Thursday, October 06, 2005

Are More Alternative Fuel Vehicles in Philadelphia’s Future?

A resolution – sponsored by Councilman Kenney - was unanimously adopted by Philadelphia City Council and referred to the Committee on Legislative Oversight authorizing the Committee to hold public hearings on whether the Office of Fleet Management’s vehicle purchasing policies should require a preference for the purchase of alternative fuel or hybrid-electric vehicles, which will facilitate savings, reduce fuel consumption, and promote a positive image of Philadelphia as an environmentally-conscious City. Hearings are likely to be held towards the end of the month.

The City of Philadelphia’s fleet consists of approximately 6,200 vehicles, including ambulances, fire apparatus, police cars, passenger and cargo vans, jeeps, buses and sedans that use approximately 4.6 million gallons of fuel (gasoline and diesel) each year. Given the rapidly rising cost of gasoline, many cities across the country have moved to replace conventional vehicles with hybrid-electric or alternative fuel vehicles. In particular, hybrid-electric vehicles have excellent warranties, lower projected maintenance costs (because the combustion engine receives less wear) and as much as 50 percent lower fuel costs than conventional vehicles. By way of example and inspiration, New York City has been purchasing hybrid-electric vehicles since 2001 and have amassed a hybrid-electric fleet of over 800 vehicles by requiring 80 percent of their light-duty vehicles purchases per fiscal year to be hybrid-electric.

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