Clean air is for breathing, right? It is, but we can breath polluted air too. We can usually see through the haze far enough to complete our essential daily tasks. Clean air is available to buy and sell as well.
When the USDOT started its clean fuels program to help make the air we breath cleaner, they also created a market opportunity to buy and sell. ~!~
Urban areas that have particularly smoggy air and do not meet the clean air standards set and reset by Congress are referred to as 'non-attainment areas.' This means that they must do more to resolve their pollution problems. Operators of vehicle fleets have the ability to impact change in the air quality by the fuels that they use. Although the combined number of fleet vehicles in this country is small compared to the tens of millions of personal automobiles, the DOT figures that in some small way the fleet operators can reduce the pollution.
Clean Fuel Vehicles (CFVs) run on fuels other than octane derived from petroleum or on ordinary sooty diesel fuel. Such fuels are Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Propane, Ethanol, Methanol, Hydrogen, or diesel blends with peanut oil, soy bean oil, etc. CFVs are rated on a scale of 1 to 3 depending on their class, weight and fuel. Fleet operators that provide services to the Federal Government or to anyone else who pay them with Federal funds must comply with the Clean Air Act. Everyone has a threshold to reach. If the fleet exceeds the requirements, it is given a gold star and a pat on the back along with a bonus.
The gold star and the pat on the back are figurative rewards but the bonus is real. Did you know that, if any fleet operator exceeds its required clean fuels levels it receives a credit of 1, 2 or 3 for each of its vehicles. Those credits can be sold, saved or bartered with another fleet operator in a non-attainment area who does not or cannot meet its clean air objectives. One company does good job and another gets to do a poor job by paying the good company for its credits rather than helping to clean the air. It's painfully obvious, clean air is for sale.