The Clean Transportation program propels the development, awareness and use of alternative fuels and advanced transportation technologies. Our education and outreach initiatives include workshops, meetings, conferences and communication campaigns highlighting the benefits of using clean transportation technologies. Our team provides technical assistance in the form of trainings and fleet assessments. Also included in our portfolio of work is the distribution of grant funding to help procure clean transportation vehicles and infrastructure.

Why It Matters

The use of fuels such as biodiesel, electricity, ethanol, natural gas, propane and other clean transportation technologies can help to reduce emissions, cut down on fuel consumption and even save money.  Our staff is helping to diversify fuel supplies and support cleaner, more vibrant local and state economies. The end result – cleaner air and greater energy security.


The Center is able to provide fleet utilization analyses to help fleets understand utilization across their fleet as a first step in fleet right-sizing or validating current vehicle count and mix.

A fleet utilization analysis can assist with projections for the capital replacement process. Through communication and understanding of trends and daily operations, it helps provide a better understanding of your customers and your fleet needs. Overall, it drives fleet efficiency.

A right-sizing analysis is to ensure that fleets have the optimal number of properly specified vehicles to fulfill their mission.

In some cases it justifies the need for vehicle count reduction or a need for vehicle count growth. It may also justify a need for a change in vehicle type or features. This analysis can help build a sustainable fuel efficient fleet.

The Center can analyze your fleet’s make-up and fuel usage patterns to make recommendations on the most cost-effective alternative fuels and technologies that your organization could use to become more productive and efficient. This can help your fleet save money while reducing emissions.

The Eco-Driving Training program was created to provide an overview of low-to-no cost driving behavior changes that can lead to fuel savings, increased efficiency, prolonged vehicle life, and reduced emissions.

We offer half-day, hands-on, fuel-efficient training sessions for organizations as part of our suite of Fleet Services. We can provide direct training for drivers as well as training for managers in how to effectively reinforce safe and fuel-efficient driving techniques. To receive your eco-driving certification and sign up for the online course, please contact Rick Sapienza.

Sustainable fleet practices provide a process of continuous improvement, fleet modernization, and impact and risk reduction.

From a management perspective, a sustainable fleet can be summed up simply with three words: energy, emissions, and efficiency. Building toward a sustainable fleet is a complex multi-aspect process that involves planning, understanding, learning, tracking, analysis, training, and organizational cultural change. Our staff can provide guidance and a road-map to building and managing a sustainable fleet.

Our staff can provide alternative fuel or transportation technology-specific training or a general overview of the variety of options available.

Training covers background, characteristics, safety, applications, considerations and best practices, success stories and business case studies, and marketplace availability and options. Topics include natural gas, LPG, electric vehicles (BEVs, HEVs and PHEVs), renewable fuels, biofuels, idle reduction technologies and telematics.

Tune in to a variety of Clean Transportation Program webinars, covering fleet management and alternative fuels led by experienced fleet managers and experts in the field.


Aside from clean fuels, there have been many advancements in active and passive technologies to help vehicles become more efficient and reduce their overall emissions.

Diesel retrofits, idle reduction equipment, and telematics are just a few of the technologies that fleets have successfully implemented into their vehicles to help improve performance. Diesel retrofits reduce emissions of existing diesel engines via engine re-powering or installation of after-burn technologies. Idle reduction technologies reduce fuel use and emissions by turning a vehicle’s engine off when it is not needed. Telematics systems lead to improvements in fuel efficiency by monitoring miles driven, fuel economy, idle time, driver behavior and onboard vehicle systems.

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel made from vegetable oil, animal fat, recycled cooking oil, seed crops and even algae.

It can easily be blended with conventional diesel in mixtures of 5% up to 100%. Biodiesel reduces greenhouse gases, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and unburned hydrocarbon tailpipe emissions.

Electric vehicles typically fall under three distinct categories: hybrid electric (HEV), plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) and electric (EV).

Hybrid electric vehicles contain both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles also contain both engines, but can be recharged from a wall outlet or charging station. Electric vehicles only contain an electric motor and are recharged from a wall outlet or charging station. EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions while HEVs produce no tailpipe emissions when in all-electric mode. Electric vehicles often cost less to own over the vehicle lifetime and even perform better than a traditional vehicle.

Ethanol is a fuel produced by fermenting organic materials like corn, grains, crop, and forestry waste materials.

Vehicles running on ethanol fuels emit less carbon monoxide and other toxic chemicals than those running on gasoline. Most gasoline contains a 10% blend of ethanol. However, consumers and fleets have the option to run a higher blend of 85%. Ethanol fuel is already blended into 96% of gasoline in the United States.

As a transportation fuel, natural gas can be either compressed (CNG) or liquefied (LNG).

Natural gas vehicles meet stringent 2010 federal emissions standards without utilizing diesel particulate filters which add weight and maintenance expense. CNG typically costs less than both gasoline and diesel at a $.50-$.70 less per gasoline gallon equivalent. Public and private natural gas refueling stations are widely available across the state of North Carolina for both light and heavy duty natural gas vehicles.

Propane, or liquified petroleum gas (LPG), is the world’s third most common vehicle fuel and has been used to run vehicles for decades.

Propane is typically stored as a pressurized liquid, both in its storage cylinders and on board vehicles. It has a high octane rating. The vast majority of the propane sold in the United States was also produced domestically, which supports the American economy.  Historically, propane has typically been cheaper than gasoline in the United States, though its prices do fluctuate. Propane vehicles can run cleaner than gasoline vehicles. Propane vehicles are readily available in light, medium, or heavy duty applications direct from the manufacturers or from third-party conversions.

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Recent News

Several Funding Opportunities Available to Advance Clean Vehicle Technologies Across the United States

By: Dawn Haworth, Communications Assistant The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) together have three major grant opportunities available to expand the implementation of zero-emission vehicles…

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The 50 States of Electric Vehicles: States Consider Pulling Back or Prohibiting Zero-Emission Vehicle Targets in Q1 2024

Raleigh, NC – (May 9, 2024) The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) released its Q1 2024 edition of The 50 States of Electric Vehicles. The quarterly series provides insights…

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NCCETC’s Heather Brutz Appointed to Transportation Research Board

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) proudly announces the appointment of Heather Brutz, NCCETC’s Clean Transportation Program Director, to the Transportation Research Board’s  (TRB) Standing Committee on Maintenance…

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2024 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference & Expo

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Forth Roadmap Conference

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Student health and academic improvements with clean school buses

Some citations for research and study literature show considerable improvements in student respiratory
health, academic performance, and student attendance when old diesel school buses are replaced with
cleaner engines or electric school buses. They emphasize the benefits of transitioning to cleaner and
more environmentally-friendly school buses.

The main points of these six studies are that
● Diesel exhaust causes cancer,
● Exhaust from diesel engine school buses can be higher inside than outside the bus,
● Retrofitting diesel school buses is not only beneficial for students’ health but also improves their
academic outcomes,
● Reducing school bus emissions is clearly associated with better academic performance, and
● Increasing the pace at which older, highly polluting buses are replaced positively impacts
student attendance.


Electric Vehicle Resilience Funding in North Carolina: Grants, Rebates and Tax Credits (Commercial and Public Sector Customers)

This comprehensive guide aims to demystify the array of incentives available for EV purchases and charging station installations statewide. From federal grants to utility-funded initiatives, the document outlines numerous financial avenues for those eager to embrace sustainable transportation solutions.

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Quarterly publication detailing legislative and regulatory actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure across the country. Includes a comprehensive review of state and investor-owned utility actions related to studies and investigations, regulation, rate design, market development, financial incentives, and utility deployment.



Heather Brutz

Clean Transportation Program Director


Alrik Lunsford

Clean Transportation Specialist


John Bonitz

Clean Transportation Specialist


Shelly Parker

Senior Project Manager


Alex Yoshizumi

Senior Project Manager


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Enhance your skills or begin a career change with one of our training classes!  The Center offers several training opportunities for professional development and the highest level of continuing education in renewable energy technologies.  Get started today. 

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