US President George W. Bush outlined in his State of the Union Address his administration’s aim to reduce the country’s dependency on foreign oil. The “Twenty in Ten”, essentially reducing gasoline consumption by twenty percent in ten years time, has received the support of the Big Three as the heads of General Motors, the Ford Motor Company and Chrysler Corp. attended a meeting with the President recently.
Good news for the administration is the use of alternative fuels by large vehicle fleets. The President inspected the alternative fuel vehicles used by large fleets in the United States.
Among the largest fleet in the country using fuel efficient vehicles are the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, UPS, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. These large fleets are contributing to the country’s energy independence by using different types of alternative fuel vehicles on their fleet. These fleets use a variety of alternative fuel vehicles which includes hybrid electric vehicles, biodiesel engines, compressed natural gas or CNG, liquefied natural gas, propane, and hydrogen fuel cell units.
All these technologies are known to be good substitute to gasoline since they all come from renewable sources and have limited greenhouse gas emissions as when compared to petroleum gasoline or diesel fuel.
Among the large fleets in America, the U.S. Postal Service has the largest number of alternative fuel vehicles being used. The 13 percent of the 289,000 vehicles in the fleet represents the biggest fleet of alternative fuel vehicles in the world. Hybrids, biodiesel, compressed natural gas, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles composed thirteen percent of the U.S. Postal Service’s fleet.
UPS, meanwhile, has the biggest alternative fuel fleet in its class with over 1,500 alternative fuel vehicles. Its alternative fuel vehicle fleet is composed of compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane, hydrogen fuel cell, and hybrid electric vehicles.
FedEx operates about a hundred hybrid electric diesel vehicles in its alternative fuel vehicle fleet. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority or METRO, like FedEx, also takes advantage of the hybrid electric diesel technology. It has already 50 units of alternative fuel vehicles on the road and being used as part of their service.
These large fleets clearly support the Clean Cities Program which promotes the use of alternative fuel vehicles to reduce gasoline consumption. The program is in connection with President Bush’s “Twenty in Ten” goal. The vehicles used by these fleets are as reliable and safe as Volvo S60 parts and at the same time provides the fleet operators good fuel economy.
The production of greenhouse gases is also reduced thereby lessening the negative impact of their fleets on the environment. With the plug-in hybrid still in development, these fleets have the potential to even expand their alternative fuel vehicle fleet.