Clean Fuels In Beautiful Places: U.S. Parks Service Goes Even Greener

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Clean Cities National Parks Initiative infographic (Image: U.S. DoE)

Clean Cities National Parks Initiative infographic (Image: U.S. DoE)

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For those readers living in one of America's big cities, concrete jungles strewn across the North American landscape, it's easy to forget that hundreds of thousands of acres are set aside in some states as National Parks.

Isolated from the bustle of busy cities they're idyllic spots, precious for their history, beauty--and clean air.

The National Park Service and U.S. Department of Energy are working together to keep them that way--launching an initiative to use alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies in U.S. National Parks.

The aim is to reduce air pollution, greenhouse gases and consumption from Park Service vehicles, as well as reducing the cost of running vehicles across the 13 parks in the initiative.

In addition, the projects aim to educate park visitors on minimizing their impact while spending time at the parks--offering information on visiting the parks by means other than private cars, and helping educate visitors on reducing the amount of time their vehicles stand idling.

The figures suggest that if just 25 percent of the seven million visitors to the 13 parks reduce their idle time by just five minutes, it would save 192,000 gallons of gasoline per year and prevent 2,000 tons of greenhouse gas entering the atmosphere. Rather makes a mockery of the concept that small changes aren't worth making, doesn't it...

The parks' own initiatives could also realize big savings. By using hybrid and electric vehicles and reducing the idle time of park vehicles, it could save 10,000 gallons of gasoline and 71 tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year.

Individual parks have their own schemes afoot, with everything from solar electric vehicle chargers to idle reduction technology.

Visitors will also be able to learn about the parks' vehicles, perhaps changing their opinions on alternative fuels and electric vehicles.

Making America's green spaces greener? Every little effort helps.


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Comments (6)
  1. Many of the park buses and shuttles are already either electric or natural gas powered.

    The problem is with summer traffic jams. They should try to reduce traffic jams and increase the price of entrance for peak season, especially for non-US residence.

  2. Thanks for posting Antony! If anyone has additional questions, please send them my way as I manage the effort for DOE and the NPS.

    We will be announcing additional transportation and fleet-focused activities on Earth Day, stay tuned!

  3. How about more solar panels on the roofs of the building and parking area? They will help to generate power AND providing shade. That would really work in some of the Southwest parks, especially. We have a lot of national parks located in the "sunny" part of the country.

  4. We are certainly incorporating solar into the EVSE installations in several of these projects!

  5. Hi Anthony - Thanks for pointing out the work the National Parks are doing to reduce their carbon footprint. The park rangers at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area drive plug in cars, and Adopt a Charger just installed EV chargers at the Crissy Center, and is completing the Muir woods. Next up is Point Reyes, where the park rangers drive the legacy RAV4 EVs and charge them with solar power. So many great things happening.

  6. Well said Antony. And yes, small efforts across more than 300 million residents and millions of tourists and visitors will have big impacts.

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