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Yale Considers Carbon Tax for Fleet

June 07, 2016, by Andy Lundin - Also by this author

Photo of Yale University Shuttle courtesy of XL Hybrids.
Photo of Yale University Shuttle courtesy of XL Hybrids.

Yale University is considering applying its self-imposed carbon tax program to its fleet to measure emissions and penalize heavier users, its fleet manager said. Yale launched the program earlier this year to levy charges against several departments.

The self-imposed tax program, which is still in the trial stage, was created to calculate the amount of carbon used and apply a charge of $40 per metric ton of emissions. Twenty Yale buildings are taking part in the new carbon charge pilot program.

“At the current time the Carbon tax is in a pilot test and is focusing primarily on electricity and building usage," said George E. Longyear, Jr., director of Yale Housing and Fleet Management. "As it is implemented campus-wide, we expect the carbon tax initiative will affect the fleet, and as such we are working to reduce the carbon footprint."

The $40 is the current figure the federal government uses to estimate the social cost of carbon. The tax would rise 3% annually and be indexed to inflation, reports E&E Publishing.

Yale, which has 475 vehicles in its fleet, is looking to add more alternative-fuel vehicles, as well as utilize technology that ensures drivers are driving in an eco-friendly manner, including using telematics to monitor idling.

“To implement fleet into the carbon tax, Yale is continuously reviewing its fleet size, alternative fuel vehicles, as well as, fuel efficiency and incorporating these factors into vehicle selection,” said Longyear, Jr.

Yale has a transit operation that has approximately 47 vehicles that customarily operate on a 24/7 basis. These vehicles include a number of Goshen Coaches, Thomas Transits, and MV-1 mobility paratransit vehicles. These vehicles have been the primary focus for Yale’s fleet to explore alternative fuel and technology vehicles, according to Longyear, Jr.

"In 2012 we began implementing CNG as a fuel option in new shuttles and Transits," said Longyear, Jr. "As a result we have seen a reduction in the carbon footprint by 80 metric tons over the past three to four years. In 2015 we started adding the XL Hybrid upfit to the shuttle fleet and will be increasing the numbers in 2016."

XL Hybrids initiated a pilot program of three shuttle buses at Yale. The vehicles saved more than 40 metric tons of carbon-dioxide in about a six-month time frame, thanks to a 23% improvement in miles-per-gallon, said David Breault, business development executive, XL Hybrids. The data was gathered from the feedback of XL Hybrids' connectivity system, XL Link, and Yale’s own analysis.

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