Utah Embraces Alternative Fuel for Fleets


Green Fleets – Save Money and Clear the Air

The following post was featured on Salt Lake City’s Economic Development blog, highlighting the benefits that local businesses have observed following their switch to clean vehicles. We at SLCgreen wanted to thank Utah Clean Cities and their partners who provided statistics and success stories for this post. Our hope is to continue to encourage and promote the use of clean vehicle technology, which we see as a harmonious method to create economic growth and a healthier community.  It has been updated for Utah Clean Cities Mind Fuel.

 

Inversion season is nearly upon us. Poor air quality is something Salt Lake City, other municipalities along the Wasatch Front, and the State of Utah are actively working to improve.The biggest source of emissions comes from vehicles which contribute to over half of the wintertime inversion pollution. The good news is that cars, trucks, and other equipment are getting cleaner!

Businesses can help by taking advantage of the newest technologies to reduce emissions from their vehicles fleets.

Doing so can save pollution, of course, but also offers a whole host of other benefits, including saving your business money. Clean vehicles have had an unprecedented growth rate over the past few years. This new technology has caught the attention of businesses across the nation, with many starting to integrate a variety of electric, hybrid, clean diesel, compressed natural gas (CNG), and other alternative-fueled vehicles into their corporate fleets.

CNG and Clean Diesel

CNG can replace large traditionally diesel-powered vehicles like refuse trucks or cement mixers and burn 45-90% cleaner and have a much longer lifecycle than their traditional diesel counterparts.Similarly, “clean diesel“– which is a combination of low-sulfur diesel fuel, advanced engines, and better emissions controls can significantly reduce the emissions from heavy duty vehicles. Salt Lake City now has several “clean diesel” garbage trucks in our fleet.

Electric Vehicles

For passenger class vehicles, EVs are a sound option. One reason: Driving an electric car in Utah costs half as much, mile per mile, as driving a gas car. EVs are also great for our air. In fact, according to a 2017 analysis, compared to a gasoline-fueled vehicle, all-electric vehicles along the Wasatch Front produce 98% fewer Sulfur Oxides, 99% fewer Volatile Organic Compounds, and 90% fewer Nitrogen Oxides with significant additional reductions in Particulate Matter (81% for PM2.5 and 57% for PM10). Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles reduces emissions significantly as well.

That’s a lot of pollution saved!

Plus, when you drive electric, many routine maintenance tasks (for example, oil changes, timing belt replacements, emissions testing) become a thing of the past! Electric options are making their way to larger vehicles too– including buses, semi-trucks, and more (check out Utah-based Nikola Motors with its electric-hydrogen semi-truck!)

Local Examples

This trend is on the rise here in Utah, with government and corporate fleets shifting towards cleaner vehicles. Here are some examples of organizations that are saving money with clean fleets:

  • Salt Lake City: Currently has 57 CNG vehicles, 50 clean diesel trucks, 14 fully electric vehicles, and 117 hybrid electric cars in the city-wide fleet.
  • Park City Transit: Introduced 6 all-electric buses and plans to buy only all-electric moving forward.
  • UTA: Currently using 47 CNG buses and expects to save $10,000 to $13,000 a year in fuel costs per CNG bus that it operates. Planning on releasing 5 all-electric busesin 2018.
  • ACE Recycling: Currently using 88 CNG refuse trucks.
  • Geneva Rock: Currently using 24 CNG cement trucks (90% cleaner than diesel predecessors).
  • Snowbird:Currently exploring alternative fuel options, including biodiesel and providing Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations for guests.
  • UPS: Invested $90 Million in CNG vehicles and infrastructure nationwide.
  • Waste Management: West Jordan and Orem sites are about 65% CNG.  Each new vehicle obtained in these areas will be CNG moving forward. Each CNG vehicle costs about $50,000 more than diesel but the savings in maintenance costs make the vehicles last longer.
  • Momentum Recycling: Has invested in CNG fueling infrastructure for on-site refueling and runs 3 out of 7 recycling trucks on CNG (with a fourth one on the way).

Business Incentives

So how can your business go electric?

  1. Rocky Mountain Power incentivesare offered to Utah non-residential customers and multifamily dwellings to offset the cost of installing charging stations.

Funds are limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so take advantage!

Think about how much it costs your business when gas prices spike.

Investing capital in low maintenance electric vehicles is more than a lofty ideal. Utah Clean Cities is here to help you start reducing the dependence on fossil fuels that exposes you to economic risk.  The Rocky Mountain Live Electric offers up to $5,000 to businesses to cover the incremental costs of adding an electric vehicle to fleets.  Plus, the Live Electric grant is offering workshops and ride and drives to help expose Utah business leaders to the joy of going electric and further, offering their employees workplace charging with the Lead Electric program.

Check out the Live Electric Website to see what the grant partners are doing to support the Lead Electric workplace charging program. The decision to start implementing clean strategies helps your employees feel that their company is committed to making Utah a healthier place to live. Utah Clean Cities is here to help you make the switch to cleaner-fueled vehicles.

See the cost savings for yourself

Meanwhile, if you want to crunch numbers for yourself, check out fueleconomy.gov to see side by side comparisons of each vehicle make and model sold in the US. This website is a valuable resource that many organizations use when running a cost-benefit analysis. It has information regarding vehicle smog ratings and fuel economy.

Additional Resources

Salt Lake City recently built out public charging infrastructure this year.

Utah Clean Cities

Live Electric Now

Salt Lake City Green Vehicle parking permit

A new study says that today’s electric vehicles can handle almost 90 percent of all car travel in the U.S.

Where can I charge? 

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Come to Snowbird…together!

Come to Snowbird…together!

Hilary Arens, Director of Sustainability & Water Resources, Snowbird

Since its founding in 1971, Snowbird has welcomed visitors to the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon. As air quality and traffic congestion are of major concerns to us all, Snowbird is committed to finding ways to help reduce the number of cars on the road and emissions in the air while traveling to the resort.

To meet this goal, Snowbird has updated the R.I.D.E. program (Reducing Individual Driving for the Environment) this year by creating a new R.I.D.E. app! R.I.D.E. is an incentive-based tracking and reward program to help influence our guests and employees to travel to the resort by carpool or bus. Rewards include VIP parking, half-priced transferable tickets, Early Ups, and more! Last season, the R.I.D.E. program helped keep 290,000 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere (the equivalent to not consuming 15,000 gallons of gasoline!) while also rewarding hundreds of carpoolers and bus riders with half-priced tickets and early morning untouched powder runs. We hope to increase these numbers this coming season! (The R.I.D.E. app will be available for download late November 2017.)

 

New for this season! Snowbird will introduce free Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations at the Cliff Lodge Parking Structure on Level 2. These charging stations are made possible by partnerships with Utah Leaders for Clean Air, Tesla, and Rocky Mountain Power. Additionally, Snowbird’s fleet added two electric, zero-emissions utility vehicles this past summer.

 

Snowbird continues to provide UTA bus passes to all season pass holders and employees, and will work with UTA to provide frequent and reliable bus service from Salt Lake Valley to Snowbird (https://www.rideuta.com/Rider-Info/UTA-Ski-Service). Additionally, Snowbird continues to offer Canyon Transportation (http://canyontransport.com) vanpool options and provide UTA Rideshare vans for employees.

 

As Snowbird provides a mountain escape adjacent to a major city, we are committed to finding better ways to help people travel here. We hope that the new R.I.D.E. app becomes popular, and that the UTA bus services and EV charging stations are widely-used this winter. Together, we can all help improve the environment as we travel to and around the resort.

About me:

In 2016, I was hired to direct Snowbird’s water resources and environmental programs. Previous to Snowbird, I received a Masters in Watershed Science from Colorado State University and worked at the Utah Division of Water Quality. My husband and I feel grateful to call the Wasatch home for us and our young twins.

The sights and smells of back-to-school are here: new pencils and paper, first-day clothes, and the hint of fall in the air. It’s an exciting time for many kids, parents, and teachers as we enter another year and get back into the school day routine.

And with the return of that familiar routine, we’d like to encourage you to be Idle Free. Whether dropping off the kids or running errands around town, one thing we can all do to improve air quality is to “Turn the Key and Be Idle Free.”

It’s easy. If you’re stopped for more than ten seconds, turn the engine off. Read more

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Idling is gets us nowhere fast!

Idling is gets us nowhere fast!

Ten years ago, my niece came to my mountain home and announced her class was campaigning to stop the dirty old school buses from idling at her Morningside school.  She talked expertly about carbon footprints, asthma, and PM 2.5.  I was getting my first education on the dire effects of idling from a nine year old activist.  Over the last year, I would say I have become an Idle.   My college kids call me the Idle Free Fairy, passing out Idle Free stickers and knocking on idling car windows and asking, reminding, and sometimes retreating from annoyed drivers.

There is almost no reason to idle for while parking, there are exceptions, but there are even better solutions.  Each year American’s burn over 6 million gallons of gas going nowhere—they are simply idling.  Estimates in Utah say that ¼ of our emissions are a result of idling. If you can see something coming out of the tail pipe, its particulate matter and it’s dangerous, especially to developing lungs and vulnerable populations.PM2.5, the tiny particles you can’t often see, lodges in the lungs and crosses the blood barrier.

Read more