On this page
- State of Colorado offers $60 million in incentives for electric, CNG vehicles and fueling
- Step Up CNG in Mesa County
- Mesa-Garfield CNG Rolling Tour promotes natural gas
as an economical vehicle fuel
- Background on Refuel Colorado Fleets
Express your interest in purchasing CNG vehicles
to support a new CNG fueling station
in Glenwood Springs, Colo.
Grants, tax credits to drive up use of domestic fuels
Grants offered by state agencies plus expanded state tax credits have put $60 million on the table for alternative fuel vehicles and fueling station infrastructure in Colorado. It’s a significant number, representing 21 percent of gasoline and diesel sales in Colorado in 2013.
State of Colorado funding
Colorado Energy Office (CEO) fueling station grants: $15 million
CEO / Regional Air Quality Council vehicle grants: $15 million
State income tax credits (2014 & 2015): est. $10 million
Local governments, businesses and individual motorists stand to benefit from the combined state-level push to drive up use of electric, propane and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles.
Through its alternative vehicle expertise and policy work, CLEER is a key player in this statewide effort.
The Colorado Energy Office has also awarded to CLEER a six-month extension of Refuel Colorado Fleets. It’s a pilot program to provide free energy coaching for fleets to make the switch to alternative fuels. The program will now run through Dec. 31, and expand from nine counties to 14.
“The State of Colorado is offering an impressive amount of money in grants, tax credits and free energy coaching for fleets in order to ramp up our use of electricity, propane and natural gas as transportation fuels,” said Mike Ogburn, Energy Engineer with CLEER and manager of the Refuel Colorado Fleets program.
DOLA’s Alternative Fuels Initiative
In July, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs rolled out its Alternative Fuels Initiative, a $20 million offer to local governments to buy down the cost of alternative fuel vehicles for their fleets. The Initiative grew out of a proposal that CLEER made to DOLA in 2013, suggesting an alt-fuels grant program for local governments that would complement the income tax credits available to private sector vehicle buyers.
“It is exciting to see how CLEER’s ideas and efforts, together with the resourcefulness of leaders in state government agencies, are being combined to deliver big environmental and economic benefits to Colorado,” Ogburn added.
DOLA amended its rolling stock policy in March to allow energy impact grants for vehicles powered by domestically-produced alternative fuels. It announced the Alternative Fuels Initiative in June to fund $20 million in grants, offered separately from its regular, priority-based energy impact grants. Applications for the first round of funding are due Aug. 1.
The DOLA grants will cover the premium cost for an alt-fuels vehicle vs a traditional vehicle, which can range from $4,500 for a plug-in hybrid passenger car, to $10,000 for a light-duty pickup or an all-electric vehicle, to as much as $40,000 for a heavy-duty dump truck, refuse truck or transit bus. The local match for the grant will be the base cost of the vehicle.
DOLA’s initiative may also be used to fund a local government’s share of alternative fueling infrastructure, such as a transit bus or refuse truck fueling facility, and for projects to develop alternative fuel resources, such as the City of Grand Junction’s methane-capture-to-CNG project at its wastewater treatment plant.
CEO’s Alternative Fuels Colorado
Meanwhile, the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) is using a $30 million Federal Highway Administration grant awarded last winter for a four-year program to fund vehicles and fueling stations, called Alternative Fuels Colorado.
CEO is using $15 million from the federal grant to help fund equipment costs for new CNG fueling stations around the state. These stations typically cost $1 million or more, and grants of up to $500,000 are being offered to station developers. Applications for the first round of funding were due last week.
CEO and the Denver-based Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC), an intergovernmental partnership, are using the other $15 million to buy down the cost of alternative fuel vehicles for fleets and individual drivers. This program is only for Colorado’s air quality non-attainment area, which covers the heavily populated Front Range, including Fort Collins, Greeley and the Denver metro area.
The RAQC and DOLA vehicle grant programs will not overlap geographically. The RAQC grants are offered to private sector and local government vehicle buyers along the Front Range, while DOLA’s program is offered to local governments in the rest of Colorado.
Expanded state tax credits
Topping off these programs are an estimated $10 million in income tax credits that can be claimed by private sector vehicle buyers statewide for the purchase of alternative fuel vehicles. Legislation passed this year, House Bill 1326, expanded the types of vehicles eligible for the tax credit to include medium- and heavy-duty trucks, and raised the cap to $15,000 for medium-duty and $20,000 for heavy-duty trucks. Previously, a tax credit enacted in 2013 capped the credit at $6,000 for all vehicles.
The new credit is expected to cost the state $10.5 million in fiscal years 2014-15 and 2015-16. The credits taper off after 2016, but continue through 2021. Legislators made the new credits revenue-positive by ending a sales and use tax exemption for low-emission heavy trucks — unless they run on alternative fuels such as CNG or LNG. That exemption was costing the state about $6 million a year, while the new tax credits are expected to cost about $1 million per year less.
Organizations are joining forces to promote CNG vehicles, build a second CNG station, and support CNG sales and service at local auto dealers
This year, organizations in Mesa and Garfield counties are joining forces to build widespread market demand for compressed natural gas (CNG) as a vehicle fuel. CNG is a domestic energy source that costs less than petroleum, has lower price volatility than gasoline and diesel, and produces cleaner tailpipe emissions.
Drivers in Mesa County spend $100 million per year on foreign oil, and driving on CNG can help keep those dollars in our economy. CNG is a win-win form of economic development for Mesa County.
If your business or organization could benefit from lower annual fuel costs and cleaner air, and if you support the use of domestic energy sources, please join this effort to make the switch to CNG.
Resources for Mesa County fleets and business leaders
- One-page fact sheet: Let's Step Up the Use of CNG in Mesa County
- March 12 presentation slides from Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce Energy Committee luncheon: Capturing Economic Benefits of CNG in Mesa County (3.5 MB)
Photo courtesy Encana Natural Gas Inc.
Encana Natural Gas Inc. and local elected officials cut the ribbon on Encana's new compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station
July 23, 2013
Refuel Colorado Fleets, a pilot project to boost the use of alternative fuel vehicles in public and private sector fleets, announced that communities within nine Colorado counties have been selected for the project.
Counties selected for the year-long pilot are Routt, Larimer, Boulder, Jefferson, Adams, Garfield, Mesa, Montezuma and La Plata.
Energy coaches employed by four community-based nonprofits will help business and government fleet owners work together with auto dealers, fuel providers, business leaders and local governments in the nine counties to pursue or expand use of alternative fuels.
"The Refuel Colorado Fleets energy coaches will support the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles,” said Jeff Ackermann, director of the Colorado Energy Office. “Each community will determine what makes sense for them, be that electric, natural gas, propane, or other vehicle types. Each of these provides economic and environmental benefits, making this an exciting project.”
Energy coaching will be done by Northern Colorado Clean Cities, Denver Metro Clean Cities, Garfield Clean Energy and Four Corners Office for Resource Efficiency. The pilot project is being led by CLEER: Clean Energy Economy for the Region, a Carbondale nonprofit with expertise in alternative fuel vehicle technology, energy coaching and community engagement.
The four nonprofits will use energy coaching techniques already being used by CLEER to help households and businesses carry out energy efficiency upgrades in homes and commercial buildings. Energy coaching delivers a proven success rate of 70 percent or higher in helping property owners actually carry out efficiency upgrades, said Mike Ogburn, energy engineer for CLEER.
The Refuel Colorado Fleets pilot project will apply these same energy coaching techniques to the evaluation of existing fleets, to reduce petroleum use and save money by using alternative fuel vehicle options.
A U.S. Department of Energy grant to the Colorado Energy Office is funding the project.
"Colorado has built a strong reputation as a leader in renewable energy and other innovative industries,” said U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. “Refuel Colorado Fleets' work on these projects in counties across the state only enhances that reputation. "There is great promise in alternative fuel vehicles and these types of programs help proliferate their use and allow communities to see how best to implement proven green technologies."
The nine counties were selected following a two-month survey of 21 cities and counties in western Colorado and along the Front Range. Southern Colorado Clean Cities, based in Colorado Springs, also participated in the survey effort.
“We selected the nine counties after finding a good match between three key aspects: fleet vehicle needs, auto dealer interest in alternative fuels, and viability of developing public refueling facilities,” said Ogburn.
“Not all fleet vehicles can be replaced by an alternative fuel vehicle, some auto dealers were more interested than others, and the availability of alternative fuels varies by region,” said Ogburn. “Our survey found communities with the best overlaps in these three areas, and the energy coaches will help those communities accelerate the shift to alternative fuels.”
In the coming weeks, energy coaches will work with businesses and local governments in the nine counties to analyze their fleets, including miles driven and age, vehicle type and purpose, to determine the optimal alternative fuel to focus on.
“We want to help fleet owners understand the benefits of alternative fuels, such as less air pollution, less reliance on foreign energy sources, and lower costs for fuel and maintenance,” said Ogburn. “We’ll help them make wise buying decisions that will deliver a high return on investment.”
Refuel Colorado Fleets Energy Coaches
Contact the organization serving your area:
Garfield County, Mesa County
Garfield Clean Energy
Mike Ogburn, (970) 704-9200
Matt Shmigelsky, (970) 704-9200
Moffat, Routt, Larimer and Weld counties
Northern Colorado Clean Cities Maria Eisemann (970) 988-2996
Boulder, Adams, Jefferson, Denver and Summit counties Denver Metro Clean Cities
Tyler Svitak, (303) 847-0281
Southern Colorado Clean Cities
Tom Schuck, (719) 314-6204
La Plata County,
Gregg Dubit, (970) 259-1916 x114
Sarah Rank, (970) 259-1916 x120
Refuel Colorado Fleets Toolbox
What is Energy Coaching?
The Case for CNG
(2-page fact sheet)
The Case for Electric Vehicles
(2-page fact sheet)
Colorado state tax credits for alternative fuel vehicles
Colorado Department of Revenue Income 67
Revised April 2014
Refuel Colorado Fleets is funded by a larger grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to the Colorado Energy Office.
Other Colorado Energy Office projects include:
- Providing public information through a new website launching this fall
- Hosting stakeholder initiatives to remove barriers to alternative fuel adoption
- Incorporating alternative fuel vehicles in the state fleet
Gov. Hickenlooper proclaims July 2013
as Alternative Fuel Vehicles Month
Clean Cities organizations celebrate 20th anniversary
On July 1, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a proclamation declaring the entire month of July as Alternative Fuel Vehicle Month.
The proclamation celebrates the 20th anniversary of the nationwide Clean Cities effort led by the U.S. Department of Energy, and the 20th anniversary of the Denver Metro Clean Cities organization.
Since 1993, Clean Cities organizations have also formed to serve northern and southern Colorado. Clean Cities activists from across the state gathered for a Statewide Stakeholders Meeting on July 12 at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden.
The governor's proclamation notes that alternative fuel vehicles benefit the environment by reducing greenhouse gases and improving air quality, build energy security by shifting to domestic fuel sources, and support statewide economic development through jobs and market leadership.
To download the governor's proclamation, click here.
Refuel Colorado Fleets partners