By Jonathan Marshall
PG&E crews can’t usually haul their equipment to work sites on foot or by bicycle. So they do the next best thing: They use one of the utility’s many clean vehicles to get the job done with as small an environmental footprint as possible.
In honor of its commitment to greener vehicles, Energy Secretary Steven Chu today (March 5) welcomed PG&E to the Energy Department’s National Clean Fleets Partnership. This public-private partnership “helps leading U.S. companies reduce their fuel use, save money, and become models for fleets across the nation to improve their efficiency,” Chu said at the Green Truck Summit in Indianapolis.
“By adopting alternative fuels, advanced vehicles and by making their operations smarter and more fuel-efficient, these national partners are increasing their competitiveness and helping to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil,” he added.
The partners, who include AT&T, Best Buy, FedEx, Staples, UPS, and Verizon, collectively operate more than a million vehicles across the country, or about one in every eight commercial vehicles in America.
DOE credits PG&E with operating “one of the greenest utility fleets in the nation,” with “more than 3,100 on-road alternative fuel and high efficiency vehicles.” Since 1995, it notes, “PG&E’s alternative fuel fleet has displaced nearly 7 million gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel and helped prevent more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.”
PG&E was an early champion of green vehicles. It has used cleaner-burning natural gas as an alternative fuel for more than two decades, as well as some bio-diesel. More recently, it has aggressively added hybrid electric vehicles to its fleet. Last year, for example, it began acquiring large numbers of the industry’s first electrified bucket trucks, which eliminate noise and diesel exhaust while crews operate the lift buckets.
PG&E has also started buying extended-range electric trucks from Via Motors, as announced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, and has bought more than 20 Chevy Volts as well.
In addition, PG&E supports refueling stations, clean vehicle training programs, the greening of customer fleets, and other measures to advance society’s environmental goals.
Email Jonathan Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org.