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Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Other than police and emergency vehicles, most trucks and cars used by towns are available as alternative fuel models –  typically compressed natural gas, hydrogen, ethanol, vegetable oil, methanol and/or electric.

The Federal Energy Policy Act (EPAct) mandates that a certain percentage of state vehicles use alternative fuel, but local municipalities are usually free to make their own purchasing decisions.

Nissan Leaf Charging

The Nissan Leaf is 100% electric, and according to the folks in Portland, gets the equivalent of about 114 MPG. 

In Bloomington – Normal, IL, EV Town is working to educate and promote the usage of electric vehicles within the community.


Since 2011, Portland, OR has been replacing its city vehicles with electric models, when possible.  As of April 2016, Portland had purchased 50 electric vehicles. Read their Case Study!

Plug-in NC is a non-profit located in North Carolina, promoting electric vehicles.  

Drive Electric Minnesota is a partnership of Minnesota’s electric vehicle (EV) champions, dedicated to encouraging the deployment of EVs and the establishment of EV charging infrastructure through public-private partnerships, financial incentives, education, technical support and public policy.


Plug-In America is a non-profit organization promoting the use of electric vehicles. Their extensive website has lots of useful information for municipal decision-makers.



[1] Maimoun, M., et al. (2016) Multi-level multi-criteria analysis of alternative fuels for waste collection vehicles in the United States. Science of the Environment, 550, 349-361

[2] Bae, C., & Kim, J. (2017). Alternative fuels for internal combustion engines. Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, 36(3), 3389-3413.

[3] Stokes, L. C., & Breetz, H. L. (2018). Politics in the US energy transition: Case Studies of solar, wind, biofuels and electric vehicle policy. Energy Politics, 113, 76-86.

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