Transportation is the single largest greenhouse gas contributor in California, producing more than 40 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Like the rest of the nation, California is heavily dependent on petroleum-based fuels for transportation. Since these fuels are major sources of greenhouse gasses, cleaner alternatives for our mobility needs must be sought.
The County of San Bernardino recognizes this need and has made a concerted effort to invest in alternative fuel vehicles over the past five years.
In 2003, San Bernardino County was among the first counties in California to purchase a fleet of 20 hybrid vehicles. The County’s Fleet Management Department provides these hybrid and ultra-low emission vehicles to various departments. By adding more than 90 hybrid sedans, 25 hybrid SUVs, and 10 electric trucks, Fleet Management has reduced GHG emissions in the County by more than 200 tons per year. In addition, alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles help the County save money on fuel. Fleet Management plans to purchase additional hybrid vehicles to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel costs.
The San Bernardino County Department of Public Works has also made significant strides to reduce its GHG emissions. The Department utilizes a number of alternative fuel vehicles including 7 compressed natural gas (CNG) light-duty vehicles, 7 liquid natural gas (LNG) heavy duty vehicles, and 2 Toyota Hybrid Highlander SUVs. LNG/CNG vehicles reduce polluting emissions by as much as 87 percent over diesel fuel. Public Works has also transitioned from diesel-powered message boards to solar-powered message boards, further reducing pollutants. Overall, Public Works has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 24 tons a year.
The success experienced by San Bernardino County’s Fleet Management Department and Public Works has influenced the county’s public safety agencies to invest in hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles. County Fire has purchased 8 hybrid sedans and plans to purchase additional hybrids in the future. The Sheriff’s Department is also looking at purchasing alternative fuels vehicles to add to its fleet.
San Bernardino is working to reduce its carbon footprint and is off to a good start with alternative fuels vehicles.