Clean Fuels, Vehicles, & Technologies




Advanced Technologies

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Diesel Retrofits

Diesel retrofits reduce emissions of existing diesel engines via engine re-powering or installation of after-burn technologies.  Examples include, but are not limited to: diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs), catalytic exhaust mufflers, catalytic converters, closed crankcase ventilation/filtration systems, active- or passive-regeneration diesel particulate filters (DPFs), and selective catalyst reduction technology (SCRT). Level 2 and Level 3 retrofit technology applications are preferred where possible, because they reduce particulate matter emissions by 50% or more in many 2009 and older diesel engines. On-road applications include buses, trucks, service and utility vehicles. Off-road applications include construction equipment and some post-2009 off-road engines are also eligible for retrofit.


Many diesel retrofit technologies have been verified or certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board or other such boards and agencies. Learn more about diesel retrofit technologies and verified technologies at:


Idle Reduction

Idle reduction technologies reduce fuel use and emissions by turning a vehicle’s engine off when it is not needed. There are two main types of idle reduction technologies: those that are installed as a component of a vehicle and those that vehicles attach to when parked.

Mobile idle reduction technologies include: advanced batteries that power on-board equipment while an on-road vehicle is stopped, direct-fired heaters, auxiliary power units (APUs), and automatic engine idle reduction systems. Excellent applications include on-road vehicles that may idle when stopped for extended periods, such as delivery trucks, school buses, police and other emergency vehicles.

Stationary technologies include truck stop electrification (TSE), generally used for Class 8 (tractor trailer) trucks.  TSE refers to a system that operates independently of the truck’s engine and allows the truck engine to be turned off. The TSE system provides off-board electrical power to operate an independent heating, cooling, and electrical power system or a vehicle-integrated heating and cooling system.

Click here for a list of idle reduction technologies.



Telematics systems lead to improvements in fuel efficiency (and hence, reduced emissions) by monitoring miles driven; fuel economy; idle time; driver behavior that can affect fuel usage, such as hard starts and stops; and status of onboard vehicle systems. Service charges (e.g., monthly subscription or service fees) exist in addition to equipment and installation costs.


Click here to learn more about advanced vehicle technologies and technology providers that serve the North Carolina market.



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Biodiesel is a renewable fuel that is made from vegetable oil, animal fat, recycled cooking oil, seed crops, and even algae. It is “pour and go” technology in that biodiesel is easily blended with petroleum diesel and can be used in any diesel engine. Blends are labeled with abbreviations such as B5, B20, or B100, where the number stands for the percentage of biodiesel in the fuel. For instance, B20 is 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel, and B100 is pure biodiesel.

Biodiesel reduces particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and unburned hydrocarbon tailpipe emissions. It also reduces overall greenhouse gas emissions. (AFDC) Fleets and drivers that use biodiesel also enjoy safety benefits. Biodiesel is non-toxic and biodegradable, so it’s safer for water and soil when spills happen. It’s also safer to use, handle, and store than petroleum diesel.

Like other alternative fuels, biodiesel is produced domestically — even locally. It reduces our need for imported oil and helps support local industry. North Carolina currently has five biodiesel plants that are each able to produce from one to five million gallons of fuel annually. Biodiesel has a very attractive energy balance ratio. According to a University of Idaho and US DA study, for every unit of fossil fuel energy that went into producing biodiesel, 5.5 units of energy are provided for use.

For more information:

1. Read the Biodiesel Fact Sheet

2. Join the “Friends of Biodiesel” listserve: A forum where biodiesel ‘newbies’ and experts can ask and answer questions about producing, distributing, and using biodiesel in North Carolina. Join now by sending an email to: with the subject line empty and only the following in the body (replace the brackets with your email address):

subscribe friendsofbiodiesel [EmailAddress]

What Vehicles are Available?

Almost any diesel engine purchased after 1993 can safely burn biodiesel without any modification at all. It’s not even necessary to empty your tank before switching to biodiesel, since biodiesel blends so easily with petroleum diesel. (AFDC)

Where Is Biodiesel?

You may be using biodiesel now without knowing it! A blend of up to 5% biodiesel can be included in regular ultra-low sulfur diesel without any labeling requirement. Higher blends can be found at 20 stations in NC. To view these locations check out our list of Biodiesel Retail Stations in North Carolina.


Additional Resources

Alternative Fuels Data Center

Alternative Fuel Tool Kit: Biodiesel Chapter

Biodiesel Case Study

Clean Transportation Buyers Book

Fleet Assessment

Incentives and Funding

National Biodiesel Board


Electric & Hybrid

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Electric vehicles aren’t a new invention; the first one was built in 1828! Today there are several types available to consumers.  Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) have both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, while a plug-in electric vehicle (PEVs) operation solely on an electric motor. HEVs can be substantially more fuel-efficient than conventional vehicles.  Testing has shown that electric vehicles can accelerate and handle just as well as — or even better than — comparable gasoline vehicles. They’re also quiet and more energy-efficient.


PEVs produce zero tailpipe emissions, and HEVs produce no tailpipe emissions when in all-electric mode. (AFDC) Cost- According to the U.S. Department of Energy (and based on North Carolina electricity prices), the average electric vehicle costs 3 cents per mile in energy costs. Meanwhile, a very efficient 40-MPG gasoline vehicle costs 9 cents per mile in gasoline, assuming gasoline of $3.50 per gallon. EVs have the benefit of flexible fueling: They can charge overnight at a residence, at a workplace, or at public charging stations. HEVs have added flexibility, because they can also refuel with gasoline or diesel. EVs are capable of using off-board sources of electricity, and almost all U.S. electricity is produced from domestic coal, nuclear energy, natural gas and renewable resources. Visit the Electric Vehicle Case Study to see a fleet that has successfully implemented electric vehicles into their mix.

What Vehicles are Available?

Several all-electric mid- and full-size vehicles are now on the market in the United States. The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center maintains a list of Electric Vehicles and technology providers that serve the North Carolina market. Please see the Clean Transportation Buyers Book for more details.


Where Can I Charge an Electric Vehicle?

There are currently over 160 public electric charging stations in North Carolina. The capabilities of the stations vary in charging speed, it is best to check ahead of time and ensure they meet your time requirements.



Where Can I Find More Information?

See our Hybrid Vehicle Fact Sheet and the Electric Vehicle Fact Sheet.

Advanced Energy

Alternative Fuels Data Center

Alternative Fuel Tool Kit: Electric Vehicles

Clean Transportation Buyers Book

Fleet Assessment

Hybrid Vehicle Overview Brochure

Hybrid Electric Vehicle Success Story

Incentives and Funding



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Ethanol is a fuel produced by fermenting organic materials like corn, grains, crop and forestry waste materials. Did you know that ethanol is already blended into 96 percent of gasoline in the United States? It’s likely that you’ve already used it in your car as virtually all regular gasoline in North Carolina is a blend of 10 percent ethanol!  A higher blend- E85 (85 percent ethanol / 15 percent gasoline) can be used in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs), vehicle that are capable of utilizing either E85, regular gasoline or any blend in between.

Vehicles running on ethanol fuels emit less carbon monoxide and other toxic chemicals than those running on gasoline. E85 also has fewer highly volatile chemicals resulting in fewer evaporative emissions. (AFDC) Ethanol is also a safer choice. E85 is more flammable than gasoline at low temperatures (32°F), but less flammable at normal temperatures. Pure ethanol is non-toxic, water soluble and biodegradable. Ethanol helps diversify our fuel supply and provides alternative markets for farmers.

What Vehicles are Available?

E10, a blend of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline, can be used in any gasoline vehicle without modification. E85, however, must be used in a flex fuel vehicle (FFV). Currently, over 50 makes and models are available at no extra cost to the purchaser.  FFVs may be identified by a yellow gas cap or a small badge as indicated in the accompanying images.

A  complete list of available flex fuel vehicles can be viewed in the E85 Flex Fuel Vehicles Guide.

Where Can I Purchase Ethanol?

Currently, there are ten E85 stations throughout North Carolina, view a complete list of E85 Retail Stations.

Additional Resources

Click here for a printable ethanol fuel fact sheet.

Alternative Fuel Tool Kit: Ethanol Chapter

Clean Transportation Buyers Book

Ethanol Case Study

Ethanol Station Guidelines

NC Biofuel Distributors & Producers


Natural Gas

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Most natural gas is extracted from gas wells or produced in conjunction with crude oil. Renewable natural gas can also be produced from decaying organic materials, such as waste from plants, landfills, wastewater, and livestock.  As transportation fuel, natural gas is compressed (CNG) or liquefied (LNG). With recent expansion of the U.S. natural gas industry, resulting in attractive pricing, it’s an excellent time to consider using this alternative to gasoline and diesel.

On an energy equivalent basis, use of CNG can reduce CO2 tailpipe emissions by 10% or more versus traditional fossil fuels, and lifecycle CO2 emissions by five percent or more (GREET). Assuming an annual mileage of 15,000 and a $1/gallon price difference, a pickup truck could save at least $1,000 in yearly fuel costs by driving on natural gas. CNG is considered safer than gasoline and diesel, because it dissipates away from the vehicle after a spill whereas gasoline and diesel will pool. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency over 90 percent of natural gas used comes from domestic sources compared to less than 50 percent of petroleum.


What Vehicles are Available?

Natural gas vehicle offerings from original equipment manufacturers have expanded from Honda’s Civic to pickups and vans from Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. Popular heavy duty applications for CNG include refuse, transit and school buses. LNG is moving into the long haul truck market.  Many light and heavy duty vehicles can be up-fitted to operate on CNG by companies that have received certification by the U.S. EPA.

The Center maintains a list of CNG technology providers that serve the North Carolina market.  See the Clean Transportation Technology Buyers Book for more details.

Where Can I Fuel a Natural Gas Vehicle?

A database of public CNG filling stations is compiled by the Alternative Fuels Data Center.  A list of natural gas stations in North Carolina can be found in the Natural Gas Vehicle Fueling Locations Guidebook published by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center.


Where Can I Find More Information?

Alternative Fuels Data Center

Alternative Fuel Tool Kit: Natural Gas Chapter

Clean Transportation Buyers Book

Fleet Assessment

Incentives and Funding

Light & Medium Duty Natural Gas Vehicles

Natural Gas Case Study

Natural Gas School Buses

Natural Gas Tractor Trailers

Natural Gas Transit Buses

Natural Gas Station Installation Guide

Natural Gas Vehicles for America

Natural Gas Vehicle Technician Map

Refuse Natural Gas Vehicles

A printable Natural Gas Vehicle Overview fact sheet is also available



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Liquefied petroleum gas (propane) vehicle
Propane, or Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), is a simple hydrocarbon byproduct of natural gas processing or crude oil refining. The commercial grade of propane for automotive use is known as HD-5 in North America and is also called Autogas.

As a low carbon fuel, LPG can burn cleaner than gasoline. Engines running on HD- 5 propane typically require less engine maintenance. Fleet fuel and operating costs can be reduced with private fueling stations. Propane has greater puncture resistance and lower flammability range than gasoline and diesel. 90 percent of LPG used in the United States is produced domestically (, whereas 40 percent of the U.S. petroleum demand was imported in 2010 (EIA).


What Vehicles are Available?

A variety of new light-, medium-, and heavy- duty propane vehicles are available as conversions or directly from Original Equipment Manufacturers.

The Center maintains a list of propane vehicle and technology providers that serve the NC market. See the Clean Transportation Technology Buyers Book for more details.


Where Can I Fuel a Propane Vehicle?

The Alternative Fuels Data Center maintains a database of LPG stations across the country. There are currently over 90 propane stations in North Carolina.


Where Can I Find More Information?

See our Propane Vehicle Overview or Propane Vehicle Success Story fact sheet.

Alternative Fuels Data Center

Alternative Fuel Tool Kit: Propane Case Study

Alternative Fuel Tool Kit: Propane Chapter

Clean Transportation Buyers Book

Fleet Assessment

Incentives and Funding

Propane Education & Research Council

Propane Finance Models