A legislative committee voted recently to approve rules regarding the Alternative Fuels Vehicle Conversion Grant (AFVC) program. This grant will help reduce up-front costs of vehicles powered by natural gas or propane autogas.
The Alternative Fuels Vehicle Conversion Grant program was created through persistent advocacy in the Ohio General Assembly over a three-year period by Clean Fuels Ohio (CFO) and partners in the CNG and propane industries and among fleet users of these alternatives. House Bill 390, the 2016 state budget bill, was amended to include the AFVC program before it was passed by the legislature in June, 2016, according to Jason Phillips, CFO’s Policy Director
The AFVC grant will reimburse business owners for a portion of the cost of replacing or converting a vehicle to run on compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) or propane autogas (LPG). Grants will be available for vehicles weighing 26,000 pounds or more (class 7 and 8) to both public and private fleets. The grant will be administered by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency on a first-come, first- served basis. Grants will be capped at $400,000 per applying entity and $25,000 per vehicle or 50% of incremental cost above diesel, whichever is less.
“The Ohio EPA is very grateful for the strong support shown for the new Alternative Fuel Vehicle Conversion Grant Program by prospective grant applicants and suppliers,” said Carolyn Watkins, Chief of Environmental Education at the Ohio EPA. “We appreciate the time and effort put in by everyone who submitted comments on the proposed rules, and especially by those who made the trip to Columbus to testify at one of the hearings. If the rules now become effective in mid-December, as expected, the first date to submit grant applications will be in mid to late February, to allow applicants at least eight weeks to prepare their proposals. “
Except for Ohio, nearly every state surrounding Ohio has had some kind of financial incentive for alternative fuels.
“This grant will go a long way towards helping alleviate some of the up-front costs associated with CNG and propane vehicles,” commented Andrew Conley, Program Director for Clean Fuels Ohio (CFO). “These vehicles are more expensive on the front end but fleets save because the fuel and maintenance costs are considerably less. While grants under this program will be quite modest, they will help all fleets realize a faster return. The CNG and propane industries, important to Ohio, also will benefit.”
CFO will forward information about specific grant rules and the formal solicitation to members as soon as it becomes available. CFO provides grant-writing assistance as service to members and also based on quoted fees. Those interested should contact Conley at Andrew@CleanFuelsOhio.org to learn more and discuss proposed projects.