AT&T, FedEx, PepsiCo, UPS and Verizon are charter members of the National Clean Fleets Partnership, a new White House initiative to help large companies incorporate electric vehicles, alternative fuels and fuel-saving measures into their fleets.
The partnership, to be run by the Department of Energy, seeks to help large fleets across the country cut petroleum use by 2.5 billion gallons by 2020. The initiative will offer companies technical assistance and purchasing help to encourage companies to adopt vehicles using alternative fuels including electricity, natural gas, biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen and propane.
The five charter members are planning to deploy over 20,000 advanced technology vehicles, and will displace over 7 million gallons of petroleum a year, according to the DOE. These members operate five the nation’s ten largest fleets, and collectively own and operate more than 275,000 vehicles.
President Barack Obama, energy secretary Steven Chu and transportation secretary Ray LaHood launched the initiative in a visit to a UPS shipping facility in Landover, Maryland on Friday. The event followed an energy policy speech by Obama on Thursday, in which he called for greater use of natural gas and biofuel, and more domestic oil and gas drilling, to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil.
AT&T also announced on Friday that it avoided the purchase of over one million gallons of petroleum in 2010 through the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. AT&T said it has deployed more than 3,500 alternative fuel vehicles as of March 2011, out of a total fleet of more than 73,500 vehicles.
In 2009, the company announced it would spend up to $565 million to deploy about 15,000 alternative fuel vehicles over the course of a decade.
The DOE said that the National Clean Fleets Partnership would promote a peer-to-peer information exchange, and would allow small and large companies to work together to get the benefits of buying vehicles in bulk. Through the program, companies will be able to use DOE cost calculators, interactive maps, customizable database searches, and mobile applications to compile and analyze essential data.
The DOE said its initiative will complement the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Transport partnership program, designed to reduce emissions in the freight industry.