A new report by the Sustainable Transportation and Communities group at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), a Michigan-based nonprofit research group, has examined the benefits of converting business fleets from gasoline to alternative-fuel vehicles such as compressed natural gas and gas-electric hybrids.
The main idea that the report supports is that turning corporate and other business vehicle fleets “green” provides the opportunity to put large numbers of more environmentally friendly vehicles onto the roads at once. The results of doing so would be both environmentally and economically positive.
Replacing 15,000 current gas-powered fleet vehicles with gas-powered and hybrid vehicles over a 10 year period could reduce gasoline consumption by more than 49 million gallons and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 211,000 metric tons in that period. Those reductions would be the same as simply removing 38,000 gasoline powered vehicles from the road for an entire year.
The CAR study used AT&T’s vehicle replacement program as a case study for their report. The AT&T program will also help to support an average of 1,000 vehicle manufacturing jobs each year until 2013.
“This example of corporate leadership, if followed by a significant portion of other public and private fleets, could have a huge impact on the release of greenhouse gases and significantly reduce the dependence on foreign oil,” said Kim Hill, director of the Sustainable Transportation and Communities group at CAR and the study’s lead. “For example, the emissions equal to 600,000 vehicles and the consumption of 15 million barrels of oil could be eliminated if 25% of the fleets had similar programs. In addition, demand for these types of advanced technology vehicles by the nation’s fleets could spur a growth in domestic green jobs.”
If the country is serious about increasing the number of fuel-efficient vehicles on the road in the near future, the fleets of America represent the best opportunity in the shortest timeframe, Hill said.
Photo courtesy of CLF under the Creative Commons License.