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“Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center at North Carolina State University is sponsoring a student art contest on the topic of ways that we can take action to reduce air pollution from cars and trucks. Students from kindergarten through college can submit artwork for the contest. Winners will have their artwork featured on billboards across the state to help spread the word about ways that we all can help keep the air clean. All billboards will direct people to learn more at www.fuelwhatmatters.org.

Artwork can be submitted through November 5. November 6 through 19 will be the voting period. Submissions should be made here.

Only North Carolina residents’ artwork will be considered. Prizes will be given out by grade levels: elementary school (grades 5 and below), middle school (grades 6-8), high School (grades 9-12), college (students must be currently enrolled in a 2 or 4 year college or university).

Please focus your artwork on on the theme of actions that individuals and families can take to reduce the amount of air pollution from vehicles. Examples of actions that people can take to help reduce pollution from cars and trucks includes: walking, biking, using public transportation, car-pooling, using alternative fuels (such as electric vehicles, biofuels, and more), and not idling your car unnecessarily. Please make your artwork family-friendly and non-partisan.

After you submit your artwork, your friends and family will have the opportunity to vote on it through social media. The popularity of submissions will be one of the major considerations in choosing winners. Winners will ultimately be chosen based on the following: relevance and appropriateness of the message, visual design,  and votes on social media.

Thank you for helping us persuade people to Keep Our Air Clean!

Posted by NC Clean Energy Technology Center

Everyone can take steps to reduce vehicle pollution

Pollution from vehicles is a major cause of health problems such as asthma. We all benefit from clean air. No matter who you are, there are actions you can take to help reduce the amount of pollution that comes from cars. Everyone, from kids to adults, can help make a difference. Here are some things that you can do.

    1. 1. Ride a bike or walk.

If you are only going a short distance, consider riding a bike or walking instead of driving. You can get exercise and enjoy the fresh air while getting where you need to go!

2. Take public transit.
If you need to go somewhere that is along a bus or light rail line, consider taking public transit instead of going in a car.

3. Carpool.
When going to school or work, try to carpool together with other people who are headed in the same direction. You can save money and reduce the amount of fuel burned at the same time.

4. Avoid idling.
When idling, you waste fuel by burning it when you aren’t moving. If you will be in the same spot for more than a minute or two, consider turning off your vehicle’s engine (as long as it is safe to do so).

5. Use alternative fuels.
Alternative fuels are cleaner than regular gasoline or diesel. Alternative fuel vehicles include electric vehicles and flex-fuel vehicles that can use ethanol blends. Most new electric vehicles now have a range of over 100 miles, which meets most people’s daily commuting needs. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and extended range electric vehicles use gasoline as well and therefore do not have a range limit. Flex-fuel vehicles can use ethanol blends that are up to 85% ethanol and regular cars that are newer than 2001 can use ethanol blends that have up to 15% ethanol. Ethanol is made from crops such as corn and helps support American farmers.

None of these options work for everyone all the time. But all of us can take steps to reduce pollution from cars and trucks.

Posted by Growth Energy

E15 ethanol blend available for the Fall

As summer comes to a close, American drivers now have access to E15 – a 21st century fueling option that contains five percent more ethanol than what most drivers have been using for years. That’s good news for drivers and for our environment.

Virtually all gasoline used in the United States contains ten percent ethanol, something that has been true for years. This biofuel replaces toxic fuel additives that are linked to cancer and smog. And today, 29 states offer fuel with higher blends of ethanol, including E15.

By using more ethanol in our fuel supply, we have the ability to more fully realize the benefits of this American-made fuel source.

What are these benefits? Well, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found that ethanol can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 43 percent or more when compared to petroleum. Not only that, it is more affordable, renewable and it’s home-grown – keeping prices low at the pump while simultaneously supporting jobs right here in the United States.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approves E15 for use in any vehicle manufactured since 2001, which equates to 9 out of 10 cars on the road today.

E15 is currently sold at more than 950 retail outlets across 29 states – and that number grows every day. So, next time you fill up, choose E15 as a cleaner, modern fuel option. In our book, it’s definitely a fuel that matters.

To find an E15 retailer near you and learn more about this 21st century fuel choice, visit GetEthanol.com on your computer or mobile device.

Posted by Growth Energy

Americans Have Driven More Than 1 Billion Miles on E15

American consumers have helped E15 – a fuel containing 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline – reach a significant milestone. According to Growth Energy’s ongoing analysis of fuel sales and consumption data reported by major gasoline retailers, drivers across the United States have logged more than 1 billion miles on E15 – attesting to the fuel’s performance, safety, and value.

“American drivers are taking advantage of the proven performance, environmental benefits, and savings E15 provides,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor.

Growth Energy is proud to celebrate this milestone and highlight the value E15 delivers in terms of better performance, reduction of toxic emissions, and savings at the pump. Today, E15 is sold at more than 800 retail outlets across 29 states, and its availability continues to grow each day because 21st century drivers are demanding 21st century fuels. You can find places to purchase ethanol at www.GetEthanol.com.

The EPA approves E15 for use in any vehicle manufactured since 2001, which equates to 9 out of 10 cars on the road today. Automakers also approve E15 for use in nearly three-quarters of new cars.

There’s More Than One Way to Commute

Mary Sell, Best Workplaces for Commuters Coordinator with the Triangle J Council of Governments (TJCOG), has polled Triangle J residents about their daily commute. While most use their personal vehicles to get to-and-from work, others opted for walking, riding their bike, or public transit. “As job growth surges, so does the traffic and stress associated with a long, congestion filled commute,” says Sell. “Many [triangle] area commuters are looking for alternatives.”

The Best Workplaces for Commuters (BWC) Program is a resource, offered by TJCOG, that workplaces can depend on for best practices, education opportunities, and national workplace recognition.

The following is a post by Mary Sell:

Best Workplaces for Commuters recognizes the essential nature of good transportation resources in our growing region and the comprehensive strategic planning, education and outreach programming needed to support it. This approach has helped to create a holistic strategy to mitigate the impact of increasingly congested roadways and provide alternatives for commuters that decide a bike or bus may be more their style. BWC provides recognition to workplaces that have taken great steps to encourage modal shifts, serves as a regional resource, and ultimately works to expand upon individual actions to create a triangle-wide impact.

Currently, the Triangle Best Workplaces for Commuters program has over 30 participating organizations, with over 100,000 employees combined. As the program grows, so do the opportunities to strategically advance alternative transportation modes in our region. Take BWC members Citrix or Red Hat for example; each has onsite bike sharing and secure parking for those that commute in via 2-wheels. Or member American Tobacco Campus and their forward thinking decision to provide transit amenities to tenants to decrease the need for costly parking deck installations. Each BWC employer has unique transportation benefits that helped qualify them for national designation and continues to add to the regional conversation about how to attract and retain the best possible talent. Our role here at the COG is to recognize this activity and act as a facilitator and convener to help spread these good ideas as quickly as we can to provide the most impact that we can. Through working groups, regional events, and networking opportunities, BWC provides an embedded network of employers that value what their employees value – a better commute and a better way of life.

We all have ideas that we can learn from each other. Why not approach these challenges with collaborative partnerships to help our entire region? After all, one less car on the road benefits not only the alternative commuter enjoying their newly minted bike ride to work, but also the driver that has one less car beside them as they set in for their daily trek into the office. As the Triangle J region grows, so too does our need for innovative solutions. Best Workplaces for Commuters is just one of the many regional tools helping us to advance alternative transportation modes and decrease the dependence regionally on a car-centric way of life.

Learn more about our Best Workplaces for Commuter program here: http://www.trianglebwc.org/

PARTICLE FALLS

PARTICLE FALLS is a free, public art display designed by artist and scientist Andrea Polli. Enjoy this exhibit any night from March 24th to April 23rd in downtown Raleigh.

See air particulate pollution come to light before your eyes as real-time air quality readings are translated into an animated, colorful projection of light resembling a flowing waterfall. Watch the colors change as pollution rises and falls throughout the evening. The display begins each night at dusk on a 5-story building across the street from the Raleigh Times Bar (located at 14 E Hargett St).

Co-sponsored by Clean Air Carolina, North Carolina Department of Transportation, Novozymes, Empire Properties, Growth Energy, and Foursaken Media, this five-week event hopes to educate the public about the presence and impact of particle pollution in North Carolina and the alternative clean transportation options consumers can choose to help keep North Carolina’s air cleaner and healthier for us all.

Learn more at www.particlefallsRAL.org

Historic Friendship & Innovation Fuels A Greener Future

With Black History Month soon ending, we wanted to take a moment to remember one historical figure we all learned about in grade school whose impact extended far beyond just peanuts.

Beyond his fame for peanut applications, George Washington Carver’s research and influence extended across the entire industry of agricultural chemistry. His career aim was to give farmers in the South alternatives to cotton and create new markets to break into, and ultimately became an early proponent of environmentalism.

Carver’s commitment to a cleaner, greener planet is paying dividends today, and while many are familiar with much of Carver’s legacy, you may be surprised to learn that he also dabbled in automotive fuels. Carver is widely credited with discovering a method for turning soybeans into oil, which today is a common feedstock for making biodiesel.

His acclaim as an agricultural chemist eventually caught the attention of Henry Ford, another historic innovator, who was turning to agriculture to learn more about biofuels, which, like Carver, he considered the “fuel of the future.”

While Ford was designing early concepts of the Model T car, he sought out Carver’s expertise in agricultural chemistry to help make his biofuel vision a reality. The two developed a friendship and working relationship that would last the rest of their lives, with Ford saying Carver was “the greatest of all my inspiring friends.”

Ford would eventually design a car that could run on ethanol, a renewable biofuel made from plants, and in 1942 after years of correspondence, showcased a vehicle built with a plastic body made from Carver’s soybeans. The hard work, foresight, and resourcefulness he shared with Carver continues to benefit us all today.

All these years later, we’re continuing to build off of Ford and Carver’s automotive and agricultural legacies in the field of biofuels. In fact, ethanol is in 97% of all gasoline sold in the United States. The same fuel that Carver and Ford envisioned is now helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 43% and significantly cutting our reliance on foreign oil.

More and more, drivers are gaining access to fuels with higher blends of ethanol such as E15, which has 5% more of the biofuel than regular gasoline.

By adding more ethanol to our fuel, we’re able to take advantage of all the biofuel has to offer. That translates to lower greenhouse gas emissions and less wear and tear on our engines. It also is higher octane, which means more horsepower at a favorable price point.

All told, E15 is a 21st century fuel that is fit for use in all cars made 2001 and newer. Drivers across America have traveled over 500 million miles on this high-performance fuel.

Carver and Ford would be excited to learn that Americans are using more biofuels than ever before. Their vision of a world powered by ethanol is becoming reality.

To find an E15 retailer near you, visit GetEthanol.com.

2017 Community Asthma Walk

May is Asthma Awareness Month. Join the Mecklenburg County Asthma Coalition (MCAC) in their efforts to raise awareness and support for those affected by asthma by signing up for the 2017 Community Asthma Walk on May 6th.

The walk will begin and end at the Hauser Alumni Pavilion at UNC – Charlotte. Pre-registration is available until May 1. On-site registration will be from 8:00am to 9:00am and the Asthma Walk will start at 10:00am with snacks, fellowship, and tabletops to follow. There will be free parking at the Student Union Deck.

To sponsor or donate to this event contact Kelly Reeves.

For an interactive map including directions to UNC – Charlotte, click here.

Posted by U.S. DOT - Federal Highway Administration

Electric Corridor

Key steps toward accelerating the utilization of electric vehicles and the charging infrastructure needed to support them have been taken in the form of a national network of alternative fuel and electric charging corridors enabling coast to coast zero emission mobility on our nation’s highways.

Forty-eight of the 55 routes (spanning 35 states) that have been designated to accommodate one or more alternative fuel vehicles (including: electric, hydrogen, propane, and natural gas) will support electric vehicles specifically. In North Carolina, I-40 and I-85 will have corridors providing access to public Level 2 or DC Fast Charge stations from Raleigh to Hickory, Black Mountain to Asheville, and Raleigh to Gastonia. These charge stations will be five miles from the highway, with 50 miles between stations.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that road signs along the corridors will reduce range anxiety by pointing out where drivers can stop to charge their electric vehicles.

To learn more about the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) announcement under the U.S. DOT’s Federal Highway Administration, click here.

Posted by Growth Energy

500M miles on E15

The national yearly average price of gasoline will rise from $2.13 (in 2016) to $2.49 (almost 17%) in 2017, according to GasBuddy Organization Inc. Americans are estimated to shell out $52 billion more to fill up this year due to an 18% jump in oil prices as a result of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other nations reaching an agreement to reduce their output.

This implementation could leave numerous Americans wanting an alternative to the impending steep price tag of gasoline. “E15, which contains 15 percent ethanol, is an even better choice for their wallets, their engines, and the environment,” said Emily Skor, Growth Energy CEO. “That’s why more than 400 stations across 28 states are selling E15, and demand continues to grow.”

Growth Energy, leaders in the national effort to increase awareness of ethanol, has announced that drivers across the U.S. have more than 500 million miles driven on E15, making it the most tested fuel on the road. This number is based on sales and consumption data reported over the past 12 months by major gasoline retailers. E15’s fuel performance, safety, and value have been tested by the U.S. Department of Energy proving that vehicles can run without a problem for up to 120,000 miles. Automakers even approve of its use in nearly three-quarters of new cars.

According to Skor, “ethanol is already in 97% of the gasoline sold in the United States” and works for any vehicle manufactured since 2001. A complete list of flex fuel vehicles is available here.