EL PASO, TEXAS – The City of El Paso has purchased a number of hybrids for its fleet within the last two years, increasing the total from two prior to 2010 to 47 in 2011. The City purchased the 45 new hybrids this year. In addition, the City plans to keep expanding the fleet and has 25 propane-fueled vans on the way.

Government Fleet contacted the City’s General Services Director, Stuart Ed, about the City’s efforts to increase the number of alternative-fuel vehicles in the fleet and the ROI for these vehicles.

The City’s fleet consists of 2,117 vehicles, of which 1,589 are light-duty vehicles and 581 are heavy-duty.

In terms of the total size of its alternative-fuel vehicle fleet, the City owns 48 passenger vehicle alternative-fuel vehicles (sedans, SUVs, etc.), one automated side loader (collection truck), a Nissan LEAF and an Autocar ACX64 CNG ASL vehicle.

The hybrid models the City purchased include the Toyota Prius, Ford Escape and Fusion, and the Honda Civic. The City’s mass transit fleet is powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) and consists of 230 buses.

“The investment in alternative-fuel vehicles should save the City $15,000 a year in fuel expenses while providing for improved air quality,” Ed said.

Beyond purchasing alternative-fuel vehicles, the City is exploring other efforts, too.

“The City does have another internal program designed to reduce fuel use or emissions, which is the reduction of full-size vehicles when we can switch to compact vehicles, which reduces the engine sizes,” Ed said.

In addition to saving the City money on fuel expenditures, these efforts allowed El Paso to qualify for a grant.

“Because of the City’s effort to engage in a number of alternative fuel programs to improve air quality and reduce fuel cost, our City has received a federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant made possible by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and funding from the Texas State Energy Conservation Office’s Transportation Efficiency Program,” said Ed.

By Greg Basich