CLEARWATER, FL -- Verizon has added to its Florida fleet 13 Ford cargo vans converted to run on compressed natural gas, as part of the company's goal to have 7.5 percent of its national fleet run on alternative energy by the end of 2011.

"At Verizon, we're making our business more sustainable year over year, from developing smarter products and services to the cutting down of paper usage to using greener vehicles to serve customers," said Jeanmarie Milla, Verizon's Florida region president for operations. "We are very happy that Florida is playing a role in our national efforts to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions, and we view the addition of these vans as a good start down the road to a much more energy-efficient fleet."

Verizon has also added 20 hybrid vehicles to its Florida fleet. 

To date, the company's domestic program has involved purchasing more than 600 Chevy hybrid pickup trucks, hybrid sedans, and hybrid aerial-lift trucks. Verizon has also purchased more than 500 cargo vans and aerial lift trucks converted to run on CNG.

The increase in the use of alternative fuels not only includes the purchase of new vehicles but also a program to facilitate biofuel use in vehicles already in the Verizon fleet. Where applicable, conventional vehicles will run on biodiesel or E85.

Verizon estimates these vehicles will help the company cut more than 2,550 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and conserve some 290,000 gallons of fuel annually. This equates to keeping 500 passenger cars off the road for a year.