Tribune  – Monday, February 06, 2012

If you are going to transform American energy to address the national security and economic risks associated with our OPEC oil dependence, there is only one solution: move our natural gas reserves into transportation, with an emphasis on the heavy-duty truck and fleet-vehicle markets.

Free-market advocates argue that’s bad public policy. They fail to understand that OPEC is far from a free market. They’ll tell you we shouldn’t pick winners and losers in the transportation fuel segments. I say it’s time to pick America over OPEC. Let’s go with anything American. I’m fine with the battery, but remember, it won’t move an 18-wheeler.

Imagine the impact natural gas could have in solving our energy problem. Targeting heavy-duty trucks and fleet vehicles — about 8.5 million in all — could cut our OPEC oil dependence in half in 10 years or less.

Fortunately, while we wait for Washington policymakers to lead, the move to replace more expensive, dirtier OPEC oil, diesel or gasoline with cheaper, cleaner domestic natural gas is gaining private-sector support. At an event in Chicago last week, two leaders in the natural gas vehicle industry — Navistar and Clean Energy Fuels — announced a plan to aggressively develop a comprehensive system to build natural-gas truck engines and provide the infrastructure to fuel them.

Over-the-road trucks tend to run the same routes on the same schedule. Drivers stop in the same places to rest, eat and refuel. Putting natural-gas refueling stations along the major travel routes is a relatively minor logistical issue. Building natural-gas engines for those trucks will be a major job creator.

We’re a country awash in natural gas. Since 2008, the biggest shift in energy resources has been the enormous reserves of natural gas in the vast shale deposits in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Appalachia. New deposits are being tested in places like Iowa and Ohio, but even now, we have a 125-year supply of domestic natural gas literally under our collective feet.

On the world market, natural gas is selling from $12 per million cubic feet in Europe to $16 in the Middle East. The price in the United States? Less than $3 because of our massive reserves.

Getting that natural gas out of the ground and into our rolling stock is another major job creator. A recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP suggests that by utilizing America’s shale gas resources, “U.S. manufacturers could employ approximately 1 million more workers by 2025.”

America is sending nearly $1 million a minute out of the country to pay for foreign oil. We’re paying about $100 per barrel for foreign oil and, in the case of OPEC oil, often to nations that are hostile to our best interests.

With gasoline at the pump climbing toward $4 per gallon we might have thought energy would have emerged as a top-tier election year issue. In spite of the lingering threat to our economic recovery and our national security, it has not.

For more than four decades, every presidential candidate has said something to the effect of “Elect me, and we’ll be energy independent.” That’s four decades of failed promises.

Once we have serious fuel competition, we can control our energy destiny, have a better grasp on our energy costs and achieve what we’ve been promised for decades. To make that happen, we have to get on our own resources and in this case natural gas is an obvious winner.

T. Boone Pickens is founder and chairman of BP Capital.​

This article was first published by Chicago Tribune.