Green Matters

The County of Ventura GSA Fleet Services Department is committed to a vision of not only an efficient and fiscally responsible fleet, but as important, an eco-friendly operation.

With this in mind, we are proud to present the following information regarding steps our department has taken to minimize the impact on the environment our day-to-day operations have.

Hybrid/Alternate Technology Vehicles
Beginning in September 2002, the Board of Supervisors and the CEO’s office implemented a policy to support the incorporation of alternate technology vehicles into the fleet where feasible. GSA has incorporated several eco-friendly vehicles and practices into their daily operations, including: hybrids, alternative technology vehicles, partial zero emission vehicles (PZEV). As of December 2012, GSA Fleet has 156 hybrid vehicles and 119 PZEV vehicles in operation. These vehicles, aside from emitting drastically fewer greenhouse gases and particulate matter, will provide the County with a cost savings in terms of fuel consumption.

Preliminary data indicates that these vehicles, aside from emitting drastically fewer greenhouse gases and particulate matter, will provide the County with a cost savings in terms of fuel consumption. The 2004-2005 report on hybrid vehicle performance by GSA Fleet Services to the Board of Supervisors indicates that observed mileage of the two models of hybrid sedan used by the County outperforms the average non-hybrid mid-sized sedan by 12.7 to 18 miles per gallon. At $3.00 per gallon, this may result in a savings of up to $7500 in fuel costs alone over the life of the vehicle.

Cumulative Benefits Since 2002 Policy
Fuel saved: @ 99,000 gallons (11.5 tanker trucks)
Emissions avoided:
CO2: @ 959 tons
N2O : @280 lbs
Savings in context:
$265,000 in fuel savings (based on average $2.69/gal)
110 homes (annual CO2 emissions)
173 passenger vehicles (annual CO2 emissions)
23 passenger vehicles (annual N2O emissions)
188 acres of pine forest (carbon sequestered)

As part of a broad approach to eco-friendliness, GSA Fleet Services is also incorporating some of the cleanest burning gasoline engines on the market, called PZEV’s (Partial Zero Emission Vehicles).

To date, we have incorporated 119 PZEV vehicles, with plans to increase as models become available. This will result in a decrease in nitrous oxides and hydrocarbons of nearly half a ton per year.

More Information

Low Sulphur Diesel Fuel
In December, 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new standard for cleaner burning diesel fuel, where sulphur content would be reduced to 15 PPM (parts per million), down from the previous 125 PPM. Compliance was required of all retail terminals nationwide by October 15th, 2006, and in California by September 1st, 2006. This cleaner fuel will immediately reduce the formation of hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide emissions by 30%.

GSA Fleet Services began using ULSD (ultra-low sulphur diesel) in July, 2006, several months ahead of the state mandate.

In addition, GSA Fleet Services is closely monitoring the development of such technologies as bio-diesel and fuel cells, in the hopes of even further reducing emissions from County owned vehicles.

Smog Checks
In order to comply with California emissions laws, all gasoline powered road vehicles must be smog checked bi-annually, with the first 4 to 6 years waived for new vehicles. According to the California Air Resources Board, the smog check program removes more than 360 tons of smog-forming pollutants from the air every day.

The County Fleet Department, as a certified state smog inspection facility, conducts these smog checks at both our Saticoy Operations Yard and the East County Sheriff’s Station garage, sending the results directly to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

While many new vehicles are not legally required to have smog checks performed for the first several years, GSA Fleet elects to conduct such smog checks ahead of the legal requirement to confirm that our vehicles are not only running well, but to ensure that our environment footprint is as small as possible.

Because of their clean-burning nature, hybrid vehicles such as the Prius and Civics used in the County’s fleet, are exempt from these smog check requirements for 10 years from the date of purchase.

In addition, our heavy equipment shop, in the course of regular maintenance, conducts smoke tests on the county’s diesel equipment.

Recycled/Re-refined Oil
Used motor oil is dirty and extremely hard to dispose of. It can, however, be recycled and reused in a variety of ways. In order to demonstrate the County’s commitment to protecting the environment, GSA Fleet Services collects and via an outside contractor, recycles both used motor oil and antifreeze wherever feasible. Furthermore, GSA Fleet uses re-refined oil in its Fleet, reusing a product that might otherwise go to waste. Last year alone (FY 0506), GSA Fleet re-refined over 5,000 gallons of motor oil

More information is available at*.

Other Steps
In addition, our body shop uses specialized paint spray gun cleaner designed to eliminate solvent vapors and paint that might escape into the atmosphere, while our repair shops uses an aqueous (water based) parts cleaner, rather than harsher petroleum based solvents that might otherwise allow damaging vapors to escape into the atmosphere.

In order to save both time and money, we are currently using photovoltaic cell technology to maintain vehicle’s electrical system to peak performance.

Additional Information
2002 Board Letter on Hybrid Vehicles in the County Fleet (PDF)

2005 Board Letter on Hybrid Vehicles in the County Fleet (PDF)

*indicates a link to an outside Internet website. GSA Fleet provides these links for informational purposes only, and does not necessarily endorse or approve of the views contained therein.

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