Alternative Fuels:

Increasing Federal Procurement of Alternative-Fueled Vehicles

RCED-91-169: Published: May 24, 1991. Publicly Released: May 24, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) progress in implementing the Alternative Motor Fuels Act of 1988, enacted to encourage the development and use of methanol, ethanol, and natural gas as transportation fuels, and the production of methanol-, ethanol-, and natural gas-powered vehicles.

GAO found that: (1) due to technological readiness problems and market uncertainties, auto manufacturers did not provide DOE with the quantity, type, price, and size of alternative-fueled light-duty vehicles it desired; (2) the extent to which future corporate average fuel economy credits would encourage manufacturers to build alternative-fueled light-duty vehicles was uncertain; (3) DOE was unable to establish a commercial heavy-duty truck program or to collect data to study the use of alcohol and natural gas fuel in such trucks, but expected to make progress on this program during 1991 as a result of planned initiatives with industry; (4) DOE was able to collect performance and emissions data on only a limited number of alternative-fueled buses through 1990, but it expected to place and test more buses in service during 1991; and (5) the extent to which alternative fuels were competitively priced with gasoline would determine their use.