CNG Vehicles and the Best Return on Your Investment; Truck Fleets, Remember to File Your 2290

With gas prices expected to rise again for the third straight week, many fleets are exploring ways to help cut fuel cost. Implementing a comprehensive fuel card program, utilizing telematics solutions such as DriverPoint™, and training drivers to understand how their behavior impacts MPG are three ways that fleets can make a significant impact in this area. Looking at alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles can also be part of your planning process.

What is CNG?

CNG is a readily available alternative to gasoline that’s made by compressing natural gas to less than 1% of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure. Consisting mostly of methane, CNG is odorless, colorless and tasteless. It’s drawn from domestically drilled natural gas wells or in conjunction with crude oil production.1

How can you realize the best return on your investment?

There are three types of natural gas vehicles (NGV) available2:

  • Dedicated: Designed to run only on natural gas
  • Bi-fuel: Two separate fueling systems that enable them to run on either natural gas or gasoline
  • Dual-fuel: Usually limited to heavy-duty applications, with fuel systems that run on natural gas, and use diesel fuel for ignition assistance

Whether you are factory ordering a dedicated NGV or plan to have a vehicle modified to run on natural gas, you will be making an investment in your fleet. Ensuring you receive benefits from your initial investment is critical.

“When we go through the Vehicle Optimization Model™ (VOM) process with customers considering CNG bi-fuel vehicles, I point out that good utilization is really key to their ROI,” says Amy Blaine, Donlen’s Director, Strategic Consulting and Sustainability. “CNG is much cheaper than gas and the spread has gotten wider this past year. But if you upfit a vehicle to use CNG and then the driver only puts gas into the vehicle, the ROI is essentially zero.”

She went on to say, “Getting drivers to change their fueling habits is key to realizing a good return. For instance, one of our customers is working hard to increase the CNG utilization of their vehicles by reporting and tracking utilization by region and vehicle. We’re watching this information closely to help them understand their ROI.”

Advantages of natural gas

There are several advantages to choosing NGVs3, including:

donlen-natural-gas-cost-calculator-thumb-v2

  • Up to a 93 percent reduction in harmful carbon monoxide emissions when compared to conventional gasoline vehicles
  • Natural gas is cheaper than gasoline, and prices have remained relatively stable compared to other fuels

> Check out the Natural Gas Calculator to see how the fuel cost and emissions of your fleet compare

How safe is CNG?

This is a question that often arises when considering CNG for fleets. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): “Although CNG is a flammable gas, it has a narrow flammability range, making it an inherently safe fuel. Strict safety standards make CNG vehicles as safe as gasoline-powered vehicles. In the event of a spill or accidental release, CNG poses no threat to land or water; it is non-toxic. CNG also disperses rapidly, minimizing ignition risk relative to gasoline. Natural gas is lighter than air and will not pool as a liquid or vapor on the ground. Nevertheless, leaks indoors may form a flammable mixture in the vicinity of an ignition source.”4

This video helps to explain the safety of CNG
> http://www.cngnow.com/Video/Post.aspx?ID=35

More information

This information provided here is a very brief glimpse into a few of the considerations for NGV fleet implementation. If you would like to further explore if alt fuel vehicles are right for your application, please contact Amy Blaine, at ablaine@donlen.com.


Want to drive a CNG vehicle? Next time you’re in Oklahoma City, you can rent one from the Will Rogers World Airport. Hertz has added CNG vehicles to their fleet of rental options as part of their global sustainability strategy, which already includes CNG vehicles through Hertz On Demand at Oklahoma State University and rentals in Italy and the United Kingdom. Oklahoma City was chosen for the U.S. CNG pilot program for several reasons. In addition to having significant CNG fueling infrastructure across the state – approximately 70 existing or planned public stations – Oklahoma is also home to several of the top natural gas producers in the country, including Chesapeake Energy Corporation. Donlen played a key role in developing this program. “This initiative is a great example of what can happen when industry leaders collaborate to create meaningful change,” said Gary Rappeport, Donlen CEO. “Natural gas vehicles play an important part in the future of fleet and mobility solutions as companies look toward achieving their sustainability and operational goals. Together, Hertz and Donlen are investing in programs like this to change the landscape of available transportation solutions.” Visit http://www.hertz.com/ and enter “Oklahoma City Will Rogers World Airport” in the pickup location box to see available CNG rental options.


Upcoming Events and Webinars

donlen-green-fleet-conference-2012-sponsor

Donlen is proud to once again sponsor the upcoming Green Fleet Conference, October 2-3, in Schaumburg, IL. Be sure to plan your schedule around these two panel discussions you won’t want to miss:

Maximizing Resale Values When Remarketing Hybrids and Other Alt-Fuel
Vehicles
October 2, 4:10 pm
Panelist: Gus Xamplas, Donlen VP of Vehicle Remarketing

The Future of Car Sharing Programs and Its Impact on the Fleet Industry
October 3, 2:00 pm
Panelist: Jordan Reber, Vice President, Hertz On Demand and Hertz Entertainment Services, The Hertz Corporation

For full conference information, visit http://www.greenfleetconference.com

AFLA webinar: DriverPoint™ Telematics – Utilizing Telematics to Improve Your Bottom Line

> Tuesday, August 14, 2012 11:00 am ET

Presenter: Jeff Pursell, Vice President, Telematics and Strategic Development

Cost reduction continues to be the number one challenge facing corporate fleets today. In this informative session, Jeff Pursell, Donlen VP, Telematics and Strategic Development, will show you how using a comprehensive Telematics solution can help improve efficiencies across your entire fleet – including driver productivity, fuel cost, and fleet safety.


Important Reminder: Truck Fleets: Remember to File Your 2290

The annual Heavy Vehicle Use Tax Form 2290 is due in August:

  • If you have vehicles with a gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more, you must file IRS Form 2290 Heavy Vehicle Use Tax.
  • You can e-file with the IRS. E-filing is quick, and you get a laser-printed, stamped Schedule 1 in no time.
  • Instructions for Form 2290, revised July 2012, can be found on the IRS website.

Upon filing, you will receive your proof of tax payment, which you need to register annually with your state.


Leave Worry Behind? while Saving Money with the Jiffy Lube® National Fleet Pricing Program

As part of the Jiffy Lube Fleet Care? Advantage, Jiffy Lube now has a National Fleet Pricing Program. There are 1,599 Jiffy Lube locations participating in the discounted National Fleet Pricing.

Jiffy Lube National Fleet Pricing Structure will not exceed:

  • Conventional Signature Service Oil Change (up to 5 qts.): $34.99
  • Blend Signature Service Oil Change (up to 5 qts.): $45.99
  • Synthetic Signature Service Oil Change (up to 5 qts): $55.99

With the Jiffy Lube Fleet Care Advantage you can also leave worry behind because:

  • Transactions are controlled with spending limits
  • No appointment is necessary; your drivers drive right in, saving them valuable time
  • Customers have an open view of the work area so they can see the services performed on their vehicle

These additional benefits of Jiffy Lube:

  • Extensive services including tire rotations at most locations
  • The only ASE-certified training program in the quick lube industry
  • Access to, and relies on, vehicle manufacturer recommendations for service – the same information as the dealerships
  • Dedicated Fleet Support Team
  • Complete service review, including a visual inspection of the engine air filter, and allowing you to select your preferred oil change schedule
  • Retains customer service records on file in their nationwide database to help customers care for their vehicles anytime and anywhere in North America

> See the complete listing of participating Jiffy Lube locations here


FleetWeb® Tips

Compare vehicle lifecycle costs utilizing Donlen’s Vehicle Optimization Model™ (VOM).

  • Leverage actual customer and industry data to determine which selected vehicle option is most cost effective.
  • Contains 122 of the most common fleet vehicles across 10 manufacturers, 17 makes, and 71 nameplates.
  • Customize to your own fleet by inputting your own manufacturer incentive or estimated resale value.

donlen-fleetweb-VOM-location


Driver’s Corner

Following your scheduled maintenance program is key to keeping your vehicle on the road. It’s especially important for fleet vehicles, as they are most often driven in “severe” conditions. You may automatically think severe means drastic conditions, but according to Jiffy Lube, severe driving conditions include one or more of the following:

  • Driving in stop and go traffic
  • Driving in extremely hot or cold temperatures
  • Driving at prolonged higher engine speeds
  • Taking multiple trips averaging 5 to 10 miles in length
  • Frequent cold start-ups and shut downs
  • Extensive engine idling
  • Towing and/or hauling heavy loads
  • Driving in dusty or muddy conditions
  • Driving in mountainous terrain

And Finally…

And finally, we have a bit of Olympic fever here at Donlen, even holding our own version at this week’s annual Employee Appreciation Week BBQ! But one of the coolest things we’ve seen are the radio-controlled versions of the Mini Cooper – called “Mini MINI” – to retrieve javelins, hammers, shot, and discuses during the London games. These ¼ scale versions have a capacity of about 18 pounds, and run for about 35 minutes on a full charge. We want one! > Check out pics here

Have a nice weekend. Safe travels.


1. “What is CNG” reprinted by permission. CNG NOW!
http://www.cngnow.com/what-is-cng/Pages/default.aspx
2. U.S. Department of Energy, Alternative Fuels Data Center
http://www.afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/natural_gas.html
3. Harris, William. “How Natural-gas Vehicles Work” 09 September 2005. HowStuffWorks.com.
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/alternative-fuels/ngv.htm 03 August 2012
4. Clean Alternative Fuels, Compressed Natural Gas, Fact Sheet
http://eerc.ra.utk.edu/etcfc/docs/EPAFactSheet-cng.pdf

Originally appeared in FridayFleet on August 3, 2012


About Donlen
A wholly owned subsidiary of The Hertz Corporation (NYSE:HTZ), Donlen (www.donlen.com), with headquarters in Northbrook, IL, is the fleet industry’s most comprehensive and integrated provider of financing and asset management solutions. Since 1965, Donlen has offered its clients highly personalized and responsive customer service, and their workplace excellence has been recognized as one of Crain’s Chicago Business “List of 20 Best Places to Work in Chicago” each year from 2009-2011, a Leader on “The Global Outsourcing 100®” list by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) for six of the last seven years, and a National Association for Business Resources “101 Best and Brightest Places to Work For in Chicago” each year from 2007-2012. Donlen’s innovation has been awarded with the Computerworld “2012 Honors Laureate for Economic Opportunity,” named to “2012 InformationWeek 500” for innovative technology; the Stevie® “2012 Gold Award for Business Intelligence Solution,” the Silver Award for “2012 Front Line Customer Service Team of the Year,” and the “2011 Corporate Environmental Responsibility Program of the Year.”