CACC recognizes top green fleets, American Lung Association

By Chicago Area Clean Cities | December 12, 2017

The Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition has announced its Green Fleet Leadership Award winners for 2017, companies and government agencies that are leading in the adoption of alternative fuels and clean-vehicle technologies for their fleets.

This year’s winners include FedEx Express, ComEd, City of Chicago, City of Elmhurst, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Waste Management, Peapod, Continental Air Transport, Chicago Transit Authority, Coca-Cola, and Watts on Wheels.

The Green Fleet Leadership Award winners were named Dec. 7 at the coalition’s end-of-the-year meeting. The awards are given annually to commercial or government fleets that take actions to locally reduce petroleum consumption and improve air quality, such as by using cleaner-burning alternative-fuel vehicles, electric vehicles or other advanced technologies.

“The fleets we’re recognizing range from using compressed natural gas to propane to plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles, all with the goals of saving fuel, reducing emissions and saving money,” said John W. Walton, chair of Chicago Area Clean Cities. “The fleets that we have selected operate in the Chicagoland area and are terrific examples for others to follow to learn about the advantages of clean-vehicle technologies.”

Government fleets receiving Green Fleet Leadership Awards include:

The City of Chicago: The City of Chicago continues to increase its sustainability efforts. In June, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel filed an executive order committing Chicago to follow and adopt the guidelines of the Paris Agreement. Over the next few years, Chicago is adding 182 electric vehicles to the city’s vehicle fleet, plus nine DC Fast Charging stations, and 182 Level 2 charging stations. Chicago expects to have a passenger fleet that is 25 percent EV by 2023. Currently, the city operates a fleet of 2,600 vehicles compatible with E85 fuel. In 2016, the city’s fleet used more than 750,000 gallons of E85 (ethanol) instead of traditional gasoline or diesel fuel.

City of Elmhurst, Illinois: The City of Elmhurst in 2007 joined other U.S. cities by signing the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement. The City of Elmhurst has a fleet of more than 80 biodiesel-fueled trucks. In 2016, Elmhurst increased their biodiesel use by 8 percent, reducing greenhouse gas emissions while also improving local air quality.

Forest Preserve District of DuPage County: The Forest Preserve District manages nearly 26,000 acres in 60 preserves containing prairie, woods and wetlands and a variety of wildlife in DuPage County, one of the collar counties of the Chicago metropolitan area. The Forest Preserve District operates nearly 50 vehicles compatible with E85 fuel. Last year, the Forest Preserve District reduced petroleum-based fuel usage by 24,000 gallons, a 1 percent improvement over last year.

Chicago Transit Authority: The CTA is the primary public transit agency serving the City of Chicago. With more than 200 hybrid buses, the CTA continues its efforts towards a lower-emissions fleet. The CTA operates four hybrid-electric SUVs as well as more than 250 hybrid electric buses and two all-electric buses. In 2016, the CTA’s hybrid and electric fleet reduced their fuel consumption by 130,000 gallons of fuel using these cleaner hybrid-electric vehicles.

Commercial fleets receiving Green Fleet Leadership Awards include:

Coca-Cola: The Coca-Cola Co. is the world’s largest beverage company, offering more than 500 brands to people in more than 200 countries. In recent years Coca-Cola has made a large effort to electrify their fleet. Coca-Cola went from operating no hybrid and electric vehicles to nine in the Chicago region in the past year. The company’s hybrid and electric fleet displaced nearly 6,500 gallons of petroleum-based fuels in its Chicago-area fleet.

Commonwealth Edison Co.: ComEd is the primary electric utility in the Chicago area. A unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corp., ComEd is the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 10 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 4 million customers across northern Illinois, 70 percent of the state’s population. ComEd operates more than 1,750 trucks using biodiesel fuel. In 2016, ComEd used nearly 600,000 gallons of cleaner-burning biodiesel instead of regular diesel fuel.

Continental Air Transport: Continental Air Transport offers shuttle service to and from Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway Airports under the name Go Airport Express. Its propane shuttles have allowed people to travel to and from the airports in a green fashion. Go Airport Express operates 52 propane-powered shuttle buses. In 2016, Continental Air Transport’s fleet used nearly 110,000 gasoline-gallon equivalents (GGEs) of propane fuel.

FedEx Express: FedEx Express provides customers with a broad selection of transportation, e-commerce and business services. Their adoption of alternative fuels and green transportation has made them a leader in the Chicago region in reducing greenhouse gasses omitted. In 2014 the company owned and contracted more than 1,000 alternative-fuel vehicles worldwide. Last year FedEx lowered their vehicular emissions of greenhouse gases in the Chicago area by 9,500 tons.

Peapod: Peapod is a grocery delivery service providing customers with delivery access to fresh and health groceries. They have shown a large commitment to adopting alternative fuels for their delivery vehicles. Peapod operates two heavy-duty compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. Last year the Peapod’s CNG vehicles increased its CNG use by 87 percent (8,268 GGEs). Peapod also possesses 17 clean-burning propane vehicles. In 2016, the company’s propane fleet improved its use of propane fuel by 94 percent (58,009 GGEs).

Waste Management: Waste Management, based in Houston, Texas, is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America. “We are excited to accept the Green Fleet Leadership award from Chicago Area Clean Cities,” said Scott Zielinski, fleet director for Waste Management of Illinois Inc. “In the Chicago area, we are utilizing 220 natural-gas vehicles to service our customers with another 20-plus to be added in early 2018. We take a lot of pride in providing solutions that support safer, greener and cleaner communities.” In 2016, Waste Management’s CNG vehicles displaced more than 1 million GGEs of petroleum-based fuel in the Chicagoland area by using cleaner-burning CNG fuel. Across the U.S., Waste Management’s fleet includes more than 6,000 natural gas trucks, the largest heavy-duty truck fleet of its kind in North America.

Watts on Wheels: Watts on Wheels is a for-hire transportation service operating all Tesla vehicles. The company was founded on the premise of using all electric vehicles. They currently maintain a 100 percent electric fleet and have a mission of providing a totally green experience. The company has five vehicles in its fleet. Their fleet saved 58 tons of greenhouse-gas emissions in 2016, the equivalent of 134 barrels of oil.

At the awards ceremony, CACC also recognized the American Lung Association, as its 2017 Clean Fuels Champion for its work in seeking ways to improve air quality and public health. The Lung Association oversees the Clean Air Choice program throughout the U.S. promoting alternative fuels, partnering with fleets to replace diesel engines, and by supporting the clean-air advantages of electric and hybrid vehicles.

“We are truly honored to be named a Clean Fuels Champion by Chicago Area Clean Cities,” said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “Air pollution poses a serious threat to our nation’s health. Studies show that air pollution from transportation causes asthma attacks and contributes to premature death and lung cancer among many other health concerns. Clean transportation plays an important role in improving air quality and lung health.

“Clean Air Choice actions taken by consumers and by commercial and government fleets to decrease vehicle emissions are vitally important to addressing these public-health issues and improving the quality of life in our communities,” Wimmer said. “Along with our partners like Clean Cities, our team works extremely hard to encourage the use of clean-vehicle technologies, such as alternative fuels, replacing older engines, and use of electric and hybrid vehicles.”

The Clean Fuels Champion was awarded Dec. 7 at the coalition’s annual meeting. The award has been given annually since 2001 to an individual, organization or business that champions the promotion of alternative fuels and technologies to reduce vehicle emissions and reduce petroleum usage. Recent award recipients include the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Testa Produce, and Ozinga Bros Inc.

“The American Lung Association is truly a champion of clean fuels, clean vehicles, clean air, and clean cities,” said Walton. “The American Lung Association works hard every day to promote clean-air choices across the nation. They have partnered with us on a number of projects to promote our Clean Cities’ mission and to reduce harmful vehicle emissions.” 

Alternative-fuel and electric-vehicle programs the Lung Association oversees include:

Clean Air Choice: The Lung Association’s overarching program promotes the use of cleaner-burning fuels and cleaner engine technology that reduce motor vehicle emissions, including the use of biofuels (E85 and biodiesel), and electric and hybrid vehicles.

B20 Club: The B20 Club is a partnership of the Illinois Soybean Association Checkoff Program and the American Lung Association in Illinois, recognizing Illinois-based fleets running on biodiesel blends of 20 percent or greater for at least six months of the year. Since the formation of the club in 2013, member fleets have used nearly 20 million gallons of B20 biodiesel fuel and reduced more than 29,000 tons of CO2 emissions and nine tons of particulate matter—with $5 million in health benefits.

U.S. EPA’s Clean Diesel Program: Diesel emissions account for 6.3 million tons of nitrogen oxides and 305,000 tons of particulate matter in the U.S. A 2010 study estimated that 45 percent of Americans live near roads with elevated levels of traffic emissions. Since 2008, the American Lung Association has partnered with the EPA and 125 fleets to replace 1,500 vehicles and eliminate 950,000 tons of lifetime emissions (NOx and PM) through clean-diesel projects that improve air quality in local areas. These projects have helped significantly reduce the consumption of diesel fuel through new technologies.

Midwest EVOLVE (Electric Vehicle Opportunities: Learning, eVents, Experience): Launched in 2017, Midwest EVOLVE is a partnership between the American Lung Association and eight Clean Cities coalitions throughout the Midwest to demonstrate the performance and environmental benefits of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles.

Illinois Alternative Fuels Alliance: Formed in 2017, the alliance consists of organizations that work on clean-air and clean-vehicle solutions in Illinois

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