Relying on petroleum to power 92 percent of its network, the U.S. transportation system is almost entirely powered by oil. Not only is our transportation system’s outsized dependence on a single source of fuel placing our nation at great economic and national security risk, the U.S. transportation sector is also now the leading source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the country—accounting for approximately 29 percent of total annual emissions.
Thankfully, huge advances in technology are providing a path to enhanced energy security through vehicle fleet electrification, which reduces our dependence on oil. But although there are already 1 million electric vehicles (EVs) on U.S. roads, EVs still only represent just one out of every 50 new vehicles purchased. To accelerate the deployment of EVs on U.S. roads, greater investments and new strategies are required.
Such measures are now taking center stage at a national level, and one such initiative that has experienced particular success is the Climate Mayors Electric Vehicle Purchasing Collaborative (the Collaborative). A municipal fleet electrification venture developed by the Climate Mayors, a collection of mayors from 400 cities across the United States, in partnership with the Electrification Coalition (EC) and Sourcewell, the Collaborative has secured commitments from 127 cities and 15 counties from across 38 states to purchase more than 2,100 EVs by the end of 2020.
These commitments will result in cutting gasoline usage by up to 1 million gallons each year
The impacts of these commitments will result in cutting gasoline usage by up to 1 million gallons each year, transitioning to 25 million electric miles driven every year—adding more than $75 million in purchasing power to the EV market in the process.
In addition, the Collaborative also announced plans to release a competitive bid on electric school buses by the end of 2019, which will enable all electric school bus manufacturers to offer any public school system in the country access to equal, competitive prices. The summit also set the stage for an additional resolution, unanimously passed by the Collaborative cities, committing to fleet electrification and calling on additional cities to transition their fleets to EVs.
On June 28, at the second-annual Climate Mayors Summit—part of the 87th annual U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Honolulu, HI—an award was presented to Climate Mayors leader Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recognizing the impact of the Collaborative on fostering a switch to EVs by municipalities and cities. Recognizing his work in establishing the Collaborative, Mayor Garcetti received the Large City Climate Protection Award with the recognition that Los Angeles has approximately 800 vehicles in its municipal fleet, saving $220,000 in fuel costs and 1,170 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
The summit also set the stage for an additional resolution, unanimously passed by the Collaborative cities, committing to fleet electrification and calling on additional cities to transition their fleets to EVs.
Saving Money, Saving Fuel
The benefits of fleet electrification are widespread, with potential for significant economic and fuel savings. There are approximately 8.5 million fleet vehicles under operation in the private and public sectors across the country; these vehicles are heavily used, require frequent refueling and must be maintained. Electrifying fleet vehicles represents an opportunity for municipalities to precipitate a shift away from oil-based fuels in the transportation sector. Not only does fleet electrification replace conventional internal combustion engine vehicles, it also presents an opportunity to educate each driver about electric options—and as scale is achieved, the public awareness of electric transportation rises accordingly.
Electrification of the transportation sector has incredible societal, economic and national security benefits, and fleets are well positioned to maximize the benefits of going electric. Fleets are optimized and tracked every day to help understand performance and cost—meaning that while some EVs still have a higher upfront purchasing price, the total cost of ownership (TCO) can be significantly lower, especially in fleet settings.
Additionally, EVs in fleets save money over their lifetime because they cost less to fuel and maintain: While gasoline prices have ranged from almost $4 per gallon in May 2011 to around $2.75 today, electricity has hovered around a price equivalent to $1 per gallon. Fleets also have the benefit of route predictability, making it easy to prioritize the right operational profile for EVs—and since fleets often park in a centralized location at the end of their shift, it can lower infrastructure costs. Fleets also tend to be higher-mileage vehicles than consumer cars, which means that the business case for EVs will be realized sooner with the more electric miles traveled.
More information can be found online about the Collaborative at http://driveevfleets.org. You can continue following this series to learn more as the program continues electrifying our nation’s fleets.