Skip to main content

Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicle Data Center Creates New Tool to Calculate Ways to Cut Gas Use

December 11, 2008

A business owner with a fleet of 10 heavy-duty diesel trucks wants to cut diesel use by 10 percent. Would using a biodiesel blend or investing in onboard power sources that reduce engine idling achieve the biggest drop in petroleum use?

An average driver, using 600 gallons of gas a year in a typical sedan, wants to reduce gas consumption by 20 percent. Would using fuel economy techniques such as buying new low rolling-resistance tires reduce gas use the most or would taking the bus to work once a week produce better results?

Fleet operators, business owners, and every-day drivers wanting to reduce their petroleum consumption can pinpoint such calculations with the newest tool at the Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center,

The Petroleum Reduction Planning (PREP) tool computes the drop in petroleum consumption by employing eight different methods – or a combination of those methods. For every-day drivers, they can calculate their reductions by using fuel economy techniques, hybrid electric vehicles, biodiesel blends and other alternative fuels, or by reducing the number of miles driven through such measures as using mass transit or telecommuting. For fleet operators and business owners, additional methods of truck stop electrification, idling time reduction and onboard idle reduction technologies are provided for calculating reductions. PREP can help every kind of driver create a strategy for cutting conventional fuel use.

"The PREP tool benefits fleets of all sizes – from large private industrial or government fleets to single family fleets – by providing a path to improve their abilities to make fuel-efficient and cost effective decisions," said Linda Bluestein, Co-Director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities initiative.  "This tool builds on earlier work to help regulated fleets by providing a method that allows all vehicle owners – not just regulated fleets – to maximize their reduction in conventional fuel use." 

The Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC),, is the preeminent Web site dedicated to alternative fuels and advanced vehicles, providing interactive tools, information, data and analysis for transportation decisions. Fleet operators can learn about different vehicle and fuel options and find resources for converting to alternative fuels or instituting other fuel-saving changes. Policy-makers can use the AFDC’s trends and analyses to inform their decisions, and consumers wanting to go “green” can sort out their choices and financial incentives.

The AFDC is produced by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program’s Clean Cities initiative, which strives to advance the nation’s economic, environmental and energy security by supporting local decisions to adopt practices that contribute to the reduction of petroleum consumption.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.


—George Douglas