Federal Alternative Fuel Programs

Federal alternative fuel programs are provided by the United States government to promote green energy used by helping organizations convert to alternative fuel and alternative fuel vehicle use. These programs provide funding and subsidies to give underfunded organizations the option of going green.

Federal Alternative Fuel Programs

Clean Cities

Clean Cities promotes the energy, economic, and environmental security of the U.S. by backing local initiatives adopting practices which decrease petrochemical use in the transportation sector.

More than 80 volunteer organizations work toward this mission by promoting:

  • Public and private partnerships promoting alternative fuel and vehicles
  • Alternative fuel blends
  • Fuel economy
  • Hybrid vehicle use
  • Idle reduction technology


Clean Cities Activities

  • Financial opportunity information
  • Technical assistance project coordination
  • Database and website updating and maintenance
  • Fact sheet, newsletter, and technical information material publication

State Energy Program Funding

Many alternative fuel programs issue grants for fuel and equipment conversion. The State Energy Program issues grants to states for renewable energy efficiency:

  • Design
  • Development
  • Implementation


Fund Distribution

State energy offices receive SEP funding and manage all SEP-funded projects. States participating in SEP Special Projects can receive funding from the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) office. Funding is distributed through competitive solicitation to state energy offices.

National Clean Diesel Campaign

The National Clean Diesel Campaign, or NCDC, was established by the EPA for the reduction of pollution from diesel engines through multiple control strategies involving national, state, and local agencies.

One of many alternative fuel programs, the NCDC provides:

  • Diesel fleet programs
  • Clean diesel engine and fuel regulations
  • Collaboration and partnership with regional agencies

SmartWay Transport Partnership

The SmartWay Transport Partnership is a voluntary cooperative between the EPA and the ground freight industry. It promotes greenhouse gas reduction and air pollution by increasing fuel efficiency.

Benefits and Services

  • Fleet management tools
  • Technical support
  • Informational services
  • Public recognition
  • SmartWay logo use

The partnership works with states, banks, and other agencies to help Partners acquire fuel efficient and emission reduction devices.

Grant Eligible Organizations

  • States
  • Nonprofits
  • Academic institutions

Clean School Bus USA

Clean School Bus USA is a partnership focusing on reducing the exposure of children to diesel exhaust by:

  • Reducing school bus idling
  • Pollution reduction technology implementation
  • Logistical route improvment
  • Clean fuel conversion

Clean School Bus USA is one of several alternative fuel programs in the EPA’s National Clean Diesel Campaign.

Eligible Funding Applicants

  • School districts
  • State and local government programs
  • Recognized Indian tribes
  • Not for profit organizations

Clean Ports USA

Clean Ports USA is one of several alternative fuel programs in the Nation Clean Diesel campaign encouraging emission reduction by port authorities and terminal operators by providing incentives for retrofitting and replacing older diesel engines with new alternative fuel engines and clean fuel use.

Clean Construction USA

Clean Construction USA is one of a group of alternative fuel programs in the National Clean Diesel Campaign. It promotes construction equipment diesel exhaust reduction through:

  • Encouragement of proper operations and maintenance
  • Emission reduction technology use
  • Clean fuel use

Clean Agriculture USA

Clean Agriculture USA is one of several voluntary alternative fuel programs under the National Clean Diesel Campaign. The program promotes agricultural equipment and vehicle diesel exhaust reduction by:

  • Promoting proper equipment and vehicle operation and maintenance
  • Emission reduction technology
  • Clean fuel usage

Air Pollution Control Program

This program helps state, local, and tribal agencies with adequate air pollution and national air quality program:

  • Planning
  • Developing
  • Establishment
  • Improvement
  • Maintenance

These programs focus on:

  • Alternative fuels
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Efficient transportation

Alternative Transportation in Parks and Public Lands Program

This program offers funding which supports public transportation initiatives in parks and on public lands.

Program Goals

  • Conserve natural, historical, and cultural resources
  • Reduce congestion and pollutions

The Federal Transit Administration runs the program and partners with the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service receiving technical assistance for alternative transportation initiatives.

Eligible Projects

Eligible projects include capital and planning expenses for alternative transportation systems such as clean fuel shuttle vehicles. For more information, see the Alternative Transportation in Parks and Public Lands fact sheet. (Reference 49 U.S. Code 5320)

Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program

The CMAQ Improvement Program offers funding to:

  • State departments of transportations
  • Municipal planning organizations
  • Transit agencies

These funds are designed to help these organizations make advancement in air quality and transportation emission reduction.

Covered Activities

  • Improvement of transit systems
  • Travel demand management
  • Improvement of traffic flow
  • Idle reduction equipment acquisition
  • Alternative fuel infrastructure development
  • Public fleet vehicle alternative fuel conversion
  • Assisting diesel equipment and vehicle owners through the diesel retrofit process

Programs Taking Priority

  • Diesel retrofitting
  • Cost effective emission reduction
  • Cost effective congestion mitigation

Clean Fuels Grant Program

This program provides financial assistance to ozone and carbon monoxide air quality nonattainment and maintenance areas in meeting and maintaining clear air standards as set forth by the National Ambient Air Quality Standard.

Program Goals

  • Increase transit fleet low-emission vehicle use
  • Assist transit energy purchase of low-emission buses and other related equipment
  • Alternative fuel station construction
  • Modification of garage facilities for clean fuel vehicle use
  • Biodiesel use assistance

Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) Program

The VALE program works with commercial airports in designated ozone and carbon monoxide air quality nonattainment and maintenance areas to reduce ground level emissions.

Funds are made available to qualifying organization through the Airport Improvement Program and the Passenger Facility Charges program for:

  • Low emission vehicle purchasing
  • Fueling and recharging station development
  • Gate electrification implementation

To learn more about bulk fuel tank regulations, please visit our Fuel Tank Regulations page

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