Refueling Behavior of Flexible Fuel Vehicle Drivers in the Federal Fleet

Ryan Daley, Mackay Miller, John Nangle

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Federal fleets are a frequent subject of legislative and executive efforts to lead a national transition to alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. Section 701 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires that all dual-fueled alternative fuel vehicles in the federal fleet be operated on alternative fuel 100% of the time when they have access to it. However, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012,drivers of federal flex fuel vehicles (FFV) leased through the General Services Administration refueled with E85 24% of the time when it was available--falling well short of the mandate. The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory completed a 2-year Laboratory Directed Research and Development project to identify the factors that influence the refueling behavior offederal FFV drivers. The project began with two primary hypotheses. First, information scarcity increases the tendency to miss opportunities to purchase E85. Second, even with perfect information, there are limits to how far drivers will go out of their way to purchase E85. This paper discusses the results of the project, which included a June 2012 survey of federal fleet drivers and anempirical analysis of actual refueling behavior from FY 2009 to 2012. This research will aid in the design and implementation of intervention programs aimed at increasing alternative fuel use and reducing petroleum consumption.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages86
StatePublished - 2014

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5400-61777


  • AFVS
  • alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies
  • DOE
  • dual-fueled alternative fuel vehicles
  • Energy Policy Act
  • EPAct 2005
  • federal fleets
  • federal flex fuel vehicles
  • FFVS
  • General Services Administration (GSA)
  • GSA leased vehicles
  • laboratory directed research and development
  • leased vehicles
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
  • NREL
  • Section 701
  • U.S. Department of Energy


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