Former New Jersey Governor and EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman headlined the NAFA Fleet Management Association New Jersey and New York chapters' recent first joint meeting on alternative fuels.
Held onboard the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York City, the educational meeting also featured Clean Energy President and CEO Andrew Littlefair.
Approximately 125 fleet professionals, with a few business colleagues, attended the meeting, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz USA Fleet Operations, which previewed its current and future lineup of luxury green vehicles.
Greening in Progress
Whitman shared her expertise and knowledge on the importance of going "green" and how fleets can help significantly reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. President of The Whitman Strategy Group, a consulting firm specializing in energy and environmental issues, Whitman emphasized the importance of maintaining fleet vehicles in peak running condition and limiting lifecycles to current parameters (36 months or 75,000 miles).
Passage of the 2009 Waxman bill, according to Whitman, will help create greater government oversight of private fleets, requiring companies to benchmark their carbon footprints to include everything from fleet vehicles to executive flight travel. Many fleets have already begun to benchmark CO2 output, using the data to report progress on green initiatives to executive management and aid in decision-making on the future fleet vehicle selections.
Natural Gas a Promising Alt-Fuel
Littlefair, whose company is a leading U.S. provider of natural gas (LNG and CNG) for transportation, introduced several applications such as bus, taxi, and delivery fleets already using the technology to reduce carbon footprints and decrease the nation's dependence on foreign energy.
Air quality, supply availability, energy security, and economics are just a few of the market development drivers guiding the expansion of compressed natural and liquefied natural gas vehicles, said Littlefair. He believes fleets will have the largest impact on boosting the future infrastructure required for an increased number of natural gas vehicles (NGVs).
"Clean Energy in California can presently accommodate an additional 100,000 more NGVs on the road today," Littlefair said. Currently, Clean Energy fuels more than 14,000 vehicles per day at more than 170 strategic locations in the U.S. and Canada. With gas prices on the rise again, fleets may want to consider the benefits to their operations of adding NGVs to their selector lists, said Littlefair.