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Glossary of Terms

There are many terms used in our industry. We have compiled a glossary of terms to aid you in your research.




Aftermarket - Broad term that applies to any change after the original purchase, such as adding equipment.

Alternative Fuel - Methanol, denatured ethanol, and other alcohols; mixtures containing 85% or more by volume of methanol, denatured ethanol, and other alcohols with gasoline or other fuels; natural gas; liquefied petroleum gas; hydrogen; coal-derived liquid fuels; non-alcohol fuels (such as biodiesel) derived from biological material; and electricity. 'P-Series' fuels were added to this list since the original definition in EPAct.


- 100% (neat) biodiesel.

B20 - A blend of biodiesel fuel with petroleum-based diesel where 20% of the volume is biodiesel.

Biodiesel - A biodegradable transportation fuel for use in diesel engines that is produced through transesterification of organically derived oils or fats. Biodiesel is used as a component of diesel fuel. In the future it may be used as a replacement for diesel.

Bulk Storage - Large quantity of fuel that is stored in tanks either on or off of the client's property for use in company equipment. An average size tank is 10,000 gallons and can be either above or below the ground.


Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
- A product of combustion that has become an environmental concern in recent years. CO2 does not directly impair human health, but is a greenhouse gas that traps the Earth's heat and contributes to the potential for global warming.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) - A colorless, odorless gas produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels with a limited oxygen supply, as in automobile engines. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), CO contributes to the formation of smog ground-level ozone, which can trigger serious respiratory problems.

California Air Resources Board (CARB) - The state agency that regulates the air quality in California. CARB standards are often stricter than federal standards.

Catalyst - A substance whose presence changes the rate of chemical reaction without itself undergoing permanent change in its composition.

Clean Diesel - An evolving definition of diesel fuel with lower emission specifications, which strictly limit sulfur content to 0.05 weight %; in California, aromatics content is further limited to 10 volume % (for large refiners).

Clean Fuel Vehicle (CFV) - Any vehicle certified by EPA as meeting certain federal emissions standards. The tree categories of federal CFV standards are: low emission vehicles (LEV), ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV), and zero emission vehicles (ZEV).

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) - Natural gas that has been compressed under high pressures, typically 2000 to 3600 psi, held in a container. The gas expands when used as a fuel.


Dyed Fuel
- Fuel that is tinted with a dye to designate off-road or other federally tax-exempt use.


E10 (Gasohol) - Ethanol mixture that contains 10% ethanol, 90% unleaded gasoline.

E85 - Ethanol/gasoline mixture that contains 85% denatured ethanol and 15% gasoline, by volume.

E95 - Ethanol/gasoline mixture that contains 95% denatured ethanol and 5% gasoline, by volume.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) - The computer-to-computer exchange of structured information, by agreed message standards, from one computer application to another by electronic means and with a minimum of human intervention.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) - An electronic method used to remit funds directly from a bank account.

Ethanol - Can be produced chemically from ethylene or biologically from the fermentation of various sugars from carbohydrates found in agricultural crops and cellulosic residues from crops or wood.


Federal Communications Excise Tax
- Internal Revenue Code (IRC) §4251 imposes a three (3) percent federal communications excise tax on amounts paid for certain local and toll telephone services.

Fossil Fuel - A fuel such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Fossil fuels are the remains of ancient plants and animals.

Fuel Invoice - Detailed sales ticket/receipt showing fuel purchase. Ideally shows fuel gallons purchased, price/gallon, total purchase price, date of purchase, equipment number, and odometer reading.


Global Warming
- The theoretical escalation of global temperatures caused by the increase of greenhouse gas emissions in the lower atmosphere.

Green Diesel - Diesel fuel that is taxed by all taxing authorities. Also called "ultra low sulfur diesel."

Greenhouse Effect - A warming of the Earth and its atmosphere as a result of the thermal trapping of incoming solar radiation by CO2, water vapor, methane, nitrogen oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and other gases, both natural and man-made.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) - Maximum weight of a vehicle, including payload.


Heavy-Duty Vehicle
- Generally, a vehicle that has a GVWR of more than 26,000lbs. Definitions vary by organization.

Heavy Vehicle Use Tax - A federal tax due annually on all vehicles with a gross weight of 55,000lbs or greater, traveling on the public highway system. The tax is filed using form 2290.

Hour Meters - A meter that records hours of use on PTO (power take-off) units. Not all units have hour meters.


Idle Time
- Vehicle engines that idle during equipment use and generally not associated with fuel used for on-road mileage.

Interstate Common Carrier (ICC) - A vehicle predominantly used by its owner to offer to transport the general public or the goods of the general public from place to place for hire.

International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) - A base state fuel tax agreement among jurisdictions to simplify the reporting of fuel taxes by interstate motor carriers. Upon application, the carrier's base jurisdiction issues credentials which allow the IFTA licensee to travel in all IFTA jurisdictions. This license is valid for a calendar year, from January 1 to December 31. As long as an account is in good standing, license and decal renewal is automatic

International Fuel Tax Association, Inc. (IFTA, Inc.) - A national organization that maintains a base state fuel tax agreement among participating jurisdictions in order to simplify the reporting of fuel taxes by interstate motor carriers. Upon application, the carrier's base jurisdiction issues credentials which allow the IFTA licensee to travel in all IFTA jurisdictions. This license is valid for a calendar year, from January 1 to December 31. As long as an account is in good standing, license and decal renewal is automatic .

International Registration Plan (IRP) - A U.S. based plan that allows for the distribution of registration fees for commercial motor vehicles travelling inter-jurisdictionally through member states and provinces.




Light-Duty Vehicle
- Passenger cars and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 8,500 or less.

Lubricity - Capacity to reduce friction.

Liquid Underground Storage Tank (LUST) - A tax applied to underground fuel tanks by federal and state taxing authorities. Applicable taxes will vary among states.


- 100% (neat) methanol.

M85 - 85% methanol and 15% unleaded gasoline by volume.

Medium-Duty Vehicle - Typically, a vehicle with a GVWR of 8,500 to 14,000 lbs.

Mobile Machinery Exception (MME) - A federal tax term that is intended to apply to a vehicle chassis that serves solely as a permanent mount for jobsite machinery. (See also Specially Designed Mobile Machinery)


Natural Gas
- A mixture of gaseous hydrocarbons, primarily methane, occurring naturally in the Earth and used principally as a fuel.

Neat Fuel - Fuel that is free from admixture or dilution with other fuels.

Non-Attainment Area - A region, determined by population density in accordance with the U.S. Census Bureau, which exceeds minimum acceptable NAAQS for one or more "criteria pollutants" (see Clean Air Act Amendments.) Such areas are required to seek modifications to their State Implementation Plans, setting forth a reasonable timetable using EPA-approved means to achieve attainment of NAAQS for these criteria pollutants by a certain date. Under the CAA, if a non-attainment area fails to attain NAAQS, EPA may superimpose Federal Implementation Plan with stricter requirements or impose fines, constructions bans, cutoffs in federal grant revenues, and so forth, until the area achieves the applicable NAAQS.

Non-Road Vehicle - A vehicle that does not travel streets, roads, or highways. Such vehicles include construction vehicles, locomotives, forklifts, tractors, golf carts, and others. (See also Off-Road or Off-Road Equipment)


- Displays vehicle miles traveled. May or may not continue to run when PTO units are in use and the vehicle is stationary. Odometers are usually located on the vehicle's dash and/or on the vehicle wheel hub.

Off-Road - Any non-stationary device, powered by an internal combustion engine or motor, used primarily off the highways to propel, move, or draw persons or property, and used in any of the following applications: marine vessels, construction/farm equipment, locomotives, utility and lawn and garden equipment, off-road motorcycles, and off-highway vehicles. (See also Non-Road Vehicle or Off-Road Equipment)

Off-Road Equipment - Unlicensed equipment not intended for on-road use. Examples: construction equipment (backhoes and bulldozers) and agricultural equipment (tractors). (See also Non-Road Vehicle or Off-Road)

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) - The original manufacturer of a vehicle or engine.

Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) - Regulated air pollutants, primarily NO and NO2 but including other substances in minute concentrations. Under the high pressure and temperature conditions in an engine, nitrogen and oxygen atoms in the air react to form various NOx. Like hydrocarbons, NOx are precursors to the formation of smog. They also contribute to the formation of acid rain.


- Group of saturated aliphatic hydrocarbons, including methane, ethane, propane, and butane and noted by the suffix "-ane".

Particulate Matter (PM) - A generic term for a broad class of chemically and physically diverse substances that exist as discrete particles (liquid droplets or solids) over a wide range of sizes. A NAAQS pollutant.

Particulate Trap - Diesel vehicle emission control device that traps and incinerates diesel particulate emissions after they are exhausted from the engine but before they are expelled into the atmosphere.

Petroleum Fuel - Gasoline or diesel fuel.

Pounds per Square Inch (psi) - A unit of measure for pressure.

Power of Attorney (POA) - Legal document that gives NECS the authority to represent clients on federal or state fuel excise tax filings over a specific time period.

Power Take Off (PTO) - State tax term used to describe auxiliary equipment operated by a vehicle's fuel generally not associated with fuel used for on-road mileage. Split shaft power take-offs are designed to allow one engine to power either the vehicle's drive axle or the auxiliary equipment by switching the mode of operation with the main clutch in the gearbox.

Private Fleet - A fleet of vehicle owned by a non government entity.

Professional Service Agreement - A legal document that authorizes NECS to provide professional services to a client.

Public Fueling Station - Refers to fueling station that is accessible to the general public.



- To change a vehicle or engine after its original purchase, usually by adding equipment.


Safe Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)
- Signed into law on August 10, 2005, the act a uthorizes $286 billion in spending for the six-year period 2004-09 for numerous surface transportation programs, such as highways, transit, freight, safety and research.

Smog - A visible haze caused primarily by particulate matter and ozone. Ozone is formed by the reaction of hydrocarbons and NOx in the atmosphere.

Specially Designed Mobile Machinery (SDMM) - Federal tax term used to describe a registered/licensed vehicle that is not considered a highway vehicle for certain tax purposes because of its permanently attached equipment, inability to tow or haul a load (other than attached equipment) and specially designed chassis.

Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) - An EPA criteria pollutant.



Department of Energy (DOE) - A department of the federal government, established by the Carter Administration in 1977, to consolidate energy-oriented programs and agencies. The DOE mission includes the coordination and management of energy conservation, supply, information dissemination, regulation, research, development and demonstration.

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) - A government agency whose mission is to ensure a fast, safe, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system that meets the national interests and enhances our quality of life.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - A government agency, established in 1970, responsible for protecting the environment and public health. EPA seeks to reduce air, water, and land pollution and pollution from solid waste, radiation, pesticides, and toxic substances. EPA also controls emissions from motor vehicles, fuels, and fuel additives.


Vehicle Miles Traveled
- The miles traveled by motor vehicles over a specified length of time (e.g. daily, monthly, or yearly) or over a specified road or transportation corridor.

Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) - Reactive gas released during combustion or evaporation of fuel and regulated by EPA. VOCs react with NOx in the presence of sunlight and form ozone.

Voluntary Mobile Source Emission Reduction Program - A program established by EPA to encourage voluntary emission reduction programs that can be part of a state implementation program.