By Tami Alexander, Central Kansas Clean Cities Coordinator

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s January 2018 Monthly Energy Review, CO2 emissions for the transportation sector have now surpassed emissions for electricity generation. Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation make up 27% of all emissions (EPA, 2018). So, what can we as consumers do to help? There are the obvious solutions such as driving less, carpooling, and using public transportation. But what about those times when a personal vehicle is needed? The answer: Biofuels!

So, what are biofuels? You have likely heard them referred to as ethanol or biodiesel. Ethanol is a plant-based replacement for petroleum gasoline and biodiesel is a mostly plant-based alternative for petroleum diesel. These fuels can be used in traditional internal combustion engine vehicles in place of their petroleum counterparts with little to no alterations needed.

Contrary to the popular belief that petroleum is made from ancient dinosaurs, it is actually the product of ancient plant material which decayed over millions of years in an oxygen-free environment, forming the fossil fuels of coal, oil and natural gas. Biofuels are also made from plant material which is processed into the fuels quickly instead of taking millions of years. The difference is biofuels are renewable, non-toxic, and emit much less CO2 and other pollutants than petroleum fuels.

So, what goes into biofuels? Biofuels can be made from many different products called feedstocks. Ethanol is grain alcohol and can be made from multiple sources including corn, sorghum, sugar cane and even grasses. Biodiesel can be made from vegetable oil, used cooking oil, and poultry or beef fat. Feedstocks can vary the amount of emissions produced by the fuels, but all are cleaner than petroleum fuels and renewable. And, they can produce the same quality of fuel.

Many studies have touted the importance of biofuels in the move to lowering emissions and becoming carbon neutral (IRENA, 2018). One major advantage is that biofuels use the same infrastructure as petroleum fuels and can be fairly easily used in most vehicles with little to no modification necessary. In fact, 97% of gasoline in the US contains 10% ethanol and can be used in any gasoline engine. The ethanol boosts the octane of petroleum gasoline which is necessary in today’s higher performing engines. All gasoline vehicles model year 2001 or newer can burn E15 (a blend of 15% ethanol gasoline and 85% petroleum gasoline). Flex-fuel vehicles can use blends up to E85 (85% ethanol). And most manufacturers of diesel vehicles warranty their engines to use blends up to B20 (20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel).

Biofuels are more difficult to find than petroleum gasoline, but their availability is increasing. Check out the Alternative Fuels Data Center on the Department of Energy’s website to find out where you can buy biofuels in your area. ( The website can also help you find vehicles that use biofuels and give you other important information about biofuels and other alternative fuels.


International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). (2018, February). Renewable energy prospects for the European Union. Retrieved from: summary.pdf?la=en&hash=818E3BDBFC16B90E1D0317C5AA5B07C8ED27F9EF

U.S. Energy Information Administration. (2018, January). Monthly energy review. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Statistics.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2018, February 6). Inventory of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and sinks: 1990–2016. Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Missouri EV Collaborative held its second spring meeting on April 17th at City Hall in Columbia, MO. There was plenty of discussion among municipal fleet and Clean Cities representatives from Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois. The VW Settlement, clean fuel corridors and the nuts and bolts of EV charging were all hot topics.

Above – Transit Manager Drew Brooks Lays Out The Layout Of An EV Bus

The really fun part, though, came at the end of the day, when attendees headed out for a test ride on one of nine all-electric transit buses run by the city’s transit authority. GoCOMO now operates nine battery-powered buses, with four more ordered. The bus, California-built but designed by China’s BYD, provided a remarkably quiet ride around town as Parking & Transit Manager Drew Brooks talked about tech, testing and transitioning to EV bus service.

The City runs the buses under a lease-to-own agreement as part of GoCOMO’s budget. Along with local funding, a $1.7 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration is helping to cover the cost of electrical upgrades, consulting and three of the four EV buses still on order. The cost difference between all-electric buses and conventional models is still substantial, though EV prices are falling. This means that ROI in through fuel savings is very much a long-term proposition. However, there’s one area where the electric buses paid for themselves immediately – maintenance. Normal quarterly maintenance for a diesel bus runs in the neighborhood of $1,300. But an EV bus, without fuel or oil; in fact, lacking nearly all of the moving, greasy parts found in a diesel bus – runs about $300 per maintenance check.

According to Brooks, BYD’s support team engaged well before a single wheel turned in mid-Missouri. Along with background information on local weather and passenger counts, route mapping was vital to the rollout.   This included special attention to the maximum grades on each route. This information was then programmed into the computer on each bus before delivery to cut the odds of running out of juice. Although different drivers can and do make a difference with how many miles a given bus can run between charges, range hasn’t really been a serious issue.

Above – Drew takes questions on the road; on right, KCMO Sustainability Coordinator Gerry Shechter.

One notable physical difference during our drive around town – the lack of noise, something that’s made the EV buses popular among riders. Drew stood up front, taking questions in a voice just slightly louder than normal conversational tone, something that would be impossible in a diesel bus. There may have been 75 horses tied to each rear axle, but you couldn’t really tell from the passenger seat.

Energy Solutions Hub

Date|Time: May 11th at 9:30 a.m.

Location: Project Living Proof, 917 Emanuel Cleaver Blvd.

Join the Mid-America NAFA chapter on May 16, 2018 for a very informative session that you won’t want to miss. As seen at the 2018 NTEA Work Truck Show Fleet Technical Congress, the guest speaker is Mr. Jeff Burns, Attorney at Dollar Burns & Becker, LC. Mr. Burns is arguably one of the most respected truck crash litigators in the nation. When he is not litigating cases, he is actively educating the public and working for rule changes, stronger laws and stricter enforcement. 

Mr. Burns, a strong advocate for safety, strives to help companies see the light, and help them realize that there can actually be a remarkable return on investment when companies institute and strengthen safety programs. Burns says there is less litigation and drivers actually stay with companies longer when they see stronger safety rules as a genuine commitment that helps protect them.

Since today’s commercial vehicles generate a significant amount of data that fleet managers are increasingly using to help manage and improve productivity, Mr. Burns will explain how active and passive data collected on your vehicles can impact you and may be discoverable in the case of an accident or inquiry.

Please mark your calendars for this “must attend” Mid- America chapter NAFA event and click here to RSVP today!

WHEN: Wednesday, May 16, 2018
LOCATION: Joe’s BBQ, 180 Room, 11944 S. Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062
AGENDA: 10:30 am — Registration; 11:00 am — Presentation followed by Lunch
COST: $30 (cash or check payable to NAFA) Credit cards accepted at the door—just bring your card to the meeting.

Please R.S.V.P. by Friday, May 11, 2018. You can register online by clicking here. Due to attendance guarantees, those registrants who are unable to attend or cancel by May 11, 2018 will be billed.

NAFA May 16, 2018 Meeting Notice

Check out this conference focused on advancing renewable energy in Missouri!  The purpose of the “Advancing Renewables in the Midwest” conference is to identify, display, and promote programs, policies, and projects that enhance the use of renewable energy resources in the Midwest for the economic benefit of the region. The focus of speaker topics and agendas are large scale projects, either through direct installation or through amalgamation of small scale projects.
Come together to discuss programs, projects, and policies that are advancing the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Considering converting your fleet to compressed natural gas?  Join this complimentary webinar, sponsored by Quantum Fuel Systems, to learn more about the environmental and economic benefits of natural gas trucks.

When:  April 4th at 12:00 P.M. CST

What:  Webinar for fleet operators who are considering converting their fleets to natural gas.  This complimentary webinar will allow our fleet managers to explore the many environmental and economic benefits of low-emission natural gas engines.


Click here for Webinar details.

Each year, KC Regional Clean Cities collects data from stakeholders and produces a coalition report for the U.S. Department of Energy. This report reflects all of the great sustainable transportation efforts of our members. It also provides opportunities for funding sustainable transportation projects, helps promote our coalition and showcases all your fleet has done to reduce your carbon footprint. Whether your organization operates a fleet of alternative fuel vehicles or organized a carpool, we want to hear about it!

Emails requesting information on your efforts to displace petroleum use in transportation have been sent. Contact us if you didn’t receive yours.

We’ve created a spreadsheet to make it easier for you to send us your information. There are eight tabs on the spreadsheet, but you will only need to fill out those that apply to your organization or business. In most situations, 2-3 tabs with just a few lines of information will be sufficient. We are requesting that surveys be returned via email by Friday, March 2 to one of the addresses below.

As always, any information you share with us will be kept confidential. Your individual responses are not shared with anyone outside the DOE or Clean Cities staff. Any reports that are released publicly will contain only aggregated data on petroleum displacement by all respondents.

If you have any questions about the survey, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 816-531-7283 or by emailing your Program Coordinator.
KC Regional Clean Cities Stakeholders contact David Albrecht at
Central Kansas Clean Cities Stakeholders contact Tami Alexander at

2017 Annual Survey Template KC Regional Clean Cities

On February 22nd, the KC City Council passed Council Member Taylor’s resolution to protest President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to 22 arts and science agencies. This action followed Wednesday’s listening session hosted by the EPA regarding repealing the Clean Power Plan. Several city, state, and federal elected officials weighed in on the importance of Kansas City continuing its focus on clean energy. Perhaps the most powerful statement came from Congressman Cleaver when he spoke about the health of his three year old grandson, saying “I’d like him to be able to breathe; I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”

Since 1983, Metropolitan Energy Center has worked with government agencies, businesses, and citizens to promote environmental health through energy efficiency training, fuel alternatives, and more. This year, MEC is working with various stakeholders across Kansas and Missouri to aid the adoption of fuel alternatives to curb the usage of fossil fuels. Numerous studies indicate that fossil fuel usage is the largest contributor to climate change, and curbing fossil fuel usage improves the health of residents as well as the economy. Since the federal government is signaling a different set of funding priorities, MEC is prepared to continue these programs through the support of our community members.

We are excited to see the community rally behind clean energy and look forward to the community’s continued participation in clean energy initiatives. As Mayor Sly James said, Kansas City is high on the list of cities that have made strides to combat climate change, and it is imperative that local and state communities continue to decrease climate change activities to protect future generations.

Join the Mid-America NAFA Chapter as we enjoy the 2018 Greater Kansas City International Auto Show! This year’s Auto Show will fill Bartle Hall with over 500 new cars, trucks, SUVs, crossovers, and minivans. You won’t find a better opportunity to see all makes and models in one location. See all of the technical achievements from the best in the automotive industry. Prior to the show, manufacturers will present model year highlights in our business meeting at the Downtown Marriott. Click here to RSVP now!

Prior to the 10 a.m. public opening, the NAFA Mid-America Chapter has made special arrangements with Bartle Hall to open at 9 a.m. for NAFA participants only. In addition, your paid registration will include 2 additional passes to return to the show!

WHEN: Friday, March 2, 2018
LOCATION: Downtown Marriott / Muehlebach Tower — 200 West 12th Street, Truman Room, Kansas City, MO 64105
AGENDA: 7:15-7:45 a.m. Registration; 7:45 a.m. Breakfast, Business Meeting & Manufacturer Highlights; 9:00 a.m. Auto Show—Private Viewing
COST: $30 (Cash, credit card or check payable to NAFA)

We have arranged for a NAFA special event parking in the “Auditorium Plaza Garage” at 1220 Wyandotte between 12th & 13th Streets and between Central & Wyandotte. Entrances to the garage are located on Central and Wyandotte streets. We will distribute validation slips at the business meeting. Please note, we are unable to validate Marriott garage parking.

Please R.S.V.P. on-line by February 26, 2018 by clicking HERE. Due to attendance guarantees,
registrants who are unable to attend or cancel by February 26, 2018 will be billed.

NAFA March 2, 2018 Meeting Notice – Auto Show

The Mid-America NAFA chapter is proud to announce our February guest speaker, Mr. Michael A. Pitcher, former LeasePlan USA President and CEO. Mr. Pitcher is a passionate leader with over three decades of business success spanning three continents and in multiple industries. Michael believes that if you inspire people, share a vision that includes their personal development, and pay attention to the outside influences in your industry, then success will follow quickly. In 2016, Pitcher distilled his successful leadership principles into a book, Seven eLements of Leadership for a New Breed of Leader, which he identified as Laugh, Learn, Listen, Language, Lagniappe, Legacy, and Love. He wrote that these seven elements are essential for success.

Join us as we hear first hand from Mr. Pitcher how leadership is no longer the private domain of corporate executives, civic leaders, and politicians. Leadership is practiced every day in small businesses, in classrooms, in local churches, on athletic fields, and yes, in homes. You will not want to miss this session if you’re a person who believes that leadership is about serving others, who cares about developing themselves and bringing out the very best in everyone around them.

WHEN: Tuesday, February 13, 2018
TIME: 10:30—11:00 Registration & Networking, 11:00—12:00 Presentation followed by Lunch
LOCATION: Black & Veatch World Headquarters, 11401 Lamar Ave., Overland Park, KS 66211
COST: $30 – payable at the door by cash, check to NAFA, or credit card

Please R.S.V.P. by Friday, February 9, 2018. You can register online by clicking here.

NAFA Mid-America Feb 13, 2018 Meeting