City of Las Vegas Wins International Awards

September 2008, Government Fleet - Cover Story

by Lauren Fletcher - Also by this author

As part of the City’s overall sustainability project, the Las Vegas fleet hasincorporated alternative fuels in 90 percent of the 1,500 city-owned vehicles and equipment.

Challenging the status quo, building synergies, and exploring opportunities have been keys to success and international recognition for the City of Las Vegas and its fleet operations.

The City captured three top honors in the 2007 World Leadership Awards presented last December in London, including American City of the Year. The City was also recognized for its alternative-fuel program and a 120-acre multigenerational facility, the Centennial Hills Master Planned Campus (to learn more about the Master Planned Campus, see an extended version of this article online at

"The key to our success is the fact that our leaders — from the Mayor and Council to the City Management team to those of us who work in the trenches — encourage all city employees to think innovatively." said Dan Hyde, fleet & transportation services manager, City of Las Vegas. "You have to dare to challenge conventional ways of thinking. We look for opportunities and synergies between government, private businesses, and the educational establishment from K-12 to the community college to our four local universities."

With this approach, the City has leveraged taxpayer monies with investments from business and federal grants.

"The word sustainability takes on a very wide spectrum of applications, demonstrated by the fact we won in all three categories we entered. To date, no other city who has competed in the World Leadership Awards has matched our success," said Hyde.

Award-Winning Alternative-Fuel Program

According to Hyde, Las Vegas’ alternative-fuel program is one of the first of its kind and has been recognized worldwide for its innovative approach to fleet services. In 1993, Las Vegas became the fifth city in the nation to participate in the Clean Cities Program.

"Las Vegas incorporates sustainability into everything it does, and the alternative-fuel program is the perfect example," said City Manager Doug Selby. "More than 90 percent of the city’s fleet of vehicles operates on cleaner alternative fuels, resulting in a better environment for today and tomorrow."

Hydrogen has been a significant part of the City’s alt-fuel program. In 2002, the world’s first hydrogen energy station began operation at the City’s Northwest Service Center. In 2005, Las Vegas became one of the first cities in the world to test two FCX Honda hydrogen fuel cell cars. The City also partnered with Ford Motor Company to bring two state-of-the-art, hydrogen-fueled buses to southern Nevada to serve the public along downtown bus routes.

As part of the City’s overall sustainability project, the Las Vegas fleet has incorporated alternative fuels in most of the 1,500 city-owned vehicles and equipment. The cleaner-burning, domestically produced fuels include:

• Compressed natural gas (CNG).

• Hydrogen (H).

• Hydrogen-enriched compressed natu-ral gas (H/CNG).

• Biodiesel (B-20).

• Year-round reformulated gasoline (RFG) 10-percent ethanol.

Additionally, the City fleet operates 101 gasoline-electric-powered hybrids. By January, the City’s fleet will be 100-percent alternative-fueled.

"We have been showcased internationally, nationally, and locally for our innovative approach to fleet operations, which have garnered more than $13 million in grants to our program since 1994," said Hyde. He noted one of those innovations, the City’s hydrogen-powered energy station, is unique. "At the time of its dedication in November, 2002, the City’s hydrogen energy station was the first of its kind anywhere in the world that operated a 50Kw stand-alone fuel cell that generated its own electric power, independent of the power grid. In fact, it provided energy back to the power grid."

Hydrogenpowered buses are one example of Las Vegas’alt-fuel fleet.

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