DEARBORN, MI - Verizon, a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services, expects to save 1.62 metric tons of CO2 each year by adding 501 Ford E-250 cargo vans upfitted with clean-burning compressed natural gas (CNG) engine packages versus conventional gas models.

Verizon's purchase and upfitting of the 2010 Ford E-250 vans is part of the company's comprehensive sustainability effort designed to conserve energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to improved air quality in the communities it serves, according to Ken McKenney, Sustainable Fleet-Technical Engineering Lead for Verizon.

"Verizon's fleet team is constantly on the watch for new, lower-carbon technology," McKenney said. "CNG is a leading alternative fuel choice right now, so converting these cargo vans to run on the cleaner-burning fuel helps us cut CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. We will continue to find ways to increase the efficiency of our fleet."

Cargo vans represent the single largest group of vehicles in Verizon's vehicle fleet. They are primarily used by technicians who install and maintain phones and FiOS TV and Internet services for homes and businesses. The CNG-equipped Ford E-250 vans will be used in key Verizon markets throughout the country that have retail infrastructures in place for fueling.

The vehicles are being converted to CNG by BAF, a wholly owned subsidiary of Clean Energy Fuels Corp.

"Verizon's deployment of natural gas-fueled vehicles sets a powerful example for fleet operators across America to emulate," said John Bacon, president of BAF. "Use of natural gas for fleets is a trend that is rapidly gaining momentum in many U.S. industry sectors. Because it is abundant and renewable, and cleaner and cheaper than gasoline or diesel fuel, natural gas can carry us forward to a sustainable future."

The BAF CNG vehicle upfits for Verizon will be completed at Steelweld Equipment Company in Hemet, Calif., and Temple, Texas, and at North American Equipment Upfitters in Hooksett, N.H. Both Steelweld and North American Equipment Upfitters are women-owned businesses and participants in Verizon's Supplier Diversity program. Verizon purchased the vans from Ukiah Ford in Ukiah, Calif., a minority-owned business.

Verizon's sustainability program is multifaceted. In addition to replacing more than 1,100 traditional fuel vehicles with cleaner, lower-carbon alternatives and increasing its use of biodiesel and flex-fuel (E85) to power 470 vehicles, Verizon employees have been reducing CO2 emissions by cutting engine idle times. Since 2008, drivers of Verizon vehicles have conserved more than 2.7 million gallons of fuel, the equivalent amount of greenhouse gases emitted by about 4,580 vehicles annually.