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

Submit Your Artwork for the 2020 “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest

North Carolina students from kindergarten through high school can submit their artwork for a chance to be featured on billboards across the state This Earth Day, show how you help…

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New Round of Grant Funds Available Through Clean Fuel Advanced Technology (CFAT) Project

For Immediate Release Media Contact: Shannon Helm, 919-423-8340, shannon_helm@ncsu.edu Project Contact: Rick Sapienza, 919-515-2788, resapienza@ncsu.edu New Round of Grant Funds Available Through Clean Fuel Advanced Technology (CFAT) Project Over $1,400,000…

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Webinar: The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas 2020 Announcement

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Climate Solutions for North Carolina Virtual Panel

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Powering Through a Pandemic: COVID-19, Economic Uncertainty, and Impact to the Global Energy Sector

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Fact Sheet: Electric Vehicle Charging

Learn all about electric vehicle charging types: AC Level 1, AC Level 2, and DC Fast Charging: Power levels, miles of range restored per hour of charge, cost, and more.


Fact Sheet: North Carolina Electric Vehicle Marketplace – Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles 2019/2020

Learn more about plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs) available on the market today by viewing a list of a wide variety of vehicles as well as their model, price, range, battery capacity, charging time and more.


Fact Sheet: North Carolina Electric Vehicle Marketplace – Battery Electric Vehicles 2019/2020

Learn more about battery electric vehicles (BEVs) available on the market today by viewing a list of a wide variety of vehicles as well as their model, price, range, battery capacity, charging time and more.



Rick Sapienza

Director, Clean Transportation Program



Heather Brutz

Finance & Operations Manager, Clean Transportation Program



Allison Carr

Clean Transportation Specialist



John Bonitz

Clean Transportation Specialist



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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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