[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 237 (Monday, December 10, 2012)]
[Pages 73458-73459]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-29759]



Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

[Docket Number: EERE-2012-VT-0049]

Vehicle Technologies Program; Request for Information

AGENCY: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Office of 
the General Counsel, Department of Energy.

ACTION: Request for information; request for comment.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) wishes to continue 
promoting and improving the electronic tools it makes available to 
assist fleets and consumers in reducing petroleum consumption in 
vehicles. DOE is seeking partners interested in including customized 
versions of the electronic tools, as well as other relevant data sets 
and content, on their Web sites. To facilitate this process, DOE is 
publishing this request for information (RFI) to solicit feedback on 
DOE's current Web site tools.

DATES: Written comments and information are requested by January 9, 

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are encouraged to submit comments using 
the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow 
the instructions for submitting comments. Alternatively, interested 
persons may submit comments, identified by docket number EERE-2012-VT-
0049, by one of the following methods:
    1. Email: [email protected]. Include EERE-2012-VT-0049 in the 
subject line of the message.
    2. Mail or deliver: Ms. Shannon Shea, U.S. Department of Energy, 
(EE-2G), Room 5F-034, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 
20585-0121, Telephone: (202) 586-8161. Please submit one signed paper 
    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name 
and docket number for this request.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents, or 
comments received, go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov.

Ms. Shannon Shea, U.S. Department of Energy, (EE-2G), Room 5F-034, 1000 
Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121, Telephone: (202) 
586-8161, Email: [email protected]
Mr. Ari Altman, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General 
Counsel, (GC-71), 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, 
Telephone: (202) 287-6307, Email: [email protected].


I. Authority and Background

    FuelEconomy.gov is authorized under the 1975 Energy Policy and 
Conservation Act (Pub. L. 94-163), which required DOE to publish and 
distribute the annual Fuel Economy Guide to consumers. DOE established 
FuelEconomy.gov to complement the printed Guide and expand the 
accessibility of information to consumers. The Alternative Fuels Data 
Center (AFDC; afdc.energy.gov) was authorized by the 1988 Alternative 
Motor Fuels Act (Pub. L. 100-494), which contained provisions to 
formally establish an alternative fuels education and data resource 
center. Clean Cities, within the Office of Energy Efficiency and 
Renewable Energy's Vehicle Technologies Program, is authorized under 
the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (Pub. L. 102-486) and manages both 
FuelEconomy.gov and the AFDC. Under these statutes, both Web sites are 
authorized to make information and data available to the public. By 
providing a variety of tools, databases, and informational resources on 
fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles, both Web sites help users 
make decisions about which transportation options are right for them.
    These Web sites feature 14 interactive web tools (afdc.energy.gov/tools) that allow users to view and use data in a variety of ways. 
These tools include calculators, interactive maps, and data searches.
    DOE also offers eight ``widgets'' based on the Web site 
functionality described above. A widget is a simplified version of a 
tool or Web site that provides many of the same features, but in a 
separate application that independent Web site operators can ``drop 
in'' to their Web sites with a minimal amount of web coding. For 
example: DOE launched the Find-A-Car widget on FuelEconomy.gov (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.shtml) in September 2012. The full 
version of this tool allows users to search for any car from 1984 
onward and compare it to any other one on fuel economy, greenhouse gas 
emissions, energy impact, and cost of fuel. The widget version has a 
simpler and more targeted purpose, allowing users to find the fuel 
economy of any car, also from 1984 onward. FuelEconomy.gov also has a 
``Fuel Saving Tip of the Week'' widget, launched in May 2011. This 
widget is not based on a pre-existing interactive tool, but rather on 
FuelEconomy.gov's Gas Mileage Tips section. Both widgets are available 
at www.fueleconomy.gov/widgets.
    DOE launched the Vehicle Cost Calculator (www.afdc.energy.gov/calculator) and accompanying widgets on the AFDC in October 2011. The 
full version of this tool allows users to provide basic information 
about driving habits 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. This tool has a basic widget 
version, which allows users to select a representative alternative fuel 
vehicle (not a specific model, as in the full version) and compare its 
fuel cost and emissions to a similar conventional vehicle. This tool 
also has four specialty

[[Page 73459]]

widgets that each focus on a specific type of alternative fuel vehicle 
(biodiesel, compressed natural gas, E85, and electric drive).
    Finally, DOE launched the Alternative Fueling Station Locator 
widget on the AFDC in August 2012. The full tool allows users to obtain 
addresses, maps, and driving directions for charging and alternative 
fueling stations near a particular address. The widget version allows 
users to embed a specific section of the locator map on their Web site, 
so that they can highlight a particular geographic area or a particular 
    Working with outside partners to modify and distribute both these 
tools and their accompanying widgets will expose this information to a 
larger pool of users and help consumers find it on Web sites that they 
already frequent.

II. Public Participation

A. Submission of Comments

    DOE will accept comments in response to this RFI under the timeline 
provided in the DATES section above. Comments submitted to the 
Department through the eRulemaking Portal or by email should be 
provided in WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, PDF, or text file format. 
Those responding should avoid the use of special characters or any form 
of encryption, and wherever possible, comments should include the 
electronic signature of the author. Comments submitted to the 
Department by mail or hand delivery/courier should include one signed 
original paper copy. No telefacsimiles will be accepted.
    The Department encourages interested parties to contact DOE if they 
would like to meet in person to discuss their comments. The 
Department's policy governing ex parte communications is posted on the 
Office of the General Counsel's Web site at: http://www.gc.energy.gov/1309.htm.
    Confidential Business Information. According to 10 CFR 1004.11, any 
person submitting information that he or she believes to be 
confidential and exempt by law from public disclosure should submit via 
email, postal mail, or hand delivery two well-marked copies: one copy 
of the document marked confidential including all the information 
believed to be confidential, and one copy of the document marked non-
confidential with the information believed to be confidential deleted. 
Submit these documents via email or on a CD, if feasible. DOE will make 
its own determination about the confidential status of the information 
and treat it according to its determination.
    Factors of interest to DOE when evaluating requests to treat 
submitted information as confidential include: (1) A description of the 
items; (2) whether and why such items are customarily treated as 
confidential within the industry; (3) whether the information is 
generally known by or available from other sources; (4) whether the 
information has previously been made available to others without 
obligation concerning its confidentiality; (5) an explanation of the 
competitive injury to the submitting person that would result from 
public disclosure; (6) when such information might lose its 
confidential character due to the passage of time; and (7) why 
disclosure of the information would be contrary to the public interest.
    It is DOE's policy that all comments may be included in the public 
docket, without change and as received, including any personal 
information provided in the comments (except information deemed to be 
exempt from public disclosure).

B. Issues on Which DOE Seeks Information

    Although DOE welcomes comments on any aspect of this request for 
information, DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments and 
views of interested parties concerning the availability of DOE's 
transportation-oriented electronic tools, as well as the potential to 
partner with Internet information providers, as set forth below.
(1) Current Electronic Tools and Content
    DOE would like to expand the reach of its current electronic tools 
designed to reduce petroleum use in transportation. The Vehicle Cost 
Calculator and the Alternative Fueling Station Locator on the AFDC, as 
well as the Find-A-Car tool and Gas Saving Tips on FuelEconomy.gov, are 
all currently available in ``widget'' form. Are the full tools 
currently available useful? Are the widget versions of these tools 
useful? Are there other existing tools on the AFDC or FuelEconomy.gov 
that your company would like available as widgets? Would your company 
embed the current widgets on its Web site? Why or why not? Are there 
other types of content on the AFDC and FuelEconomy.gov sites besides 
the current electronic tools that Web site operators would like to use?
(2) Interest in Partnering on Electronic Tool Customization
    While any independent Web site can use the tools in widget form, 
DOE is interested in partnering with major Web sites that provide 
information on vehicles to consumers and fleet managers to offer 
customized versions of these widgets. Ideal candidates are entities 
whose users, stakeholders, or members look to them for information 
about vehicle purchases. The primary objective of the effort is to pair 
the capabilities of interested entities with DOE's electronic tools to 
provide additional value to partner Web sites, and in turn, more value 
and education about transportation options to end users. DOE seeks to 
identify entities with whom to collaborate on this effort. Note that 
DOE is not offering funding related to this request. What companies 
would be interested in such a collaboration? What services do they 
currently offer to users and how would these widgets complement those 
services? What is the membership or user base of these existing Web 
sites? What types of customization would these Web sites want for the 
widgets described previously?

    Issued in Washington, DC, on November 19, 2012.
Patrick B. Davis,
Program Manager, Vehicle Technologies Program, Energy Efficiency and 
Renewable Energy.
[FR Doc. 2012-29759 Filed 12-7-12; 8:45 am]