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DOE Cancels EPACT Mandates for Private and Local Government Fleets

February 23, 2004

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has published a final rule, announcing that it will not adopt mandates that require private and local government fleets to acquire alternative fueled vehicles, the National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA) reported on Feb. 17.DOE's decision is based on its findings that mandates would not appreciably increase the percentage of alternative fuel and replacement fuel used by motor vehicles in the United States and thus would make no more than a negligible contribution to the achievement of the replacement fuel goals set forth in the Energy Policy Act.This decision by DOE confirms arguments raised by NAFA members and association representatives. The decision was made possible through NAFA's efforts to assure that the original legislation, enacted in 1992, provided meaningful documentation that obstacles to alternative fuel use were removed before mandates could be imposed on fleets. Ultimately, the facts documented that there was no appropriate cost/benefit measure and substantiated NAFA's arguments that additional fleet mandates would not significantly reduce American dependence on fossil fuels.DOE's final decision was based, in part, on findings that market conditions would not support a private and local government fleet mandate. "Those conditions, which are likely to persist, are: 1) lack of ready access to sufficient alternative fuel infrastructure; 2) limited availability of suitable AFVs; and 3) high alternative fuel costs (for certain fuels) relative to the costs of conventional motor fuels," DOE said in the Federal Register notice. "On the basis of the foregoing, DOE today determines that a private and local government fleet requirement program is not 'necessary' under the standards set for in EPACT...and therefore, will not be promulgated," DOE said.
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