Gov. Terry McAuliffe exceeded his goal of having 300 state and local government vehicles transitioned to alternative fuel by the end of his term.
Currently, 319 vehicles have made the transition — a major milestone in progressing towards a low-carbon clean fuel alternative in Virginia, according to a release from McAuliffe’s office.
“I’m pleased to announce the Commonwealth has exceeded our goal of transitioning state and local vehicles to alternative fuels, and we’ve done so ahead of schedule,” McAuliffe said at a recent announcement held in front of a propane fueling station at the Department of General Services central fleet facility, which also offers a high blend of renewable ethanol fuel and electric charging stations for state and local fleet vehicles.
A range of clean fuel fleet operators, technology providers, and a wide diversity of clean fuel fleet vehicles were visible at the event, according to the release.
State and local vehicles that have been transitioned include: light-duty propane vehicles, such as trucks, vans and police interceptors; heavy-duty propane vehicles, such as school buses; compressed natural gas vehicles, including sedans and refuse haulers; and electric sedans.
“With our 2014 energy plan, we set out to expand access to alternative fuel vehicles in a way that was cost effective for the Commonwealth and that leveraged best practices from the private sector. These vehicles reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, cut down on gasoline costs and support our Commonwealth’s growing alternative fuels industry, leading to job growth here at home and more sustainable transportation solutions,” McAuliffe said. “This is a great step forward and we will continue to work to make Virginia’s the cleanest and most innovative vehicle fleet in the nation.”
McAuliffe awarded Chesterfield County with the Governor’s Green Fleet Award for its leadership in the alternative fuels transition by implementing 50 vehicles and five advanced fueling stations that allow state and local vehicles to visit and refuel, the release stated.
Alternative fuel vehicles are identified as methods of reducing greenhouse gases and other pollution and their use over traditional vehicles supports clean air.
The announcement marked “an important milestone in our efforts to transition state and local vehicles to alternative fuels, and I congratulate Chesterfield County for its leadership,” Todd Haymore, Secretary of Commerce and Trade, said. “Working with our public and private sector partners, I look forward to continuing this transition in more state agencies and local governments in the months ahead.”
The Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) and the Department of General Services (DGS) supported the goal by establishing the public-private contracts that made possible the installation of propane and compressed natural gas (CNG) infrastructure and the purchase of vehicle conversions. These contracts, combined with DGS contracts for new CNG, propane, and electric vehicles, paved the way for state agencies and local public bodies to have easy access to alternative fuel solutions.
“This is important because Virginia produces nearly no oil and has an economic and environmental opportunity to transition to cleaner domestic fuels.” said Alleyn Harned, executive director of Virginia Clean Cities. “Propane and natural gas and electricity are low-cost alternative fuels, often representing cost savings as much as $1 per gallon.”
McAuliffe unveiled the Virginia Energy Plan in 2014, committing to accelerating the development of advanced vehicle technology and the use of alternative fuels for vehicles. Advancing the existing Commonwealth Alternative Fuel Program, established in 2012, Governor McAuliffe helped accelerate the development of advanced vehicle technology and the use of alternative fuel vehicles by public bodies, encouraging state agencies and local governments to advance the first 100 vehicles fueled by natural gas or propane by October 1, 2015.
The ultimate goal was to deploy at least 300 vehicles by the end of the administration. Virginia exceeded the goal five months ahead of schedule, and will continue to promote efforts to transition state and local government vehicles to alternative fuel through the remainder of the administration, the release stated.