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Vehicle Energy Data Resources Help Inform Local Leaders

April 18, 2016

A photo of traffic on an interstate with a city in the background.

Establishing transportation policies to lower cities' greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is now simpler, thanks to new city-specific data and tools now available online.

The 2015 Paris Climate Conference acknowledged the significant role played by cities in reducing global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particularly those stemming from transportation.

Due to a lack of information and credible data specific to their cities, energy decision makers have had difficulty in the past when it came to setting effective energy goals, identifying policies that support those goals, and measuring progress toward achieving energy goals. However, several U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) tools and websites housing energy information specific to cities are working to change that.

  • Cities Leading through Energy Analysis and Planning (Cities-LEAP)
    Through Cities-LEAP, extensive energy data from more than 20 comprehensive sources was collected and analyzed to create tools to help city leaders make better-informed energy decisions. The new City Energy Profiles, now available on the DOE State and Local Energy Data website, provide estimates of electricity and natural gas consumption and expenditures by sector. It also provides on-road vehicle fuel use and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) for more than 23,400 U.S. cities. City profiles share actual data on the various fuel types used, including alternative fuels, and the average fuel economy of vehicles registered in each city.

    The site will soon include a City Energy Action Toolbox to support cities in taking energy-related actions. In addition to providing downloadable data sets, the City Energy Profiles will also include estimated data for each city on GHG emissions, photovoltaic potential on small buildings, commercial and residential building stock characterizations, and commercial and industrial activity.

  • State & Local Energy Data (SLED)
    The SLED tool offers immediate access to useful vehicle data and information. This tool provides users access to city and local transportation data, including:

    • On-road fuel use by light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles (analytically derived data)
    • VMT by all on-road vehicles (analytically derived data)
    • Visual alternative fueling station data (raw data)
    • The number of light-duty alternative fuel and conventional vehicles in 2014 (summarized data)
    • Average fuel economy of light-duty vehicles (analytically derived data)
    • The number of medium- and heavy-duty alternative fuel and conventional vehicles in 2014 (summarized data)
    • Transportation fuel costs (raw data)
    • Most recent alternative fuel laws and incentives data (raw data)
    • Demographic data from the U.S. Census (raw data)
    • Electricity utility name, rates, state and national rate trends, state electricity fuel sources, and electricity demand by sector (raw data).
  • Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC)
    The AFDC houses a comprehensive database related to alternative fuels and vehicles, air quality, fuel efficiency, and other transportation topics. Users may also download a file with federal and state laws and incentives. City-specific data are not available, but the National Renewable Energy Laboratory provides an application programming interface for laws and incentives data at a state or local level.

These resources can help cities lead clean energy innovations and integrate strategic energy analysis into their decision making.

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