On October 3, 2008 a massive consumer awareness campaign, spearheaded by the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC), headquartered at West Virginia University National Research Center for Coal and Energy, provided education and awareness on the importance of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles to more than 150,000 consumers at various sites throughout the United States and Canada. These events were held as part of the largest ever one-day nationwide event known as National Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Day Odyssey.
National AFV Day Odyssey is a biennial event dedicated to promoting cleaner choices in transportation. “The NAFTC undertook this project because of the critical need to support the alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) industry” said Al Ebron, NAFTC Executive Director. “More public awareness is necessary to help ease our dependence on foreign oil, and we must support those manufacturers that are making AFVs a viable option for individuals everywhere. With everyone joining together on one day, working toward the same goals, we can’t help but compound the effect of our individual efforts. This unity will further increase the impact of each individual site’s program and will catalyze the momentum for the advanced transportation movement nationwide. Together, we will bring national attention to AFVs and advanced technology vehicles and promote them as a cleaner and more efficient choice for transportation.”
With a total of 90 special events held throughout the U.S. and Canada, National AFV Day Odyssey events served as a voice to deliver the message about the importance of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles to a populace feeling the crunch of higher pump prices and worrying about the impacts of traditional fuel sources on the environment. Events featured industry experts, vehicle displays, educational seminars, vehicle test drives, testimonials, networking opportunities, and much more. This year’s event was the fourth installment of Odyssey and was organized in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Clean Cities Program. U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) provided special recognition of the initiative by introducing a Senate Resolution designating October 3, 2008 as National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day. The resolution was co-sponsored by 26 other U.S. Senators.
The U.S. DOE Clean Cities Program and partner of National AFV Day Odyssey hosted a spectacular pre-kickoff event in support of their coordinating messages and partnership with the NAFTC at the U.S.DOE headquarters in Washington, D.C. This event included vehicle displays, table-top exhibits, and speakers including government officials, John Mizroch, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE); David Rodgers, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency; Christopher Zimmerman, Arlington County board member and METRO board chair, as well as Al Ebron, NAFTC Executive Director.
“The National Media Kick-off Event for Odyssey 2008 was hosted by Nashville Auto-Diesel College (NADC) and Clean Cities of Middle Tennessee on the campus of NADC in Nashville, TN, on October 3, 2008,” Ebron said. “It drew a crowd of more than 2,000 people who took in all the vehicle displays, an impressive line-up of speakers with expertise in alternative fuels and vehicles and also many exhibits. Our 2008 spokesperson was country music superstar Michael Peterson.” Mr. Peterson took the stage to kick off the nationwide event along with industry experts, government officials, individuals with real-world alternative fuel experiences, and National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium Executive Director Al Ebron. In addition, representatives from the City of Nashville presented a proclamation from the city proclaiming October 3, 2008 as National AFV Day Odyssey.
Many exciting Odyssey events of all formats were held throughout the country, one of which was conducted with the opening of the nation’s first biofuels corridor known as the I-65 Clean Corridor. The Interstate 65 “Clean Corridor” opened with a three day drive fueled entirely on biofuels such as E85 ethanol and B20 biodiesel. The I-65 Clean Corridor is a four state project (IN, KY, TN and AL) involving cooperation among Federal and State agencies, multiple organizations, and private businesses. The Clean Corridor allows consumers to drive the entire 886 miles of I-65 without ever being farther than ¼ of a tank of fuel away from an E85 or B20 pump.
Triangle Clean Cities Coalition of North Carolina participated in Odyssey Day 2008 by collaborating with the North Carolina State Fair’s ’ Green NC’ exhibit. Green NC was host to over thirty exhibitors and allowed State Fair goers the opportunity to learn about Sustainable Foods, Eco-Friendly Living, Water Conservation, Recycling, Energy, Alternative Fuels and Travel through a series of informative and interactive experiences and presentations.
Another event hosted by the St. Louis Regional Clean Cities held their Odyssey Day in conjunction with the Green Homes & Renewable Energy Festival and Green House Tour. This tour featured over 100 booths of energy related items and activities for those of all ages. There were also numerous vehicles on display, including hybrids, electric, biodiesel, and e-85. There was also a Biodiesel Transit bus painted by local children with a renewable energy theme. One educational piece of the festival included industry experts presenting workshops on topics such as renewable fuels and solar, wind, and geothermal energy. Live music, good food and a plethora of activities helped the festival bring in well over 4000 attendees.
Each year since its inception in 2002, National AFV Day Odyssey has drawn record-breaking crowds and has allowed millions to hear Odyssey’s message on the importance of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. In 2006, with 60 participating sites in three countries, the event surpassed expectations by attracting nearly 40,000 attendees and reaching more than 30 million individuals through media coverage. We would like to recognize our 2008 national sponsors, the National Biodiesel Board, Toyota, and Fuel Advantage Magazine. In addition, local Odyssey events were co-sponsored by hundreds of companies, organizations, and individuals. We thank each of you for your participation and support. Without you the success of Odyssey would not be possible!
If you would like more information on Odyssey or to find out how to become involved with Odyssey 2010, please visit www.nationalafvdayodyssey.org or contact Amy Gandy at email@example.com or by telephone at (304)293-7882.