Not easy being green? Check out WSDOT’s fleet

By Noel Brady

We are continuing down the path to sustainability with our fleet of vehicles and equipment. The fleet recently became a finalist among the 50 most sustainable and efficient government fleets in North America. In fact, our agency was the only state DOT fleet to make the list for the 2014 Leading Fleets.

WSDOT employees charge up a Nissan Leaf at the DC
Fast Charge station at Headquarters in Olympia

The awards, sponsored by Ford Motor Company and Property Room, will be presented next month in San Diego. The Leading Fleets program recognizes government fleet operations in North America for leadership, efficiency, long-term planning and overcoming challenges.

We became a finalist for sustainably managing a fleet that runs on a mix of alternative fuels, including electricity, biodiesel and propane. The fleet was evaluated for innovation in reducing fuel consumption and emissions, increasing vehicle efficiency, using sustainable and biodegradable products and recycling. It‘s one of the largest and most diverse to be recognized at the awards.

It’s the latest in a series of honors for our fleet’s transition to alternative fuels, such as electricity and propane. Our agency also recently ranked 12th among the 2014 100 Best Fleets in North America – the agency’s highest ranking on this list in years. The award highlights our commitment to quality fleet services based on specific criteria, including technology and environmental stewardship.

In recent weeks our Fleet Operations became the first state agency in the country to reach an agreement with Nissan to lease its all-electric, plug-in Leaf cars. The ground-breaking lease agreement paves the way for other state agencies to lease the industry-leading Leaf electronic vehicles.

We are leasing five new Leaf EVs for use at offices from Shoreline to Vancouver. According to WSDOT Fleet Administrator Greg Hansen, two have arrived at Northwest Region headquarters in Shoreline, and one new Leaf each is available at Headquarters in Olympia, Olympic Region in Tumwater and Southwest Region in Vancouver. Charging stations are being installed at each location.

Our land and water fleets also passed a million-gallon milestone for biodiesel in 2013. It was the first year our agency purchased more than 1 million gallons of emissions-cutting biodiesel to fuel ferries, trucks and equipment.