Four major companies announced this week they would join the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) “National Clean Fleets Partnership” program to increase fuel efficiency in commercial vehicle fleets and encourage the transition to alternative-fuel technologies.
Big-box retailer Best Buy, California utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), energy tech consultant Johnson Controls, and waste management and recycling company Veolia Environmental Services joined 14 other major corporate entities in the program. The 18 Clean Fleets participants collectively operate more than a million commercial vehicles — roughly 12 percent of all such vehicles on U.S. roads.
The partnership program, which launched in April 2011 with charter members AT&T, UPS, FedEx, PepsiCo, and Verizon, aims to help reduce U.S. oil imports one-third by 2025. In 2009, U.S. commercial fleets totaled more than three million vehicles and consumed almost four billion gallons of fuel.
Companies that enroll in the program will receive technical assistance from DOE to help increase efficiency, including cost calculators, interactive maps, customizable databases, and mobile applications. In addition, DOE national labs may provide access to research and development initiatives and group purchasing.
The four new participants have already undertaken varied but significant action plans, including:
- Best Buy’s 5,000-vehicle Geek Squad fleet has already reduced carbon emissions from fuel use by 21 percent through purchasing vehicles with smaller, more efficient engines. The retailer is also testing electric- and propane-fueled vehicles.
- Johnson Controls has implemented several emissions reduction strategies in its’ 19,000 vehicle global fleet, including purchasing more than 500 hybrid vehicles and testing telematics technology to reduce fuel use.
- PG&E currently has more than 3,100 alternative fuel and high-efficient vehicles on the road, and claims to have displaced nearly 7 million gallons of gasoline and diesel since 1995, equivalent to 25,000 metric tons of CO2.
- Veolia Environmental Services is increasing fuel efficiency for its fleet of more than 3,000 trucks, heavy equipment, and support vehicles through route optimization, alternative fuels, and hybrid technologies. The company operates four compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations and more than 100 CNG trash trucks and support vehicles.
“The National Clean Fleets Partnership helps leading U.S. companies reduce their fuel use, save money, and become models for fleets across the nation to improve their efficiency,” said Secretary Steven Chu in a press release. “By adopting alternative fuels, advanced vehicles and by making their operations smarter and more fuel-efficient, these national partners are increasing their competitiveness and helping to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.”
Photo courtesy of White House Press Office
Silvio is Principal at Marcacci Communications, a full-service clean energy public relations company based in Washington, D.C.