About the Alternative Fueling Station Data
Learn about the station location data collection methods, update schedules, and station details.
Data Collection Methods
The data in the Alternative Fueling Station Locator are gathered and verified through a variety of methods. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) obtains information about new stations from trade media, Clean Cities coordinators, an Add a Station form on the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) website, and through collaborating with infrastructure equipment and fuel providers.
NREL regularly compares its station data with those of other relevant trade organizations and websites. Differences in methodologies and inclusion criteria may result in slight differences between NREL's database and those maintained by other organizations. NREL also collaborates with alternative fuel industry groups to maintain the data. NREL and its data collection subcontractor are currently collaborating with natural gas, electric drive, biodiesel, ethanol, and propane industry groups to establish best practices for identifying new stations in the most-timely manner possible and to develop a more rigorous network for the future.
Station Update Schedule
Existing stations in the database are contacted at least once a year on an established schedule to verify they are still operational and dispensing the fuel specified. Based on an established data collection schedule, the database is updated once a month with the exception of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) data, which are updated twice a month. Stations that are no longer operational or no longer provide alternative fuel are removed from the database on a monthly basis or as they are identified.
Mapping and Counting Methods
Each point on the map is counted as one station in the station count. A station appears as one point on the map, regardless of the number of fuel dispensers or charging outlets at that location. Station addresses are geocoded and mapped using an automatic geocoding application. The geocoding application returns the most accurate location based on the provided address. Station locations may also be provided by external sources (e.g., station operators) and/or verified in a geographic information system (GIS) tool like Google Earth, Google Maps, or Google StreetView. This information is considered highly accurate, and these coordinates override any information generated using the geocoding application.
Notes about Specific Station Types
Stations with an Access of "Private - Fleet customers only" may allow other entities to fuel through a business-to-business arrangement. For more information, fleet customers should refer to the information listed in the details section for that station to contact the station directly.
The Alternative Fueling Station Locator only includes stations offering biodiesel blends of 20% (B20) and above.
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE)
An electric charging station, or EVSE, appears as one point on the map, regardless of the number of charging outlets at that location. The number and type of charging outlets available are displayed as additional details when the station location is selected. Each point on the map is counted as one station in the station count. To see a total count of EVSE for all outlets available, go to the Alternative Fueling Station Counts by State table. Residential EVSE locations are not included in the Alternative Fueling Station Locator.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Propane) Stations
Because many propane stations serve customers other than drivers and fleets, NREL collaborated with the industry to effectively represent the differences. Each propane station is designated as a "primary" or "secondary" service type. Both types are able to fuel vehicles. However, locations with a "primary" designation offer vehicle services and fuel priced specifically for use in vehicles. The details page for each station lists its service designation.
Note that several states, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Washington, require or allow in-state propane vehicles to obtain a decal in lieu of paying state fuel taxes at the pump. Out-of-state vehicles may still be subject to taxes at the pump. Determinations about price differential (for the purposes of the primary or secondary propane station designation) were made assuming that the vehicle has an in-state decal. For more information about state decals and similar laws and regulations, visit the AFDC Laws & Incentives database.
Natural Gas Stations
Some compressed and liquefied natural gas stations are not able to fuel larger vehicles due to access limitations, such as a low canopy, insufficient parking adjacent to the pump, or limited space to turn around. Natural gas station details include vehicle accessibility information, specifically the vehicle classes that can physically access the fueling infrastructure. Note that this field does not take into account station capacity, throughput, or other considerations. Options include:
- Accommodates light-duty vehicles only (i.e., passenger vehicles, light-duty pickups, and utility vans).
- Accommodates vehicles up to Class 5 (i.e., box trucks and cargo vans).
- Accommodates all vehicle sizes and classes.
Caution: The AFDC recommends that users verify that stations are open, available to the public, and have the fuel prior to making a trip to that location.