Annual Petroleum Reduction Survey – The results are in!

In February, Greater Lansing Area Clean Cities conducted the Annual Petroleum Reduction Survey to measure strides the Tri-County region made to reduce petroleum consumption in 2010. The results from this survey offer valuable insight on trends and areas of interest throughout the past year. This information helps GLACC continue to support the region in increasing fuel and vehicle program diversity and facilitate clean transportation projects.

GLACC encouraged transportation stakeholders and fuel distributors from Eaton, Clinton and Ingham counties to participate in this year’s survey. Petroleum reduction was measured through categories such as alternative fuel and advanced vehicle usage, fuel economy improvements, reduction in vehicle miles traveled and idle reduction. As a reward, those who participated were entered in a drawing to win one of four $25 Meijer fuel cards that were donated to GLACC by Meijer.

GLACC is pleased to announce that the combined efforts of survey respondents reduced 1,151,083 gallons of gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) and decreased greenhouse gas emissions by 10,700 tons! This is a 300,000 GGE increase from the 2009 survey results. The survey shows that the largest improvements were made in reduction of vehicle miles traveled, use of alternative fuels and idle reduction.

Collecting this survey data not only helps GLACC understand the region’s improvements, but also allows the Department of Energy to track the progress toward the nationwide Clean Cities program goal of displacing 2.5 billion gallons of petroleum per year by 2020. The reductions reported by all the Clean Cities Coalitions are summarized in the Clean Cities annual metrics report that is published on the Clean Cities web site on the Alternative Fuels and Advance Vehicles Data Center (AFDC).

GLACC would like to thank all who participated in this year’s survey. The Tri-County Region could not have made these improvements without you! Your responses will help ensure that mid-Michigan continues to receive federal funding for alternative fuel and vehicle projects. Together, we will continue to reduce our petroleum dependency, improve air quality and fuel our economy!


GLACC and Partners Hold Alternative Fuels Conference

Last month, the Michigan Green Fleets project held an event in partnership with NAFA Michigan Chapter – the 2011 Alternative Fuels Conference. This first-time collaboration between Michigan’s Clean Cities Coalitions and NAFA Michigan Chapter was a great success – drawing over eighty fleet managers and decision-makers to learn about clean vehicle and fuel options available and ways to fund green fleet purchases. The event was hosted by Roush Performance at their museum featuring classic cars and race cars.
Presentations were heard from Roush, General Motors, Parker Hannifin, Azure Dynamics, DTE Energy/MichCon, and NAFA Michigan Chapter chair – Chris Kowalski, and Clean Cities coordinators. Topics included propane, electric drive, extended range hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, and compressed natural gas (CNG). Presentations are posted on the Michigan Green Fleets website.

Over the next two years, Greater Lansing Area Clean Cities will continue to plan and conduct events through the Clean Energy Coalition-led Michigan Green Fleets project. Events help as part of this project will further increase awareness among the fleet community in Michigan of the benefits of using alternative fuels and advanced vehicles, and petroleum conserving practices.  Events will also offer practical information on how to implement successful fleet sustainability initiatives. Learn more at the Michigan Green Fleets web page.


Clean Commute Options- Why ride alone?

Many Michigan residents are faced with the dreaded commute to and from work or school.  Traffic and parking congestion, stress, and heavy vehicle emissions are among the disadvantages associated with these daily trips. On average, individuals commuting from the Tri-County region travel 22 minutes each way in single occupant vehicles. Over a one-week span, that adds up to over five hours in a vehicle — now multiply that by the number of individual drivers. It adds up pretty fast, doesn’t it?

Fortunately, there is solution for those who are looking to reduce stress, save money, reduce their emissions and have some company along the way. Clean Commute Options (CCO) is a free commuter matching service for people interested in riding the bus, carpooling, vanpooling, biking, or walking to their destinations.  CCO is now in its fifth year of operation serving 1,560 ride-sharers commuting into or within the Greater Lansing area. Beyond the benefit of cleaner, more economical travel, CCO works to provide extra incentive to those who participate in the program. Ride-sharers are rewarded with monthly discounts from local businesses and free or discounted parking in the Downtown Lansing Area. A very popular element of this program is the Emergency Ride Home service. If your carpool driver needs to leave work early due to emergency, a ride home is available so you’re never stranded.

From May to September, unhealthy air quality levels are more likely due to an increase in ground-level ozone concentrations from rising temperatures and factors including single occupant vehicle emissions. On Ozone Action Days people with asthma or other respiratory conditions, as well as the general public, may experience difficulty breathing— especially during heavy activity. During this time, CCO works with local media to announce ozone alerts (days at risk of reduced air quality) during traffic and weather reports. CCO also advocates the reduction of harmful emissions through educating the community about simple things that can be done on an individual level. Giving your vehicle a break even once or twice a week through utilizing a ride sharing program combined with proper driving habits will help reduce traffic congestion, pollution, and promote the wellbeing of the Tri-County Area.

CCO coordinates this program because they believe that cleaner air quality has the potential to improve the health of the Greater Lansing Area.  High pollution levels affect the air quality levels in our region, putting public health at risk. By advocating alternatives to the individual commute, CCO has inspired members of the Tri-County area to reduce their emissions. CCO’s efforts are critical for petroleum displacement in GLACC service area.  Total vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reductions in our region (as reported in GLACC’s annual petroleum reduction survey) were responsible for over 300,000 gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) saved! Considering recent calls by President Obama for the nation to reduce petroleum imports, VMT reductions — like those achieved by Clean Commute Options participants — show Greater Lansing is making a difference.


GLACC Stakeholders Meet to Discuss a Sustainable Future

The first Greater Lansing Area Clean Cities Stakeholder Meeting of 2011 took place on March 28, in Grand Ledge. The agenda included a discussion of the progress GLACC has made toward its three-year strategic plan goals, and gathered stakeholder input on programs, barriers to success, and solutions to overcome those barriers.

GLACC’s three-year strategic plan was developed in 2009. With stakeholder input, the plan defined goals to optimize services to members, improve communications throughout the region, and continue to efficiently work toward the mission of increasing alternative fuels and vehicle availability and use in mid-Michigan. Since setting these goals, GLACC has worked diligently to implement tactics that would help achieve them. These tactics – or actions – include holding meetings and workshops that lead to on-the-ground alternative fuel and vehicle projects. In October, GLACC held one such meeting, which led to submission of a grant proposal to US EPA’s National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program. If awarded, this grant project will provide funding for school bus replacements and emissions reduction equipment for public fleets in the region. . Project partners have been identified, having responded to a request for project partners late last year. GLACC will continue announce upcoming funding opportunities to members as these opportunities become available. Fleet and fueling station representatives interested in grant funding are encouraged to contact GLACC staff with project ideas at any time and watch for event announcements.

Another focus of strategic plan goals is providing information and resources to a diverse audience. GLACC understands the importance of communicating with both stakeholders and individuals to promote the alternative fuel and vehicle usage and fuel economy practices.  Recent outreach activities include attending the Michigan Petroleum Association and Michigan Association of Convenient Stores Spring Convention and Trade Show, participation on the Tri- County Environmental Leadership Awards committee, and sending out valuable information to members through electronic monthly communications. GLACC is also currently involved in planning Michigan Green Fleets events with Clean Energy Coalition.

Stakeholder input at the March 28 GLACC Stakeholder Meeting provided valuable insight to help GLACC’s staff and Board of Directors develop events and communications and outreach programming for 2011. This input is also critical as GLACC begins updating its strategic plan for years 2012 – 2015. E85 ethanol, natural gas and propane fuels for vehicles continue to be of high priority for stakeholders. Advanced vehicle interests include hydraulic hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles, especially extended range electric vehicles, such as the Chevy Volt.  Stakeholders also want to see events with a hands-on approach for succeeding with clean fleet and fuel goals. Watch GLACC’s website for more information and dates for future GLACC Stakeholder Meetings.


GLACC Intern Update

For those of you who may not already know, my name is Kristin Jobin and I am currently a senior at Michigan State University majoring in Advertising with specializations in Public Relations and Peace and Justice Studies. Over the past four month, I have assisted Greater Lansing Area Clean Cities with communication efforts, data collection, and event planning. My experience interning for Greater Lansing Clean Cities has far exceeded my expectations. I have gained a great deal of knowledge about the environmental issues facing the Greater Lansing area, and more importantly, I have leaned about ways we can address these issues and improve local conditions.

Some of the tasks that I have helped with so far include writing articles for GLACC’s monthly communications, collecting data for the Annual Petroleum Reduction Survey, and coordinating GLACC’s attendance at the MPA/MACS Spring Convention and Trade Show. These and other endeavors have allowed me to use my background in Advertising and Public Relations to support GLACC’s mission of reducing petroleum dependency in mid-Michigan.

Before I began my internship with GLACC, I was interested in the sustainable initiatives taking place in mid-Michigan but was never directly involved. Interning at GLACC has turned me into an advocate for idle reduction, alternative transportation, and a true eco driver. I now understand the difference that one individual can make and hope to encourage others to take up fuel economy practices. I’m very excited to continue working with GLACC this summer and continue to help stakeholders and individuals in adopting cleaner forms of transportation!