The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Council discussed fleet electrification for city vehicles as it gave preliminary approval to a $2 million transfer to cover increased fuel costs and unanticipated fleet maintenance.
At its September 20, the council unimamously approved the preliminary transfer from the Bureau of Facilities within the Department of Public Works to the Office of Management and Budget. The funding request was made so outstanding invoices could be paid, according to the letter to the Office of Management and Budget. The council could give its final approval for the transfer as early as next week, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Of the $2 million, about $600,000 will go to vehicle maintenance; the other $1.4 million will cover fuel costs. It's an expense Councilman Bruce Kraus called a "staggering wake-up call."
In 2021, the city used around $3.2 million in fuel costs. It is projected to use about $5 million this year, Councilman Anthony Coghill said in the meeting. The higher expenses are due to the price hike in fuel costs earlier this year.
Looking Ahead: Transition to Electric
Councilwoman Erika Strassburger discussed the possibility of converting the city's entire fleet to electric vehicles (EVs) amid the higher costs, pointing to Pittsburgh Regional Transit's recent decision to do the same by 2045.
"We have the technology [to convert our fleet to EVs]; it's possible....we know that gasoline and other types of fuel are only going to become more volatile in prices into the future," Strassburger said.
Strassburger continued, saying she wanted an updated discussion this fall or winter at the city level on electrifying the fleet. Government Fleet has previously reported that the city has a goal to achieve a fossil fuel-free fleet by 2030. The city purchased its first EV for its fleet in 2017. Fleet Services Manager Brandon Walton told the Post-Gazette that the department is actively working to electrify vehicles where possible.