Facilities Toolbox: Sustainability Tools
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How can fleet sustainability be improved?

Photo of a white honda with the Forest Service logo on the door.

Rhonda the Honda is a hybrid vehicle that is
used for highway and around-town travel.

Forest: Bighorn
Region: 2

Fleet sustainability can be improved significantly by reducing fuel use and exhaust emissions. Fuel use can be reduced a little by making sure that tires are properly inflated and by paying attention to other economic vehicle operating measures (Optional link for FSweb users) Fuel use can be reduced substantially by limiting miles driven and by increasing the fuel efficiency of the vehicles in the fleet.

To reduce miles driven, always consider whether the work can be accomplished without traveling. Could a teleconference be used instead of an in-person meeting? Can Sametime (Web site available only to FS and BLM employees) or another method be used to share text and electronic information? For instance, presentations can be made remotely to people gathered at non-Forest Service sites by mailing a PowerPoint file ahead of time, having somebody onsite switch slides, and using a speakerphone to make the voice presentation and answer questions. If it's not possible to avoid travel, share rides whenever possible—the benefit is the same as doubling the vehicle fuel efficiency.

Most fleet miles are driven on paved highways, yet most fleet vehicles aren't designed primarily for highway or urban travel. Consider replacing at least one pickup or large van with a fuel-efficient sedan or small sport utility pool vehicle that can be used for highway or around-town travel. It can be done! In the Rocky Mountain Region, 28 percent of new vehicles ordered in 2006 were alternative fuel vehicles (AFV). In 2006, the region had 49 ethanol-85 compatible vehicles and 24 gasoline/electric hybrids. Five forests were using biodiesel-20 in their standard diesel vehicles. Confused about how to order more fuel efficient vehicles? Check out the Region 2 fleet ordering standards (Web site available only to FS and BLM employees) or contact (Web site available only to FS and BLM employees) the Region 2 fleet manager or assistant fleet manager.

Pollution can be minimized by reducing fuel use as explained above and by switching to biofuels. Biofuels for vehicle use include:

20 percent biodiesel or ethanol fuels can be used in ordinary engines. 80 percent biodiesel blends can be used in most diesel engines, but 85 percent ethanol fuel can only be used in flexible fuel vehicles. Both biodiesel and ethanol blends are available in many parts of the country. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory Web site contains an alternative fuel station locator.

The Forest Service Fleet Life-cycle Expense and Efficiency Tool can be used to select the most sustainable vehicle available that will meet your performance needs, including cost of ownership and greenhouse gas emissions. Caution: green house gas emissions for flexible fuel compatible vehicles are calculated as if low-carbon fuels are used 100% of the time. If these fuels are not available in your area, performance will differ.