Enter Ed Murray, Mayor of Seattle, Washington. In the interest of keeping the Evergreen State ever green, Murray has announced a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions of the municipal fleet in half by 2025. His Drive Clean Seattle program also aims for carbon neutrality by 2050. The plan relies upon the city's carbon neutral utility, Seattle City Light, and the electrification of the municipal fleet (which already includes a number of Nissan Leafs). It also means a push to install public EV charging infrastructure. Seattle's electrification plan includes a focus on car sharing, as well as improving its light rail systems.
While Murray expects half of the city fleet's GHG emission reductions to come from electrification, another 25 percent will come from switching to renewable diesel and biodiesel. The rest will come from solutions like improved automotive and equipment technology, "fleet rightsiszing," improving driver behavior, and anti-idling technology (presumably including stop-start).
Murray expects half of the city fleet's GHG emission reductions to come from electrification.
Of course, in the early phases, many parts of the plan seem vague. The language includes a lot of words like "support," "align," "encourage," and "enable," without having specific actions outlined. It's easy to be cynical about ambitious environmental plans, but it's also not too difficult to envision a city like Seattle emerging as a model for greening up the transportation sector. It's a brand-new project, and Seattle already has the cultural seeds sown to support this sort of program. Fingers crossed, we'll be rooting for you, Seattle.