NAFA urges DOE to rule on hybrid compliance credits

For more than three years, fleet managers who manage certain state government and utility fleets (covered fleets) have been unable to use hybrid vehicles to meet environmental mandates instituted by the Department of Energy regarding vehicle acquisition. Mandates currently require that 75 percent of a covered state fleet’s annual light-duty acquisitions must be alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) and AFVs must comprise 90 percent of vehicle acquisitions for utility companies. 

In a letter sent to Henry Kelly, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, NAFA Fleet Management Association states that the inability to use hybrid vehicles to meet such mandates is in clear conflict with the intent of Congress.

Section 133 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 directs the Secretary of Energy to allocate compliance credits not later than January 31, 2009 for the acquisition of a hybrid electric vehicle; a plug-in electric drive vehicle; a fuel cell electric vehicle; a neighborhood electric vehicle; or a medium- or heavy-duty electric vehicle.  To date, no proposed or final regulation has been published.

“We understand that the agency’s position is that the rulemaking ‘is in progress,’” said NAFA’s Executive Director, Phillip E. Russo, CAE.  “Unfortunately, this is what covered fleets have been told for more than three years.  During this time, covered fleets have had to incur increased compliance costs and associated burdens in order to meet their acquisition requirements. 

“DOE’s delay also is not in the spirit of the Administration’s goal of having one million plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles on the road by 2015,” continued Russo.  “On March 31, 2011, President Obama announced that the Federal Government will lead by example in replacing older cars in the federal fleet with fuel efficient hybrids and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, reducing our dependence on foreign oil as well as cutting carbon dioxide and other pollution.  State and utility company fleets will welcome the opportunity to also ‘lead by example.’”

Fleet managers are under pressure to plan out their compliance strategies for the acquisition of vehicles, but are largely unable to sufficiently do so without clear direction from the Department of Energy.  NAFA urges the DOE to act expeditiously on this rulemaking to avoid further delays.  In the letter, NAFA requests that the rulemaking is completed in time for covered fleets to utilize hybrid credits for the 2012 model year.  If for whatever reason such a commitment is not possible, NAFA asks that the DOE consider suspending enforcement of 10 C.F.R. 490 for Model Year 2012 and succeeding model years, until the required rulemaking is promulgated.

NAFA Fleet Management Association retains experienced legislative representatives in Washington, DC and Ottawa, ON to coordinate vital information on laws, regulations, and other government activity relating to fleets.   As the largest fleet management association in North America, NAFA helps serve as the collective voice of the industry.  NAFA Members include professional fleet managers of corporate and government fleets, many of whom are subject to the environmental acquisition requirements set forth by the DOE.  The Association’s legislative team works diligently to keep membership up to date on legislation which may affect them and their fleet, and often plays an active role in helping to shape pending legislation.