California’s Ventura County to Consider Eliminating SUVs From its Fleet
Ventura County officials are expected to vote on December 2 whether they will prohibit government agencies from purchasing or using sport/utility vehicles.
If approved, Ventura County could be the first municipality in California to take such action regarding SUVs.
"As far as we know, no one else is doing that," said Erin Maurie, spokeswoman for the League of California Cities. "Maybe others will follow. Who knows?"
Similar legislation was signed last month by then-Gov. Gray Davis. The law, which will take effect in January 2005, requires California state agencies requesting an SUV or 4-wheel-drive vehicle to justify a critical need for it. Police and other emergency services that use the state's 73,000-vehicle fleet are exempt.
Ventura County supervisors last year ordered fleet managers to begin replacing mid-size sedans with hybrid-electrics, which offer better fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.
Despite the request, the county has only 26 hybrids in its 1,500-vehicle fleet. The Sheriff’s department is the biggest SUV user in Ventura County, with 36 of the 116 in the fleet assigned to the department.
The proposal does not exempt county public safety departments from justifying their need for an SUV. Other departments also would have to show a "substantial need" for an SUV.