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August 1, 2017

Spare the Air Awards Winners

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is proud to announce the 2017 Spare the Air Awards Winners - Clemson University Parking and Transportation Services and The COMET.

These winners are being recognized for their voluntary efforts to improve air quality in South Carolina. Clemson University's efforts are sustainable, replicable, and encourage positive behavioral changes that improve air quality. These efforts also build and strengthen partnerships that will continue to improve air quality in South Carolina.

2017 Outstanding College/University: Clemson University Parking and Transportation Services

The Clemson University Parking and Transportation Services department is being recognized for its "Commute Choice Program," which demonstrates to students, faculty, and staff that driving a single occupancy vehicle is NOT the only way a person can commute to campus.The program promotes a carpool program, use of commuter and airport shuttles, use of the local all-electric municipal CAT bus fleet, designated EV charging spaces, Zipcar car sharing program, as well as a new BikeShare bike rental program.

The carpool program encourages the creation of carpool groups (two or more people per vehicle) in order to get free parking on campus.

A diverse portfolio of commuting options improves regional air quality by encouraging commuters to get out of single occupancy vehicles and develop new, lower emission commuting practices.

2017 Outstanding Local Government: The COMET

The COMET of Central Midlands Transit is being recognized for its Clean Fuels Fleet Expansion.

The COMET began introducing propane powered vehicles to its fleet in 2014, but in 2016 ramped up this effort. The COMET replaced 20 diesel "cutaway" shuttle-style vehicles with 21 propane vehicles and two standard mini-vans and ordered another eight small propane buses. Combined with its 2014 additions, this adds up to a total of 40 propane vehicles, which is the largest transit propane fleet in South Carolina and highest percentage propane fleet in the Southeastern U.S.

Propane vehicles can produce lower tailpipe emissions than diesel vehicles and as such do not require the same amount of emissions controls or maintenance as diesel vehicles. The COMET has worked with other transit systems across the State to share fleet performance as well as cost impacts.

In 2017, the transit agency will take delivery of 31 clean-diesel buses to replace the same number of 2002-era diesel buses that have much lower exhaust emission standards and fuel economy. In addition to these great fleet upgrades, The COMET's ridership reached 2.5 million in 2016. This is up from 1 million riders in 2012-2013, which is the highest ridership in over a decade and continues to climb.


DHEC Media Relations
(803) 898-7769