Sacramento County’s Alternative Fuel Achievements Lead the Charge Towards Sustainability

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In the heart of California lies Sacramento County, a region determined to pave the way towards sustainable and environmentally responsible fleet management. With a fleet comprising over 2,700 units and 8 maintenance locations, serving a population of over 1.4 million in a vast 994-square-mile area, Sacramento County’s Fleet Services Division, a founding stakeholder in the Sacramento Clean Cities Coalition, has embraced a mission of providing timely and cost-effective fleet management services through innovative and eco-friendly technologies.

Sacramento County Fleet Services Division has shown a strong commitment to sustainability by actively reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adopting alternative and zero-emission fuels. They have made remarkable progress in transitioning their fleet to alternative, renewable, and zero-emission vehicles, successfully converting over 60% of the fuel used to alternative fuel sources. With this impressive achievement, they are on track to meet their ambitious goal of operating 75% of the entire county fleet on renewable fuels or advanced technologies by the end of 2023. This aligns with the County’s Climate Action Plan Phase 2B (draft released August 2022), which aims for a complete conversion to zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2035. Having clear policies and goals in place gives the fleet team a strong position to collaborate with customer departments to transition to ZEVs. This highlights the division’s forward-thinking approach to fleet management, aiming to provide timely and cost-effective services while embracing innovative and environmentally sound technologies such as equipment sharing and full-service leases in certain applications.

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Sacramento County’s fleet is an impressive showcase of alternative and renewable fuels. With 117 heavy-duty CNG vehicles, 40 heavy-duty LNG vehicles, and 40 electric BEVs (including forklifts and manlifts), they are making significant strides in reducing carbon footprints. The fleet is also equipped with 680 Hybrid Electric vehicles and 4 Hydrogen Fuel Cell units. This commitment to greener fuels doesn’t stop at the vehicle level – all CNG and LNG consume Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) and RLNG, and all diesel units run on R99 renewable diesel.

Sacramento County’s commitment to sustainability goes beyond its own fleet operations. Working with the Sacramento Clean Cities Coalition, they actively engage with local utilities and organizations to collaborate on developing a regional electrification blueprint for medium and heavy-duty trucks. The ultimate goal is to inspire confidence in other regional fleets that the necessary zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure will be available when they make the transition to zero-emission transport equipment. Their dedication to sustainability is evident through various past and ongoing initiatives. Notably, they received the #1 Green Fleet awards in 2018, ranked #3 in NAFA’s 100 Best Government Fleets in 2022, and were recognized as a leading public fleet at the 2022 ACT Expo. The fleet management team actively participates in fleet and community organizations, including the Sacramento Clean Cities Coalition, Municipal Equipment Maintenance Association (MEMA), and the National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA Gov’t Affairs Committee), further demonstrating their commitment to sustainable practices and community engagement.

Sacramento County’s fleet management team relies on data-driven decision-making to ensure success and efficiency. They utilize GeoTab telematics in over 700 units to continuously monitor and optimize vehicle utilization, enabling them to right-size their offerings for maximum efficiency. Moreover, they have developed a robust replacement forecasting and planning tool that takes into account various factors like mileage, inflation, and other detailed data to plan vehicle purchases and avoid budget spikes. To facilitate real-time reporting, the fleet management team leverages FMIS/GPS data and innovative use of PowerBI. This approach allows for customized reporting of key performance indicators (KPIs), utilization, vehicle miles traveled (VMT), total cost of ownership, fuel consumption, and more. This enhanced reporting capability enables the fleet team to act in a collaborative advisory role, assisting executives, directors, and customer departments in making informed decisions.

Sacramento County’s fleet management team recognizes the importance of strategic partnerships in driving significant change. In May 2021, they took a crucial step by signing an MOU with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) to become the inaugural participant in the eFuel program. Through this innovative “Charging as a Service” (CaaS) business model, they aim to significantly reduce the high up-front capital costs associated with fleet electrification. This partnership, in collaboration with AECOM, Cadmus Group, Green Lots, and eIQ mobility, is dedicated to accelerating the County’s efforts in transitioning to electric vehicles. The eFuel project is set to bring substantial improvements to the charging infrastructure. It will expand the number of chargers from 18 Level II to 42 Level II chargers, as well as introduce 2 DCFC chargers near the fleet and an additional 12 Level II chargers Downtown in a downtown parking structure. This expansion and innovation in charging solutions will make electric fleet adoption more accessible and attractive for the County, further propelling their electrification efforts.

Sacramento County’s Fleet Services Division is setting a remarkable example in the realm of sustainable fleet management. Through dedication, innovation, and strategic collaborations, they are making significant strides in adopting alternative fuels and zero-emission technologies. As the world races towards a greener future, Sacramento County stands at the forefront, a shining example of environmental stewardship and a testament to the power of sustainable fleet management.

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