HARRISBURG, PA — The Wolf Administration recently announced $2.1 million in Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants to municipalities and businesses for 99 electric vehicles and more clean fuel transportation projects to improve air quality in their communities.
“Transportation is one of the biggest sources of air pollution in Pennsylvania. That’s why investing in zero- and low-emission transportation pays off big: It helps us breathe healthier air and slow down climate change,” said Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Executive Deputy Secretary Ramez Ziadeh. “Through Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants, DEP assists businesses and organizations of all sizes in pursuing their clean fuel transportation goals. With this round of grants, we’re excited to support 99 electric vehicles, charger installations, and more transportation upgrades that will drive better air quality in Pennsylvania.”
The Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) program provides funding to help municipalities, businesses, and nonprofit organizations in Pennsylvania replace older gasoline- or diesel-fueled vehicles with electric, renewable natural gas, compressed natural gas (CNG), ethanol, biodiesel, or propane gas-fueled vehicles. It also funds installation of fueling equipment for these vehicles.
Switching to these zero- and low-emission fuels helps lower levels of many air pollutants, including nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, and carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases heating up our climate.
New grant funding went to 13 municipalities and businesses for 15 projects. Collectively the funded projects are anticipated to reduce gasoline use by 478,000 gallons per year over their lifetimes. They’re anticipated to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 6,429 kilograms and carbon dioxide emissions by 2,642 metric tons per year.
Eleven projects are located in or serve Environmental Justice areas, or census tracts where 20 percent or more residents live at or below the federal poverty line or 30 percent or more residents identify as a non-white minority, according to federal data.
The funded projects are as follows:
- Allegheny County: $45,000 for four electric pickup trucks and two electric cars for use by county police, park rangers, and facilities management staff.
- Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority: $7,500 for an electric car.
- Middletown Township: $215,000 to install four DC fast chargers for the public to use to charge electric cars.
- MJ Transport Logistics: $300,000 for eight CNG tractor-trailers to haul waste from transfer stations to the landfill.
- Francis J. Palo, Inc.: $30,000 to convert four F-150 pickup trucks to run on CNG.
- Aqua Pennsylvania: $36,135 for five electric cars for customer service use.
- Delaware County (two grants): $300,000 for 69 electric cars for use by county departments, with 29 dedicated to the new health department for health care visits around the county; $300,000 to install 22 Level 2 dual-plug charging stations, for a total of 44 chargers.
- Chestnut Valley Landfill: $300,000 for eight CNG trash collection trucks.
- City of Scranton (two grants): $75,000 for 10 electric cars for use by code enforcement officers in performing inspections, responding to citizen complaints, and evaluating construction and renovation projects; $45,642 to install 10 Level 2 chargers.
- Amazon Logistics: $300,000 for 10 renewable natural gas tractor-trailers to move goods from a factory or warehouse to its Hazleton Fulfillment Center.
- Loyalsock Township: $7,500 for one electric car.
- HE Rohrer: $100,000 to purchase an electric school bus.
- AAA Club Alliance: $45,000 for six electric cars.
Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti, Delaware County Chief Sustainability Officer Francine Locke, and Allegheny County Sustainability Manager Brittany Prischak joined DEP in the announcement, highlighting their municipalities’ funded electrification projects.
“Scranton is known as the Electric City, and we strive to earn that name again over the coming years. We’re grateful for these DEP funds, which will help us build toward our goal of a more sustainable energy future,” said Mayor Cognetti.
This is the first AFIG funding provided to the City of Scranton for electric vehicles and chargers.
“Delaware County is reducing its greenhouse gas emissions through the development of a holistic sustainability and climate action plan. Investing in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure is a critical part of this plan,” said Locke.
The grant to Delaware County is for the largest fleet electrification project the AFIG program has supported to date.
“Allegheny County has been converting our vehicle fleet to electric since early 2020 to reduce tailpipe emissions and air pollution and reduce our carbon footprint,” said Prischak. “We’ve been fortunate to have received multiple AFIG awards that have supported our efforts, and look forward to continuing to partner with the Department of Environmental Protection, and joining so many other entities to continue with our transition to cleaner vehicles.”
Transportation generates 47 percent of nitrogen oxides emissions in Pennsylvania, contributing to formation of ground-level ozone. This affects the health of children, older people, people who work or are active outdoors, and people with asthma, emphysema, or other lung conditions. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has found that asthma-related emergency room visits increase when air quality is very poor.
Vehicles release 21 percent of carbon dioxide emissions statewide, contributing to climate change. Pennsylvania’s average temperature has risen nearly 2° F since 1900. Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan 2021 projects that unless we lower greenhouse gas emissions, Pennsylvania will be on average 5.9° F hotter by the middle decades of this century.
The AFIG program, which is administered by the DEP Energy Programs Office, was established under Act 166 of 1992 and is funded by a portion of the state utilities gross receipt tax.