May 10, 2004

Toronto Fleet Services committee adopts green transition plan

The administration committee of Toronto's Fleet Services division has adopted the Green Fleet Transition Plan 2004- 2007, a series of initiatives for making the transition to more environmentally friendly vehicles and equipment. The plan will be given further consideration at the next full meeting of Toronto's city council, slated to begin on May 18.

"This is an exciting move forward for the City of Toronto's fleet. The Green Fleet Transition Plan 2004-2007 outlines a bold vision for moving the city's corporate fleet toward vehicles and equipment that leave fewer negative impacts on the environment," said Councillor Michael Walker, head of the administration committee. "By 2007, with the implementation of this plan, the city will be a leader in the use of hybrid electric vehicles and other environmentally friendly technologies," he added.

The Green Fleet Transition Plan 2004-2007 calls for the city to replace 84% of its new light-duty vehicle purchases with alternatives such as natural gas and hybrid electric vehicles over the next four years. During the same period, the city will use more than 20 million litres of blended biodiesel fuel made from soybeans or waste animal fat instead of conventional diesel fuel.

The plan also includes right-sizing the city's fleet by reducing gasoline engines from eight to six cylinders where feasible. A further proposal is to certify Fleet Services' maintenance yard to ISO 14001 environmental standards. If the plan is adopted by city council, the city's fleet will include an estimated 313 alternative fuel and hybrid gas/electric vehicles by 2007. Out of Toronto's current fleet of more than 4,000 vehicles and equipment, 143 vehicles are hybrid-electric or natural gas, most of these rated as ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs), defined by the California Air Resources Board as those whose emissions are 13% below comparable 2004 model vehicles.

The Green Fleet Transition Plan is integrated with many of Toronto's other environmental initiatives. For example, the plan addresses 29 of the 66 recommendations in the city's Environmental Plan (2000). In addition, the plan is consistent with provisions to advance sustainability set out in Toronto city council's Strategic Plan for Toronto, approved in December 2001.

Fleet Services estimates that it would cost about $1.8 million to implement the plan; this would be less than 3% of the nearly $68.3 million forecast for vehicle replacement between 2004 and 2007. This will be considered for inclusion in future operating budgets.

The plan is also designed to help Toronto contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and meeting Kyoto Protocol commitments. The combined effect of natural gas/hybrid-electric vehicles and biodiesel fuel from the Green Fleet Transition Plan would result in carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) reductions estimated at between 10,099,463 kg and 15,283,663 kg, or 23%.

More information is available on Toronto's Web site, www.toronto.ca.

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