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Commercial Fleet Demand for Alternative-Fuel Vehicles in California

  • Author(s): Golob, Thomas F
  • Torous, Jane
  • Bradley, Mark
  • Brownstone, David
  • Crane, Soheila Soltani
  • Bunch, David S
  • et al.
Abstract

Fleet demand for alternative-fuel vehicles ('AFVs' operating on fuels such as electricity, compressed natural gas, or methanol) is investigated through an analysis of a 1994 survey of 2000 fleet sites in California. This survey gathered information on site characteristics, awareness of mandates and incentives for AFV operation, and AFV purchase intentions. The survey also contained stated preference tasks in which fleet decision makers simulated fleet-replacement purchases by indicating how they would allocate their choices across a 'selector list' of hypothetical future vehicles. A discrete choice model was estimated to obtain preference tradeoffs for fuel types and other vehicle attributes. The overall tradeoff between vehicle range and vehicle capital cost in the sample was $80/mile of range, but with some variation by fleet sector. The availability (density) of off-site alternative fuel stations was important to fleet operators, indicating that fleets are willing to trade off more fuel infrastructure for changes in other attributes, e.g. increased capital or operating costs, or more limited vehicle range. Public fleets (local and county government) were the most sensitive to the capital cost of new vehicles. Along with schools, they are the only fleet sector where reduced tailpipe emission levels are a significant predictor of vehicle choice. Fleet operators in the private sector base their vehicle selection less on environmental concerns than on practical operational needs.

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