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Medium and Heavy-Duty Truck Alternative Fuels Study

Oregon DEQ conducted a study to explore opportunities for medium- and heavy-duty, or MHD, fleets to transition their primary fuel from gasoline or diesel to electricity, hydrogen, renewable natural gas or other alternatives. DEQ assessed a fleet profile that provides a snapshot of MHD vehicles in Oregon and a survey of MHD users to determine barriers and challenges to adopting alternative fuels. The findings will be used to inform state agencies as they develop approaches to encourage greater use of alternative fuels and reduce emissions from the transportation sector.

The data analyzed in this report indicates that the majority of Oregon's MHD vehicles use gasoline and diesel. The data also shows that approximately half of Oregon's MHD vehicles are model year 2010 or newer.

The survey determined the fleets knowledge of alternative fuels, current alternative fuel adoption efforts (if any) and the reasons why fleets have not transitioned to alternative fuels. The goal was to understand fleet owners' hesitancies, concerns and barriers to adopting alternative fuels, as well as what motivated early adopters of alternative fuel vehicles and if they are satisfied with their decision. The survey gathered responses from over 200 fleets representing 13 different transportation sectors across Oregon.

Fleets identified the cost of the vehicles and fueling infrastructure, the range limitations of electric vehicles, and the availability of public infrastructure throughout Oregon as the main barriers to switching to alternative fuels.

While programs like the Clean Fuels Program have been a part of Oregon's toolkit to reduce transportation-related emissions, the data confirms more work and resources are needed to increase alternative fuel adoption for medium- and heavy-duty fleets. 

Key study findings

  • Diesel is the predominant fuel being used in Oregon.
  • About half of the MHD vehicles in Oregon are model year 2010 or newer.
  • The majority of respondents had a fleet size between 6-20 medium and heavy-duty vehicles.
  • Over 78% of fleet respondents said they were aware of alternative fuel options.
  • Main barriers to adopting alternative fuels are access to fueling infrastructure, cost of vehicles, and vehicle range concerns.
  • Ways to assist fleets adopt alternative fuels include incentives for equipment and vehicles; grant funds for infrastructure; education outreach, and training; grants and incentives for alternative fuel vehicles; and incentives for alternative fuels. 

Transit Fleet Electrification

As directed by the Executive Order 17-21, the collaborative Zero Emission Vehicle Interagency Working Group was formed to coordinate and achieve the EO goals, one of which was the development of the ODOT lead informational and cost analysis guide for transit agencies to aid in the adoption of electric and alternative fuel transit vehicles.

​​There are several funding opportunities available in Oregon to target the reduction of diesel use and GHG emissions. Most opportunities have limitations on who is eligible, how much funding can be obtained, and how the funds can be spent.  Some of these can be “stacked" or used together, while others cannot. Federal sources of funds cannot be used with other federal funds, but can be used in concert with state and utility funds. Several of the opportunities are described below and the links to their web pages are provided for more information.

Clean Fuels Program 
Launched in 2016, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's Clean Fuels Program is designed to reduce the carbon footprint associated with the transportation of Oregonians. The Clean Fuels Program aims to encourage the use of cleaner fuels such as electricity, ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel, and renewable natural gas by providing incentives and requirements to create demand for cleaner fuels in the marketplace. The Clean Fuels Program encourages reductions in carbon intensity by allowing a fuel provider to sell credits they have earned by going beyond the reduction goals for that year. Those excess credits can be saved to offset future deficits the entity may incur or for future sale as demand increases.

Examples of clean fuel providers include businesses that own electric vehicle charging stations, compressors for natural gas, or dispensers for propane. Utilities that supply electricity for electric vehicles, or manufacturers of ethanol and biodiesel, also earn credits that they can sell to pay for charging stations or to lower the cost of producing alternative fuels.

Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund 
This is a dedicated source of funding for improving or expanding public transportation service in Oregon. ODOT provides additional information on funded projects and the solicitation schedule on their website.

Diesel Reduction Grants 
DEQ provides multiple types of grants to reduce diesel emissions throughout Oregon.

  • Diesel Mitigation Grants: Competitive application process open once per year (summer), requires destruction of older diesel vehicles.
  • State DERA Grants: Project and vehicle specific funding, rolling applications

DEQ's allocated Congestion, Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program- biennial funding

The EPA also has a National DERA Grant program that opens once per year for the replacement of older diesel vehicles with newer clean diesel or alternative fueled vehicles. EPA also has a similar program that is dedicated to mitigating diesel from school buses.

Utility Grants

  • Pacific Power Electric Mobility Grants   
    Grants for electric transportation projects are available to non-residential customers in Oregon.
    Oregon Electric Mobility Grants can cover up to 100% of the eligible costs of studying, planning, promoting or deploying electric transportation technology and projects. Email for more information.
  • The PGE Drive Change Fund 
    Drive Change Funds form PGE are available to support electric vehicle adoption through funding for infrastructure and educational projects. Projects cover a range of vehicle types from transit, electric bikes and community vehicles. Please check their website for eligibility, project examples and application dates.


Morgan Schafer 
Air Quality Planner