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NREL's transportation infrastructure and programs are designed to significantly reduce petroleum use campus-wide.

This infographic shows NREL's FY2017 fleet performance and fleet vehicle history compared to baseline FY 2005 and FY 2016. Petroleum fuel use decreased 11% from 2016 and decreased 10% from baseline 2005. Alternative fuel use decreased 53% from 2016 and increased 33% from baseline 2005. In baseline 2005, the fleet used 6,521 gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) of E-85, in 2016 the fleet used 21,207 GGE of E-85, in 2017the fleet used 09,994 GGE of E-85. In baseline 2005, the fleet used 5,674 GGE of unleaded gasoline, in 2016 the fleet used 3,375 GGE of unleaded gasoline, and in 2017 the fleet used 1,467 GGE of unleaded gasoline. In baseline 2005, the fleet used 2,036 GGE of diesel, in 2016 the fleet used 4,435 GGE of diesel, and in 2017 it used 5,507 GGE of diesel. In 2014, the fleet emitted 422 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per mile. In 2017, it emitted 329 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per mile. In 2005, NREL's fleet included 20 E-85 vehicles, 13 compressed natural gas vehicles, zero-gas hybrids, 10 gasoline vehicles, and five diesel vehicles. In 2017, the fleet included 33 E-85 vehicles, zero compressed natural gas vehicles, zero  gas hybrid vehicles, two gasoline vehicles, and nine diesel vehicles.

Fleet Reduction and Alternative Fuel Vehicles

NREL makes every effort to right-size its vehicle fleet, which currently consists of 43 vehicles. Of those, 62% is made up of alternative fuel vehicles, including those fueled by E-85 fuel (85% ethanol) and hybrid vehicles.

Alternative Transportation

NREL encourages staff to use alternative transportation when commuting to work and moving between facilities during the day by providing:

  • Free access to the Regional Transportation District's (RTD) public transportation with EcoPasses, which include unlimited regional, local, light rail, and SkyRide service to and from the Denver International Airport for NREL employees
  • RTD bus stops located at two of NREL's South Table Mountain Campus entrances
  • Monthly vanpool vouchers for employees
  • A regional rideshare matching service
  • Electric vehicle charging stations in the main employee parking garage
  • Conveniently located bicycle racks, lockers, bicycle repair stations, and showers
  • Campus infrastructure that prioritizes pedestrian and bicycle travel.

Photo of the light rail in the foreground and NRELs South Table Mountain campus in the background.

Parking and Shuttles

Incentive parking spaces are provided for high-occupancy vehicles such as carpools and vanpools at the parking garage and near other NREL buildings, where feasible. The parking garage also reserves 90 preferred spaces for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles.

Alternative-fuel shuttles transport staff to and from bus stops and local RTD hubs. Shuttles also transport staff to NRELs facilities, reducing the amount of single-occupant vehicle trips throughout the day.

Telecommuting and Alternative Work Schedules

Staff can participate in both NREL's telecommuting and alternative work schedule (AWS) programs, reducing the number of days staff members commute to the laboratory. Approximately 27% of NREL staff telecommutes at least one day per week, and approximately 35% of NREL staff work an AWS.

Teleconferencing and videoconferencing capabilities are available to all staff, reducing the need to travel to meetings. This not only reduces the number of cars on the road, but also reduces the number of airline tickets purchased.


NREL has earned the U.S Department of Energy 2016 Sustainability Recognition, Workplace Charging Challenge and several other federal, state, and local transportation and sustainability awards. Learn More.