SEATTLE – A first-of-its-kind green fleet initiative to bring more clean and climate-friendly vehicles to King County has been launched by Executive Ron Sims, environmental leaders, and cities throughout the county. The announcement came during the region’s first Clean Vehicles NOW! Conference hosted by King County.

A broad coalition of 20 cities, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, and the Puget Sound Clean Cities Coalition has committed to work with King County during the next several months to pioneer a series of green fleet standards. It is anticipated that these standards will spur the use of clean vehicle technology and move the region closer to environmental sustainability. Once in place, these green standards could form the basis of one of the nation’s first clean vehicle certification programs, one that could serve as a model for communities throughout the country.

Jim Nolan, compliance director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency said, “In 2005, the Washington State Legislature chose to require the cleanest cars in our state. EPA has so far been unwilling to approve these standards. The Green Fleets Initiative is a great opportunity to help fill this void by encouraging our local jurisdictions to lead the region with green vehicles.”

Strategies to achieve these green fleet standards might include meeting specific goals and targets regarding the purchase of clean vehicle technologies and the reduction of fossil fuels; adopting and successfully implementing policies that promote best practices in fleet design and operation; and sharing information on the total type and quantity of fuel consumed and vehicle miles traveled on an annual basis. Underlying all of the standards will be the critical performance measure of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

Meeting or exceeding the standards could allow fleets to earn “points for innovation” in purchasing clean vehicles and achieving fuel conservation and efficiency. Governments that earn points at a designated level would be recognized publicly and potentially even rewarded for developing a green fleet.

In addition to operating the largest fleet of articulated hybrid buses in the world, King County already has more than 150 hybrid vehicles in its motor fleet and has just received its first electric plug-in hybrid car.