Manufacturers Pursue Clean Fleets

GE, Coca-Cola, OSRAM SYLVANIA, PepsiCo adopt fuel-efficient vehicles

Large companies are committing to reduce diesel and gasoline use in their fleets by incorporating electric vehicles (EV), alternative fuels, and fuel-saving measures into their daily operations. It is all part of the National Clean Fleets Partnership which is a public-private effort which pairs companies with the Department of Energy.

Earlier this month, six new members joined including Coca-Cola Company, Enterprise Holdings, General Electric, OSRAM SYLVANIA, Ryder System, Inc., and Staples.Together, the companies operate nearly one million fleet vehicles across the U.S.

"The National Clean Fleets Partnership is an important part of the Department's strategy to help U.S. companies reduce their fuel use and save money," said Secretary Steven Chu. "This initiative will support the nation's largest commercial fleets as they move to adopt fuel-efficient vehicles that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and improve our energy security."

The partnership is part of the DOE Vehicle Technology Programs' "Clean Cities" initiative.

The new companies have already made inroads in fuel efficiency:

  • Coca-Cola, which has the largest hybrid delivery fleet in North America, has deployed hybrid delivery trucks and has trained drivers in eco-driving techniques.
  • Enterprise Holdings, which includes Enterprise Rent-A-Car and other rental car companies, offers the extended range Chevrolet Volts and Nissan Leafs EVs for rentals.
  • GE has committed to convert half of its global vehicle fleet, and will partner with fleet customers to deploy 25,000 EVs by 2015.
  • OSRAM SYLVANIA aims to replace 10% to 12% of its fleet annually with more energy-efficient vehicles. This year, it expects to replace more than one-fifth of its utility trucks with more efficient ones that reduce the need for idling.
  • Ryder's natural gas vehicle maintenance facility, which will deploy hundreds of heavy-duty liquefied natural gas (LNG) trucks, include two LNG fueling stations and two additional maintenance facilities. This project is expected to save 1.5 million gallons of diesel fuel per year.
  • Staples has increased the fuel economy of its fleet by more than 20% since 2007 through fuel-saving steps such as automatically limiting truck idling to no more than three minutes and limiting the top speed of its vehicles to 60 miles an hour.

In April, President Obama launched The Clean Fleets Partnership with AT&T, FedEx, PepsiCo/Frito-Lay, UPS and Verizon as founding members that together operate about 275,000 company vehicles. The President also announced a goal of cutting the 11 million barrels of oil a day that the U.S. imported in 2008, by one-third by 2025.

The charter members -- AT&T, FedEx, PepsiCo, UPS and Verizon -- announced plans to save 7 million gallons of diesel and gasoline fuel by deploying 20,000 advanced technology vehicles including hybrid and electric trucks.

The partnership offers companies opportunities for peer-to-peer information exchange; collaboration with DOE and national laboratories surrounding research and development initiatives; and assistance in pursuing group purchasingso that smaller companies work with their larger peers to get the benefits of purchasing advanced vehicles in bulk.

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