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Planning Agency Says National City, Calif., Can Save by Replacing Existing Vehicles With Alt-Fuel Models

January 30, 2013

A regional planning and research agency in San Diego, Calif., Sandag, reviewed the City of National City, Calif.’s, fleet and determined it can reduce costs by purchasing new alternative-fuel vehicles. Sandag issued its report in December, 2012.

To conduct the review and come up with recommendations, Sandag partnered with the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE). The organizations determined the City can save between $1,000 and $1,400 per vehicle per year by replacing older sedans with hybrid models, and that existing vehicles with high mileage may see a payback period of five years or less.

In Sandag’s review of National City’s fleet, the organization noted the City has already retrofitted a number of its diesel vehicles to comply with the latest California Air Resources Board (CARB) emissions standards and that the fleet includes Toyota Prius hybrids as motor pool vehicles. The City operates a total of 165 vehicles, ranging from sedans and light-duty pickups to heavy-duty trucks and firefighting vehicles. The City also maintains 43 pieces of equipment.

Sandag and CCSE also said replacing pickup and work trucks with compressed natural gas-fueled models could result in savings between $900 and $1,900 per vehicle. The report noted that larger trucks would provide more savings and that many trucks in National City’s fleet have low mileage and wouldn’t benefit from replacement with higher cost alt-fuel models at this time.

The report also looked at other alt-fuel vehicle types, including plug‐in electric vehicles, biodiesel, and renewable natural gas (biomethane), and said that although these fuels and powertrain types can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they aren’t currently cost-effective for National City.

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