Alternative Fuel

An alternative fuel vehicle refers to a vehicle that runs on a fuel other than traditional gasoline or diesel; any method of powering an engine that does not involve petroleum.

Strategies and Greenhouse Gas Reduction

  • Investigate the potential to provide financial incentives for the purchase of more fuel-efficient or alternative fuel vehicles: preferred parking stalls, reduced parking fees. By 2010-12, it is estimated that this strategy will cause a reduction in CO2 emission levels by 1,000 tons.
  • Establish City Fleet policy that requires the purchase of fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles for City use when available and when they meet the needs of the job. By 2010-12, it is estimated that this strategy will cause a reduction in CO2 emission levels by 200 tons.
    • The Fleet Manager is authorized to make the final decision on the most fuel-efficient and least polluting vehicle that is available for the task.
    • General Government plans to buy 50 hybrids before 2012
  • Provide electrical plug-in stations at all city-owned facilities for the public to use. By 2015-20, it is estimated that this strategy will cause a reduction in CO2 emission levels by 4,000 tons.

Cost to the City

Cost of providing financial incentives, purchasing of city fleet vehicles and electrical plug-in stations is going to be high.


  • General population
  • General government ratepayers
  • Tacoma public utility ratepayers
  • Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
  • Tacoma fleet operations (GG and TPU)
  • Tacoma police
  • Contractors who work on City construction jobs


  • Reduced fees or revenue collections on City budget.
  • Funding for initial cost difference between hybrid vehicle and standard gas alternative ($5,000 per vehicle).
  • Funding to complete retrofit of existing diesel vehicles.
  • Funding to provide electrical plug-in stations at all city-owned facilities


  • Reduce air pollution
  • Exhaust from excessive idling can be a health concern; ex: cancer, asthma
  • Financial benefits
    • Less expensive: reduced fuel bills 

Tacoma does not require any partners for implementation.


  • Need to acquire funding
  • Need to develop, enact, and set measures for policies

Success Stories
Portland, Oregon

Portland has implemented an objective to increase the use of highly fuel-efficient and alternative fuel engines in on-road and off-road vehicles as well as in stationary applications.

  • Government Actions
    • Purchase a minimum of 25 City and five county hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles with fuel efficiency of at least 45 mpg.
    • Increase the average fuel efficiency of passenger vehicles in the City and county motor pools to 35 mpg.
    • Implement EPA's "Best Environmental Practices for Fleet Maintenance" in the County's Fleet Services Shop.
  • Community Initiatives
    • Strongly advocate raising the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for new automobiles to 45 mpg and for light duty trucks to 35 mpg.
    • Work with the state to provide loans and other financial incentives to promote the purchase of 50,000 vehicles with fuel efficiency of at least 45 mpg by business, government, and individuals.
    • Encourage the use of low- or no-CO2 technologies in non-road vehicles and equipment, such as electric forklifts and medium-duty construction equipment.
    • Work with vehicle maintenance providers to educate consumers about the potential savings and impact on fuel consumption of maintaining vehicles properly and practicing fuel-efficient driving techniques.

Albuquerque, NM
On March 1, 2006, Mayor Chávez issued Executive Instruction Number 19 requiring that all City of Albuquerque motor vehicle purchases be alternative fuel vehicles. Ultimately, the City's target is for 100 percent of its rolling fleet to be powered with alternative energy sources.

Asheville, NC
In 2000, the City adopted an Alternative Fueled Vehicle Policy. Along with its State grant, partners, the City constructed and put into service a public access compressed natural fueling station in November 2005. Currently 23 alternative fueled vehicles are in service (CNG, electric and hybrids). Low sulfur diesel fuel also was purchased.

The City has realized emission reductions, fuel savings by decreasing its vehicle fleet by 70 vehicles and leadership in the community. The CNG fueling station cost was $400,000. The City received a $100,000 grant. Matching and Incremental costs at about 25 percent were paid from the General Fund and grants.