DENVER– Sixteen percent of Colorado’s state vehicle fleet runs on something other than straight gasoline, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. That number is expected to skyrocket in coming years as Gov. Bill Ritter launches an ambitious program to reduce petroleum usage in state vehicles by 25 percent by June 2012. This goal is part of the Greening of Government Initiative.

State officials are looking at a lot of options, including replacing the fleet with “green” vehicles, a reduction in the number of vehicles, limits on miles driven by workers, and an incentive program to get state employees to take mass transit to work.

Greening the fleet has already started as 192 of the 780 new cars and trucks purchased by the state during the fiscal year that ended June 30 are flex-fuel vehicles, meaning they can run on gasoline or on a blend of gas and as much as 85 percent ethanol. The fleet also includes 50 hybrid-electric cars and 286 diesel-powered trucks capable of running on B-20 biofuel.

The state fleet uses 4.3 million gallons of fuel a year. Because of recent changes in the coding system of the National Association of Convenience Stores, the state has not been able to determine how much of that fuel is petroleum and how much is alternatives, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Some types of vehicles, such as Colorado State Patrol cars, are hard to find in alternative-fuel form; just 25 of the patrol’s 650 vehicles have flex-fuel capacity. Thus, the executive order specifically excludes law enforcement, emergency-response, road-maintenance, and highway-construction vehicles from the reduction goal. Also, the national production of alternative-fuel vehicles is so small that even if Colorado wished to change out all cars by 2012, there would not be enough alternatives on the market.