HARRISBURG, Pa (Erie News Now) – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced $2.1 million in alternative fuels incentive grants.
The Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program (AFIG) provides funding for municipalities and businesses to improve the air quality in their communities.
According to the DEP, transportation is one of the biggest sources of air pollution in the commonwealth, accounting for 47 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions statewide.
Officials say investing in zero- and low-emission transportation is crucial for the environment.
The grants will support 99 electric vehicles, charger installations, and more transportation upgrades for businesses, municipalities, and non-profits.
“The alternative fuels incentive grant program funds projects across the state, giving priority to minority, veteran, or women owned businesses and to Environmental Justice Areas that are especially vulnerable to the impacts of air pollution,” said DEP Executive Deputy Secretary Ramez Ziadeh.
According to the DEP, an Environmental Justice area is defined as any census tract where 20 percent or more individuals live at or below the federal poverty line, and/or 30 percent or more of the population identifies as a non-white minority, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the federal guidelines for poverty. The areas are mapped by the DEP and can be viewed here.
The AFIG Program provides funding for electric, renewable natural gas, compressed natural gas, ethanol, biodiesel, or propane gas fueled vehicles. Officials say the program is essential to help municipalities, businesses, and nonprofit organizations in Pennsylvania replace older gasoline, or diesel-fueled vehicles.
According to the DEP, the funded projects are anticipated to reduce gasoline use by 478,000 gallons per year over their lifetimes, collectively.