Consumers, fleet managers and local governments will now be able to compare energy savings and fuel consumption, thanks to the U.S. Department of Energy’s creation of a Vehicle Cost Calculator and accompanying widget.

The calculator was launched by the U.S. DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The online data tools are available on the DOE’s Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC), currently celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Vehicle Cost Calculator

The Vehicle Cost Calculator, available through the U.S. Department of Energy, will give consumers and fleet managers side-by-side comparisons and overall lifetime operating costs for vehicle purchases. Credit: DOE

The online data system has tools to fit individual vehicle needs by providing a variety of tools, databases and informational resources on vehicles powered by alternatives to gasoline and diesel. Users can make side-by-side comparisons between thousands of conventional, electric drive and alternative fuel vehicles from model year 1996 and newer.

The calculator, developed by the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), is a user-friendly tool that allows users to compare emissions and lifetime operating costs of specific vehicle models, including conventional cars and trucks, as well as vehicles running on alternative fuels such as electricity, ethanol, natural gas or biodiesel.

Users also have access to additional information tailored to deliver accurate comparisons by providing usage for driving habits, local zip code, price of fuel and potential tax credits. The system compiles the data and provides users with a breakdown of lifetime operating costs with fuel and maintenance cost taken into account, operational cost per mile and greenhouse gas emissions over time.

Additionally, the calculator’s widget version gives organizations access to add to components of calculator to their websites and also provides users with a full calculator to give those interested, a more detailed analysis. The Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center has more than 20 online tools including an alternative fuel station locator, a database for alternative fuel fleet options and a search tool available for researching tax credits and other alternative fuel benefits.

More information about the initiative to reduce petroleum consumption in the transportation sector is available on the DOE’s Clean Cities website.

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