Energy in Transportation

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the transportation sector is the largest energy consuming end-use sector in Tennessee, representing 30.1% of Tennessee’s total energy consumption in 2020.  To address this critical energy sector, the TDEC Office of Energy Programs (OEP) promotes and educates Tennessee citizens about alternative fuels, advanced vehicle technologies, and sustainable transportation options. By prioritizing and educating citizens regarding the aspects of energy use in transportation, OEP seeks to reduce energy costs within the transportation sector, increase the energy efficiency of the transportation sector, enhance resiliency and emergency preparedness through diversification of available fuels, and promote economic growth with improved environmental quality.

TN Sustainable Transportation Forum & Expo

Each year, TDEC, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and Tennessee Clean Fuels co-host the Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Forum and Expo. This two-day forum provides insights, case studies, and lessons learned on topics related to sustainable transportation and features a showcase of alternative fuel vehicles and equipment. The event also includes an awards ceremony to honor winners of the annual Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Awards; these awards recognize outstanding initiatives to improve the efficiency, accessibility, affordability, and sustainability of transportation systems in the state.

Middle-West Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition

The U.S. Department of Energy's (U.S. DOE) Clean Cities program advances the nation's economic, environmental, and energy security by working locally to advance affordable, domestic transportation fuels and technologies. In Tennessee, there are two U.S. DOE-designated Clean Cities Coalitions: The Middle-West Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition (MWTCF) and the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition (ETCF), known collectively as Tennessee Clean Fuels. Since 2017, TDEC OEP has served as the Coordinator for MWTCF.

Tennessee and the Volkswagen Diesel Settlement

In 2015, Volkswagen (WV) admitted that it had installed software designed to cheat emissions tests and deceive federal and state regulators in approximately 590,000 motor vehicles containing diesel engines. Under the VW Diesel Settlement, VW must: (1) recall at least 85% of the affected vehicles; (2) invest in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and promotion; and (3) establish an Environmental Mitigation Trust (EMT) to mitigate the environmental effects of the affected vehicles’ excess NOX emissions. TDEC OEP serves as the administrative lead for purposes of managing Tennessee’s trust allocation under the EMT.

Drive Electric Tennessee

Drive Electric Tennessee stakeholders are working together to develop a shared vision for electric transportation in the state, including ongoing work on Awareness, Policies and Programs, and Infrastructure projects for increased EV adoption in Tennessee. The group has a goal of increasing electric vehicle adoption to 200,000 vehicles in Tennessee by 2028.

Transportation Electrification in Tennessee

Transportation electrification reduces energy costs within the transportation sector, increases the energy efficiency of the transportation sector, enhances resiliency and emergency preparedness through diversification of available fuels, and promotes economic growth with improved environmental quality. This page contains links and resources to information on electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, and other transportation electrification activities in Tennessee.

U.S. EPA Clean School Bus Program

With funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA's new Clean School Bus Program provides $5 billion over five years (FY 2022-2026) to replace existing school buses with zero-emission and low-emission models. EPA is offering $500 million through the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates for zero-emission and low-emission school bus rebates as the first funding opportunity.

Reducing Diesel Emissions for a Healthier Tennessee (RDE4HT)

RDE4HT provides funding to replace older, diesel vehicles with new alternative fuel or diesel vehicles. Funding can also be requested for efforts towards replacing engines in older diesel vehicles with new alternative-fueled or diesel engines, converting OEM diesel vehicles to run on alternative fuels, and the addition of Truck Stop Electrification equipment at Tennessee-based Travel Centers. This funding is EPA Diesel Emissions Reductions Act – or DERA – funding that is provided to states to reduce diesel emissions. TDEC oversees Tennessee’s state EPA funding and is partnering with the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition (ETCleanFuels) to manage the rebate program.

Alternative Fuels Data Center

The Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) provides information, data, and tools to help fleets and other transportation decision-makers find ways to reach their energy and economic goals through the use of alternative and renewable fuels, advanced vehicles, and other fuel-saving measures. The AFDC serves Clean Cities coalitions (including MWTCF), as well as businesses, policymakers, government agencies, and the general public.


TennSMART is a public-private consortium designed to accelerate the development and deployment of new intelligent mobility innovations in Tennessee.  It provides a collaborative forum for key stakeholders representing the automotive and trucking industries, local and State government (including TDEC OEP), and research institutions to address opportunities that no one organization could attain alone. TennSMART focuses on research related to connected and automated vehicles, EVs, cybersecurity, freight efficiency, and multimodal commuting.

TN Natural Gas and Propane Vehicle Grant Program photo, "CNG Fueled Delivery Truck," by Pat Corkery, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). TennSMART photo, "VTIF Research," by Dennis Schroeder, NREL.  All other photos courtesy of TDEC OEP staff, U.S. DOE, Wikimedia Commons, or