The County of Sonoma, Calif., was recognized with a Clean Air Excellence Award for Transportation Efficiency Innovations from the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Air and Radiation in Washington D.C. on April 21.
The awards program, established in 2000 at the recommendation of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, recognizes and honors both individuals and organizations that have undertaken the risks of innovation, served as pioneers in their fields, advanced public understanding of air pollution, and improved air quality. Entries are judged by EPA and members of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee.
“Communities across the country have cleaner air and better health thanks to these award-winning programs,” said Janet McCabe, EPA acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. “We’re celebrating Earth Day a little early by recognizing these cutting-edge efforts to educate the public, cut harmful air pollution, improve public health through new technologies and approaches, and make our environment healthier and more sustainable.”
“Sonoma County has always been at the forefront when it comes to making our environment cleaner and healthier for the folks in our community,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson. “Its fleet is a model for other counties around America to follow. Not only is it reducing pollution, it’s saving money and time by increasing fuel economy and reducing travel times.”
“Our County is proud to be a pioneer in the field of electric vehicle fleets,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin. “Through the development of our Electric Vehicle Charging Station Infrastructure Program, we have been able to reduce air pollution and improve air quality. We are excited to receive national recognition for our efforts.”
The award is the result of the county being a leader in transportation related emission reductions for more than 24 years. Starting in 1990 the county was one of the first to test a prototype all-electric General Motors van in a daily fleet use application. In June of 2006 the county adopted a Climate Protection Action Plan that established a target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its on-road fleet by 20% before the end of 2010. Fleet-related emissions have been reduced by more than 1,815 tons of GHG even though the overall vehicle miles traveled increased by 10 million miles during the last 11 of 13 years.
The county’s commitment to hybrid electric and all electric vehicle technology has resulted in one of the largest hybrid and plug-in electric vehicle government fleets in North America with a total of 291 battery-electric vehicles, neighborhood electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and hybrid electric vehicles. The hybrid fleet has reduced gasoline and diesel fuel usage by more than 166,500 gallons while traveling more than 10 million miles since 2002.
Over the last five years the county has earned 25 international, national, state, regional, and local transportation related awards in the areas of fleet management, environmental and economic leadership, sustainability, emissions reductions, efficiency & renewable energy, and as a leading fleet in the industry and championing clean air for all residents of Sonoma County.