Map courtesy of Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Map courtesy of Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is offering $7.7 million in grants to replace older diesel vehicles with new alternative-fuel and hybrid vehicles.

Eligible alternative-fuel vehicles are limited to those powered by electricity, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), hydrogen, propane autogas (LPG), or a mixture of fuels containing at least 85% methanol by volume (M85).

A hybrid vehicle is defined by the commission as a motor vehicle with at least two different energy converters and two different energy storage systems, such as electric-diesel or electric-gasoline.

Grants under the TCEQ Texas Clean Fleet Program, which are part of the Texas Emission Reductions Plan, are offered to eligible entities with a fleet of 75 or more on-road vehicles that are currently registered in Texas and intend to replace at least 20 on-road diesel vehicles. Projects must result in at least a 25% reduction of emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx).

Grants may be awarded for up to 80% of the purchase costs of the new vehicle. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis with projects ranked according to the cost per ton of NOx reduced by the project.

In 2013, the City of Austin received almost $2.3 million to replace 20 on-road garbage trucks.

Recipients must agree to operate the grant-funded vehicles for a defined percentage of the annual mileage in the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria area, Dallas-Fort Worth area, Beaumont-Port Arthur area, Tyler-Longview area, Austin area, San Antonio area, El Paso area, Corpus Christi area, or Victoria area for five years or 400,000 miles, whichever occurs earlier.

The application deadline is Oct. 3.