Meet the award recipients of the New Orleans RPC and SLCFP’s Clean Fuel Transition Fund for Public Fleets

Through the collaborative efforts of Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development (LaDOTD), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), New Orleans Regional Planning Commission (RPC), Southeast Louisiana Clean Fuel Partnership (SLCFP), and five innovative public fleet entities, the Clean Fuel Transition Fund for Public Fleets (CFT Fund) resulted in diverse energy efficiency projects that are fast-tracking fuel conservation and emissions reductions throughout the region. By capitalizing on each fleet’s unique opportunities, project partners worked to identify and deploy alternative fuels and technology solutions which are directly benefitting our local economy, energy security, and environment. Award recipients of the CFT Fund include:

Port of New Orleans

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Port NOLA’s Environmental team and Facility Services Manager test-drive their new plug-in hybrid truck retrofitted with XL Fleet’s hybrid-electric drive system.

In recent years, the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) has garnered recognition for its significant environmental leadership and sustainable transportation efforts including, but not limited to, becoming Green Marine Certified, implementing the Clean Truck Replacement Incentive Program (Clean TRIP), operating propane lawnmowers, passing an Idle Reduction Policy for its Board-owned vehicles and equipment, and becoming the first public fleet in Louisiana to deploy all-electric vehicles into its operations. The Port’s two Nissan LEAFs (primarily used for travel between Port facilities within New Orleans and Port business in the Metro area) have accumulated over 6,000 miles and offset more than 4,000 lbs. of greenhouse gas emissions since 2015. Having existing EV charging infrastructure for the LEAFs and working toward the goals in their Strategic Master Plan to invest in efficiency improvements, the Port sought to expand their electric vehicle fleet with the help of the CFT Fund. The Port was able to offset the costs of two, plug-in hybrid F-150 pickup trucks equipped with XL Fleet Electrification’s extended range technology system which includes a high voltage lithium battery pack and regenerative braking enabling an estimated 50% increase in miles per gallon and 33% decrease in emissions. Together, project partners and Port NOLA look forward to celebrating this achievement at a special ribbon cutting ceremony (details TBD) and partnering on additional environmental endeavors in the year ahead!

Jefferson Transit

Project partners commemorate JeT’s 13 new, cleaner-burning propane paratransit buses at a ribbon cutting ceremony held at JeT headquarters on June 8, 2018.

Being on the forefront of alternative fuels and fuel-saving practices is not new for Jefferson Transit (JeT). They were the first transit operator in the region to use biodiesel and implement idle reduction policies which together save around 18,000 gasoline gallons equivalent each year. JeT’s commitment to expanding their clean transportation portfolio, as outlined in their Strategic Plan released in April 2019, led them to apply for the CFT Fund to help offset the costs of purchasing 13, Ford E-450 propane paratransit shuttle buses developed by ROUSH CleanTech. Each of the shuttles are estimated to emit 91,000 fewer pounds of carbon dioxide over its lifetime compared to gasoline fueled counterparts. Additionally, propane autogas historically costs up to 40 percent less than gasoline and 50 percent less than diesel. The 13 propane buses took the place of 13 buses due for replacement within JeT’s Mobility Impaired Transportation System (MITS) fleet, which makes about 61,000 trips and travels approximately 441,000 miles per year serving Jefferson Parish’s disabled citizens who are unable to access fixed route transit.  In 2018 alone, the 13 propane buses helped JeT save 74,441 gasoline gallons equivalent and prevent more than 105 tons of greenhouse gases from being emitted into the atmosphere – the equivalent of taking 25 passenger vehicles off the road! Shortly after realizing the benefits, JeT purchased three additional propane buses in 2019 resulting in a total of 16 out of 17 MITS vehicle conversions to cleaner burning fuel. JeT’s leadership and dedication to piloting new fuels and technologies showcase their commitment to creating a cleaner, greener transit operation and paving the way for other light-to-medium duty bus fleets in Southeast Louisiana.

St. Bernard Parish Government

St. Bernard Parish Government showcased their brand new Nissan LEAF at the RPC Board meeting on April 9, 2019.

St. Bernard Parish Government (SBPG) is dedicated to being a leader in cleaner air, establishing policies and programs that reduce emissions and promote quality of life such as their Air Quality Awareness Week proclamation passed in 2018 by Parish President McInnis and City Councilmembers. To further showcase their commitment to energy efficiency and eco-friendly practices, SPBG applied for the CFT Fund to add an all-electric vehicle to their fleet. With the funding, SPBG was able to offset the costs to replace a 14-year old Chevy Cobalt, which traveled 14,000 miles annually, with a new, zero-emission Nissan LEAF. In doing so, SBPG became the first Parish Government in the region to incorporate an EV into its fleet operations and is continuing to “walk the walk” by reducing their carbon footprint, reducing their fuel and maintenance costs, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the local level. Moreover, SBPG applied for Volkswagen Settlement funding to purchase two, Level 2 EV charging stations to be made available for public use at the Parish Government complex in Chalmette and at a public parking lot behind the St. Claude Arts building in Arabi. Together with RPC and the Clean Fuel Partnership, SBPG is proudly leading the adoption of EVs by example and making great strides toward cleaner transportation and a healthier environment for its citizens.

New Orleans Emergency Medical Services

The Clean Fuel Partnership and NOLA EMS’s collaborative efforts received an “Idle Reduction Innovators” award from the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s National Clean Cities Program.

Ambulances typically idle for a great portion of their work day, for example, when picking up or dropping off patients, when filling out paperwork at hospitals, as well as to keep vital onboard equipment powered like life support systems, temperature controlled compartments, and telecommunications. It’s estimated that for each hour an ambulance idles, it burns 1½ gallons of fuel and puts about 35 miles worth of wear-and tear on the engine. To make the transition toward a greener fleet, New Orleans Emergency Medical Services (NOLA EMS) utilized the CFT Fund to offset the costs of purchasing and installing idle reduction technology in 16 ambulances. This new technology, developed by ZeroRPM, allows for all onboard equipment to be powered by an onboard battery when the vehicle is in park without having the engine on and without the negative effects of idling. In just six months, the systems helped NOLA EMS save approximately $11,000 in fuel costs and reduce 3,820 hours of engine idling equating to the reduction of 40 tons of vehicle emissions! Looking forward, NOLA EMS and the City of New Orleans are committed to advancing cleaner transportation projects that curb emissions and help reach the goals outlined in the New Orleans Climate Action Plan. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on Monday, June 3rd at the NOLA EMS headquarters to commemorate the City’s new and improved ambulance fleet.

Sewage and Water Board of New Orleans

SWBNO Senior Planner Carson Gorecki approves the new plug-in hybrid-electric Meter Reader trucks!

Since 2014, the Sewage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) has reduced more than 460 tons of greenhouse gas emissions and saved the equivalent of 37,056 gasoline gallons through the use of their MotionLink idle reduction and fleet tracking software installed on 491 vehicles. With the goal of advancing their fleet’s sustainability and diversifying their fuel portfolio, SWBNO applied for CFT Funding to offset the cost of purchasing and installing
XL Fleet Electrification’s electric extended range technology on six F-150 pickup trucks used in their Meter Reader fleet, that together travel an estimated 40,000 miles annually. By utilizing domestically produced electricity as a transportation fuel, SWBNO is doing their part to reduce local emissions and spearhead the adoption of cleaner fueled vehicles for local fleets with light-duty trucks! The SWBNO, RPC, and SLCFP will host a ribbon cutting ceremony in July to celebrate this significant milestone (details TBD).

About Clean Fuel Transition Fund for Public Fleets:

The New Orleans Regional Planning Commission (RPC) established the Southeast Louisiana Clean Fuel Partnership (SLCFP) to promote and facilitate implementation of fuel saving and emissions reducing technologies in the transportation sector. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LaDOTD) awarded RPC funding through the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program to support projects that reduce air emissions and improve air quality. RPC elected to use this funding, via executing the Clean Fuel Transition Fund for Public Fleets, to support public fleets with incorporating clean fuel alternatives into their operations to reduce air quality impacts associated with transportation fleets. Eligible fleets could receive 80% of the incremental cost difference between a new alternative fuel vehicle and the gasoline powered version; 80% of the cost to convert an existing vehicle to alternative fuel; and 80% of the cost to purchase and install anti-idling equipment.

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