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Better Communities Alliance

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is launching the Better Communities Alliance (BCA), a new collaborative effort among 60 local governments, philanthropies, nonprofit organizations, and leading private companies to accelerate local clean energy progress across the country. The BCA was announced today by the White House during Smart Cities Week.

With 87% of total U.S. energy to be consumed in cities by 2030, America's local governments are stepping up to the challenge. Through the BCA, city and county leaders are making commitments to reduce the wasted energy in homes and buildings, expand renewable energy and sustainable transportation options for their residents and businesses, harness new energy-saving technologies, and invest in resilient power systems and community infrastructure.

As part of the Better Buildings Initiative, the BCA will deliver new clean energy resources, technical assistance, and facilitate collaboration between public and private partners by making it easier for participants to connect and exchange ideas.

"Cities and counties are already centers for clean energy innovation across the United States," said Franklin Orr, DOE's Under Secretary for Science and Energy. "Through the Better Communities Alliance, DOE is committed to further supporting America's local governments and working with leaders from the public and private sectors to deliver energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable transportation solutions that create cleaner and more prosperous communities for millions of Americans."

There are 34 local governments serving 40 million Americans that are committed to the BCA and working with DOE to accelerate local clean energy progress and bolster leadership. Local government partners will receive streamlined access to DOE clean energy resources, opportunities to apply for resources, access to forums for peer networking and expert dialogue, and federal recognition of clean energy achievements. The participating cities and counties are:

  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Boulder, Colorado
  • Broward County, Florida
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Chula Vista, California
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Dubuque, Iowa
  • Fort Worth, Texas
  • Huntington Beach, California
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Kauai County, Hawaii
  • King County, Washington
  • Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Los Angeles County, California
  • Miami-Dade County, Florida
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Newark, New Jersey
  • New York, New York
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Richmond, Virginia
  • Roanoke, Virginia
  • Rochester, New York
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • San Francisco, California
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Sonoma County, California
  • West Palm Beach, Florida
  • Will County, Illinois

The BCA is also partnering with 26 public and private organizations. BCA affiliates will help identify specific opportunities for collaboration with DOE and local governments. The full list of charter Affiliates is below:

  • The Kresge Foundation
  • Energy Foundation
  • Surdna Foundation
  • The Solar Foundation
  • Governing Institute
  • Philips Lighting
  • C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
  • National League of Cities
  • National Association of Counties
  • International City/County Management Association
  • National Association of State Energy Officials
  • Urban Sustainability Directors Network
  • Smart Cities Council
  • ICLEI USA - Local Governments for Sustainability
  • Arup
  • Hatch
  • Cityzenith
  • U.S. Green Building Council
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Institute for Sustainable Communities
  • Emerald Cities Collaborative
  • Alliance to Save Energy
  • American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
  • Institute for Market Transformation
  • STAR Communities
  • Global Cool Cities Alliance

Additionally, DOE is announcing new community-focused initiatives to further the Better Communities Alliance:

  • Launch a Better Buildings Accelerator to assist local governments in developing Zero Energy Districts within their communities. DOE will partner with city leaders, district developers, planners, owners, and key additional stakeholders to develop a business case and energy master planning documents needed for replication of Zero Energy Districts;
  • Provide technical assistance from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to local governments to analyze community data and create clean energy outcomes;
  • Develop new sensor technology and networks, data integration and analytical and visualization tools, and computational capabilities for modeling urban systems and infrastructure;
  • Empower American startup companies and entrepreneurs to catalyze the rapid creation of products and solutions to advance clean energy in communities;
  • Assist local governments in analyzing publicly owned buildings to identify opportunities to reduce taxpayers' energy expenses and improve energy performance; and
  • Measure the impact of building energy benchmarking and transparency programs in localities and determine best practices.

 

The Better Communities Alliance is part of the broader Better Buildings Initiative, which aims to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings 20percent more energy efficient over the next decade. Through Better Buildings, public and private sector organizations across the country are working together to share and replicate successful strategies to drive energy efficiency. This means saving billions of dollars on energy bills, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating thousands of jobs.

Learn more about joining the Better Communities Alliance.

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Fact of the Week

For over 25 years, surveys of the general U.S. population have gauged consumer sentiments on vehicle qualities. A 2016 survey of the general population asked “Which one of the following attributes would be most important in your choice of your next vehicle?” The share of respondents choosing fuel economy as most important was highest in 1980, 2011, and 2012. The average annual gasoline price in those years was over $3.50 per gallon (measured in constant 2015 dollars to adjust for inflation). In 1985 and 1998, the years in which the fewest respondents chose fuel economy as an important attribute, the price of gasoline was less than $2.00 per gallon. Gasoline prices declined in 2015 and 2016, and the share of respondents choosing fuel economy as an important attribute was the lowest since 2005 (13% and 15%, respectively).

FUEL ECONOMY AS THE MOST IMPORTANT VEHICLE ATTRIBUTE COMPARED TO GASOLINE PRICE, 1980-2016

fotw943.png

SUPPORTING INFORMATION

Fuel Economy as the Most Important Vehicle Attribute Compared to Gasoline Price, 1980-2016

YearFuel EconomyGasoline Price (Constant 2015 Dollars per Gallon)
1980 42% 3.58
1981 20% 3.59
1983 13% 2.95
1985 8% 2.65
1987 4% 1.98
1996 7% 1.86
1998 4% 1.54
2000 11% 2.08
2001 11% 1.96
2004 22% 2.36
2005 12% 2.79
2006 20% 3.04
2007 21% 3.20
2008 27% 3.60
2009 24% 2.60
2011 30% 3.72
2012 29% 3.76
2014 20% 3.37
2015 13% 2.45
2016 15% 2.06

Notes: Fuel economy was chosen by survey respondents asked this question: Which one of the following attributes would be most important in your choice of your next vehicle? Gasoline prices are annual averages for regular unleaded gasoline.

Sources:
Gasoline Price: Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review, July 2016, Table 9.4.

Survey Data:
1980-87: J.D. Power (based on new car buyers).

1996-2016: Opinion Research Corporation International for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (based on the general population).
Study # 70550, December 12, 1996.
Study # 707089, February 19 – 22, 1998, N = 1,019.
Study # 709318, August 3 – 6, 2000, N = 1,013.
Study # 710288, July 12, 2001, N = 1,004.
Study # 713228, May 27, 2004, N=949.
Study # 714209, May 20, 2005, N=1012.
Study # 715238, June 8, 2006, N=1,007.
Study # 716328, August 9, 2007, N=1010.
Study # 717318, August 3, 2008, N=1,005.
Study # 718339, August 14-17, 2009, N=1,003.
Study # 720229, June 3 - 6, 2011, N=1,011.
Study # 721488, November 29 - December 2, 2012, N=1,007.
Study # 723238, June 5-8, 2014, N=1,014.
Study # 724268, June 25-28, 2015, N=1,007.
Study # 725268, June 23-26, 2016, N=1,012.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Consumer Views on Transportation and Advanced Vehicle Technologies, NREL/TP-5400-64840, September 2015, Figure 11.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Consumer Views on Transportation and Energy (Third Edition), NREL/TP-620-39047, January 2006, Table 4.1.1.

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Fact of the Week

A 2016 survey of the general population asked “Which one of the following attributes would be most important in your choice of your next vehicle?” The choices were fuel economy, dependability, low price, quality and safety. The same question was asked in previous surveys and the results are compared.  Dependability was chosen most often in nearly every survey after 1980, but fuel economy surpassed it in 2011 and 2012 when gasoline prices were higher.  In 2016, 15% of respondents indicated that fuel economy would be the most important vehicle attribute, up from 13% in 2015.

Stacked bar chart displaying the Most Important Vehicle Attribute, 1980-2016
Note: During the survey, answer categories were rotated to prevent respondent bias.

SUPPORTING INFORMATION

Q: Which one of the following attributes would be most important in your choice of your next vehicle?
YearFuel
Economy
DependabilityLow
Price
QualitySafety
1980 42% 31% 14% 4% 9%
1981 20% 40% 21% 7% 12%
1983 13% 38% 30% 11% 9%
1985 8% 41% 29% 12% 10%
1987 4% 44% 31% 8% 14%
1996 7% 34% 11% 19% 29%
1998 4% 36% 5% 20% 34%
2000 11% 33% 11% 22% 24%
2001 11% 30% 8% 22% 30%
2004 22% 26% 10% 19% 23%
2005 12% 33% 7% 21% 28%
2006 20% 28% 7% 20% 26%
2007 21% 30% 7% 17% 24%
2008 27% 27% 8% 15% 23%
2009 24% 29% 10% 19% 18%
2011 30% 22% 8% 18% 22%
2012 29% 25% 14% 16% 15%
2014 20% 30% 11% 19% 20%
2015 13% 31% 14% 18% 21%
2016 15% 33% 9% 19% 24%

Sources:
1980-87: J.D. Power (based on new car buyers).

1996-2016: Opinion Research Corporation International for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (based on the general population).
Study # 70550, December 12, 1996.
Study # 707089, February 19 – 22, 1998, N = 1,019.
Study # 709318, August 3 – 6, 2000, N = 1,013.
Study # 710288, July 12, 2001, N = 1,004.
Study # 713228, May 27, 2004, N=949.
Study # 714209, May 20, 2005, N=1012.
Study # 715238, June 8, 2006, N=1,007.
Study # 716328, August 9, 2007, N=1010.
Study # 717318, August 3, 2008, N=1,005.
Study # 718339, August 14-17, 2009, N=1,003.
Study # 720229, June 3 - 6, 2011, N=1,011.
Study #721488, November 29 - December 2, 2012, N=1,007.
Study #724268, June 25-28, 2015, N=1,007.
Study #725268, June 23-26, 2016, N=1,012.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Consumer Views on Transportation and Advanced Vehicle Technologies, NREL/TP-5400-64840, September 2015, Figure 11.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Consumer Views on Transportation and Energy (Third Edition), NREL/TP-620-39047, January 2006, Table 4.1.1.

 

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Fact of the Week

Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for light vehicles are defined by target fuel economy values which become increasingly strict each year, and are scaled according to each vehicle’s footprint*. Vehicles are classified either as a car or truck for regulatory purposes and separate standards apply. Each vehicle model is tested using standardized methods to calculate a miles per gallon (mpg) value which is compared to the appropriate target mpg value for the model year and vehicle’s footprint. The manufacturers receive a credit or penalty based on this comparison. The target value curves for years 2022-2025 may be revised during a process known as the “Midterm Evaluation” in which the latest available data will be reviewed during the period from June 2016 to April 2018 and changes made to the curves if appropriate. The first step of the Midterm Evaluation is a Technical Assessment Report which was published in July 2016.

CAFE STANDARDS FOR CARS AND LIGHT TRUCKS, MODEL YEARS 2012-2025

Graph of CAFE standards for cars for model years 2012 to 2025

Graph of CAFE standards for light trucks for model years 2012 to 2025

* Vehicle footprint is based on a vehicle's track width and wheelbase. Track width is the distance between the centerlines of the right and left tires. Wheelbase is the distance between the centers of the front and rear tires.

Notes: CAFE values are not equivalent to window sticker fuel economy values. CAFE standards are regulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which harmonizes the standards with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) greenhouse gas standards.

Fact #941 Dataset

SUPPORTING INFORMATION

The top graphic shows the CAFE Standard Targets for Cars in terms of fuel economy (mpg) and footprint (square feet) for model years 2012-2025. The data were derived by EPA/NHTSA using Equation IV-1 on page 63024 of the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 199, Monday, October 15, 2012.

The bottom graphic shows the CAFE Standard Targets for Light Trucks in terms of fuel economy (mpg) and footprint (square feet) for model years 2012-2025. The data were derived by EPA/NHTSA using Equation IV-3 on page 63025 of the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 199, Monday, October 15, 2012.

Sources:
Final Rule. Federal Register Vol. 75, No. 88 (May 7, 2010), pp. 25324-25728.
Final Rule. Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 199 (October 15, 2012), pp. 62623-63200.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), "CAFE Fuel Economy Standards and Midterm Evaluation for Light-Duty Vehicles, MYs 2022-2025," Schedule for the MYs 2022-2025 CAFE standards and MTE.

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