RFA works with many fleets each year to assist them with meeting their federal requirements to purchase alternative fuel vehicles and ultimately use the fuel. Each year thousands of vehicles receive a federal fuel waiver from DOE because their alternative fuel of choice is not available within five miles or 15 minutes. While we cannot always close the loop and eliminate the option of a waiver, RFA has been successful in reducing the total number over the years. In fact, some fleets took the matter into their own hands as the federal government intended.
In 2003, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center installed a 5,000 gallon tank and dispenser for E85 (pictured at right). The fuel fell into the same situation as many of the public stations of that time; it was out of the way, not under a canopy and just inconvenient. The first month saw a total of 144 gallons. Not being deterred, NASA worked on this station, and ultimately opened a second station with a 10,000 gallon tank in 2006 on the other side of Kennedy Space Center. The two stations adopted new POS systems, altered the entry path for fueling with E85, educated drivers continually at the pump about FFVs and E85, distributed educational materials inside the stations, created informational decals and key tags for all FFVs, incorporated aggressive in-house media through emails and newsletters, and highlighted vehicles and fuel at Environmental Awareness Days.
Why did NASA take this approach? Why are they one of the leading fleets using E85? They had several goals in mind when they set on this path, but simply didn’t take no as an answer. They ultimately wanted to enhance NASA’s public image, minimize CO2 emissions, minimize fuel cost, fulfill government mandates, utilize the fuel that will be readily available for your fleet’s area of operations, and eliminate use of conventional hydrocarbon fuels. Lofty goals to say the least, but they were successful in accomplishing all of them.
Today, Kennedy Space Center is home to 545 FFVs that have collectively used more than 1.4 million gallons of E85. They are a sterling example for other fleets to follow.