Greening the fleet |

Greening the fleet

Grass Valley’s city motor pool is showing signs of green with the recent purchase of three new hybrid SUVS, three electric vehicles on the way and plans for three clean diesel dump trucks in the future.

“We will be reducing our fuel consumption, and we’ll benefit our air locally,” said Mike Healy, the city’s assistant director of public works. “We’re committed to a course to investigate any means to make our municipal travel less expensive.”

The nine vehicles will cost about $260,000, with the bulk of the cost funded by state and federal grants, Healy said. He wasn’t sure of the exact amount of the city’s share of the purchase cost, but none of the grants calls for more than a 30 percent match, which means the city’s outlay is $78,000 tops.

What the vehicles will save the financially-strapped city in fuel costs remains to be seen, Healy said, but he knows they will be there.

With multiple stops and starts in municipal driving, normal city vehicles put out a lot of pollution, Healy said. That doesn’t help in a town that often rates as one of the worst in the country for air quality when summer temperatures rise into the 90s and mix with Sacramento Valley pollution to cause high ozone levels.

“We’ve got a responsibility to our residents to explore this on their behalf,” Healy said. “We’re ambassadors to our residents for this type of technology.”

One of the three Ford SUVs will go to the fire department, with the other two used for various city trips including building inspections and code enforcement checks, Healy said. The vehicles cost about $70,000.

City Council members recently authorized the purchase of three electric vehicles for $47,000, Healy said. They are “small, golf-cart like vehicles, but they can do 30 mph.”

Those could be used by meter readers and in city parks, Healy said.

“They have a 40-mile range on a charge, so you can go all day on one charge,” Healy said.

The three clean diesel dump trucks could be on the horizon. They would cost about $140,000, and the city is trying to land a grant for that purchase, Healy said.

“We’re hoping to get final approval within the next month,” he added.

If the grant comes through, 10 of the city’s 110 vehicles will be energy efficient, Healy added. The police department already uses a hybrid pickup truck.

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