NEW YORK - Verizon was one of several organizations recently honored with a 2010 National NGV Achievement Awards from NGVAmerica and the Clean Vehicle Education Foundation, two organizations dedicated to increasing the use of natural gas vehicles to improve air quality, lessening dependence on foreign oil, and reducing fleet operator costs. 

Verizon received a 2010 NGV Achievement Award for its program to add 501 Ford E-250 cargo vans as part of the company wide sustainability effort to conserve energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to improved air quality in the communities it serves.  

Verizon's new CNG powered cargo vans are expected to save 1.62 million metric tons of C02 a year.  Cargo vans represent the single largest group of vehicles in Verizon's vehicle fleet, 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 by BAF Technologies of Dallas, and the work is being completed at Steelweld Equipment Company in Hemet, Calif., and Temple, Texas and at North American Equipment Upfitters in Hooksett, N.H. The two companies are both women-owned businesses and participants in Verizon's Supplier Diversity Program.

The first units are being put into service this month, and 500 vehicles will be deployed by the end of 2010. 

This year's decision to purchase 501 CNG powered vans is the latest step in the company's overall sustainability program, which included efforts to reduce idling time. In 2009, Verizon's aggressive energy reduction and recycling measures reduced the company's CO2 emissions by more than 793 million lbs., approximately the amount of CO2 emitted by 46,700 homes in a year.