DRIVE: California's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program

Fleet Upgrades

Why Green Your Fleet?

Fleet vehicles are driven 2 to 7 times the miles of the average passenger vehicles, consuming more fuel and emitting more greenhouse gas (GHG) and criteria emissions. Making the choice to upgrade corporate fleet vehicles to alternative fuels provides great opportunities to put large numbers of cleaner alternative fuel vehicles on the roads and help improve operational efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

There are many compelling reasons to upgrade your fleet with alternative vehicles:

  1. Reduce Emissions. Petroleum-fueled medium and heavy-duty vehicles generate nearly half of all vehicle GHG emissions so upgrading your fleet provides a measurable way to reduce your company’s carbon emissions.
  2. Be Independent. Transitioning to alternative-fueled vehicles helps decrease our dependence on petroleum, advancing our energy security.
  3. Make a Positive Statement. Cleaner vehicles make a positive statement to customers and the public. The public notices.
  4. Lower Costs. Many fleet operators and individuals have reported lower overall operational costs after upgrading to alternative-fueled vehicles.

You have options. No one fuel or technology is the single answer to all fleet applications. Natural gas and propane vehicles, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles, E-85 vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can all play a role in fuel-efficient fleet upgrades.

Begin a Green Fleet Program

Before you upgrade your existing fleet or purchase even a single alternative-fueled vehicle, maximize what you have through efficient fleet management techniques.

  1. Plan Trips First. Use efficient route planning tools, such as Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation software, to reduce the number of miles driven before getting behind the wheel.
  2. Drive Smart. Educate your drivers to be more fuel efficient on the road. Fuel costs are high and improving mileage starts with improving driving habits – smooth, steady and stop.
  3. Peak Operation. Proper maintenance increases engine efficiency. Routine maintenance is key, including proper tire inflation, changing oil filter and sparkplugs, and maintaining engine and fuel management systems.
  4. Technology Works. Take advantage of new technologies such as GPS navigation and fuel management software to help cut fuel consumption and decrease emissions. Reduce an engine’s idle time, accurately monitor speed, and maximize routine maintenance.
  5. Cut Resistance. Improve existing performance by replacing or retrofitting your vehicles with aerodynamic technologies and low rolling resistance tires.
  6. Go for More. Develop corporate-wide procedures for purchasing vehicles that consider fuel efficiency and alternative fuel.
  7. Get a Rebate. Take advantage of incentives from local, state and federal agencies and vehicle manufacturers. A good place to start is the Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center.

Resources for Improving Fuel Efficiency

Vehicle Buy-Down Incentives for Propane and Natural Gas

The Energy Commission offered buy-down incentives for natural gas and propane on-road vehicles from the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. Reservations were accepted from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and their designated dealer distributors for incentives at varying levels depending on the class and fuel type of the vehicle. This vehicle buy-down program helped to reduce the high initial price of natural gas and propane vehicles and assisted public and private fleets and individual consumers in making the decision to purchase vehicles powered by non-petroleum, lower-carbon, alternative and renewable fuels.

For more information or program status updates, email

Clean Vehicle Rebate Project

Funded by the California Air Resources Board and implemented by the California Center for Sustainable Energy, the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project encourages and accelerates zero-emission vehicle deployment and development innovation. The Energy Commission has contributed $19.5 million to augment this program in 2011, with an additional $17.5 million allocated for the 2012-13 fiscal year. For more information or to apply for a rebate, visit the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project website.

Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Program

Administered by the Air Resources Board, the Energy Commission has provided $4 million for commercially available hybrid electric and zero emission trucks and buses. Learn more about the California Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Program.

Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program

If your fleet moves products, contact your local air district and ask about the Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program. Find your local air district at the CAPCOA website.

Additional Resources for Greening Your Fleet

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