The San Luis Obispo County (Calif.) Board of Supervisors approved a new vehicle purchasing policy that incorporates fuel efficiency and emissions reductions into vehicle purchasing decisions. Fleet Manager Rockford Buoy confirmed that the Board approved the policy, effective March 12.

“We’re going to implement a lifecycle cost methodology in lieu of using low bidder when making vehicle purchases,” Buoy said.

Under the new policy, the fleet manager will purchase vehicles considering department head requests but also considering fuel efficiency, funding availability, emission reduction, alternative fuel availability, and availability of parts and service.

“Because of limited infrastructure, we’re only talking about gas-electric hybrids and CNG,” Buoy said. He explained that there is one CNG fueling station in the county, which may be feasible for use in some situations.

In a document attached with the Board agenda, Buoy states that application is paramount, and that the fleet will not purchase alternative-fuel vehicles that are not suited for the job. Vehicle reliability and readiness are also top considerations. User departments will save on operational costs and may be required to contribute to the acquisition cost, the document states.

The goal of this new policy is to improve the County’s average fuel economy for non-emergency vehicles by 2.5% each year, reduce CO2 emissions of non-emergency gasoline-powered light-duty vehicles by 20% by the end of 2020, and also reduce NOX emissions.

Buoy said the policy applies to all on-road gasoline and diesel non-emergency vehicles. The total fleet consists of approximately 950 units.

By Thi Dao