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Alternative Fuels: Information on DoD's Methanol Vehicle Program


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Dear Mr. Chairman: In response to your February 5, 1986, letter and subsequent discussions with your office, we evaluated the Department of the Armys progress toward achieving the goals of the Department of Defenses (DOD) methanol vehicle demonstration program. The Army initiated the program in February 1986, in response to White House and congressional interest, to establish the feasibility of using methanol as an alternative fuel for government vehicles. We reviewed Army efforts to accomplish the goals established in the authorizing legislation. These were to (1) procure new methanol vehicles, (2) establish the reliability and durability of such vehicles in laboratory and fleet tests, (3) test some of them in cold weather, and (4) resolve related support functions for the safe and efficient storage, distribution, and use of methanol fuel. Also, as you requested, we examined whether the program would contribute to the increased use of methanol fuel and vehicles. To accomplish our objectives, we interviewed DOD and Army program managers; program operation personnel at fleet locations; and methanol vehicle experts at the Southwest Research Institute, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the California Energy Commission, Alcohol Energy Systems, Inc., and the Bank of America. We performed our review in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Information for this report was gathered between March and November1986. The objectives, scope, and methodology are described in more detail in appendix I.



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