Facing an $11.4 million jump in fuel costs, the City of Jacksonville, Fla. is phasing out sport/utility vehicles, buying smaller pickup trucks and trading eight-cylinder cars for four-cylinder, according to the Florida Times-Union.
The city is cutting $3 million from the proposed fleet management budget, reducing the fleet by about 100 vehicles. But Sam Houston, the fleet division chief, said the reductions also will curb carbon emissions from city vehicles. Many of the approximately 3,900 remaining vehicles, including police cruisers, are increasingly being replaced by those that can run on ethanol, or E85.
The city's parking enforcement department will switch to electric vehicles within the next year. In the next five years, city employees will be driving hybrid models. Houston said the city has one hybrid, but will be bidding for more soon.
The city has already taken steps to save energy costs and help the environment. The fleets of garbage and dump trucks are already running on ultra low-sulfur diesel and biodiesel to help improve air quality. Also, the city is working on a no-idling policy, and Houston has been verbally encouraging employees to turn off cars when braked at railroad crossings and other delays longer than a stoplight. City employees also have been asked to check tire pressure, travel light and prepare driving routes to avoid getting lost, according to the Times-Union.