City of Phoenix approved to hire consultant for alternative fuel evaluation

City of Phoenix vehicles may be trading in gasoline power for electric power.

The City of Phoenix Public Works Department Fleet Services Division got the go-ahead to hire a consultant from the Finance, Efficiency, Economy and Sustainability subcommittee on Monday. The division wants to evaluate the cost compared to the environmental impact of switching to alternative fuel vehicles.

“In our area we’re very challenged with air quality,” said Brandie Barrett, deputy public works director in Phoenix.

“It really makes a big difference, and so it’s just part of our do diligence and best business practices to really look at these technologies and options as they emerge.”

According to the Fleet Services Division, 30 percent of the fleet currently run on natural gas.

The division wants to increase that percentage to 80 percent over the next five years.

“The city has been a leader for a long time, since the 90’s, in alternative fuel use,” Barrett said. “Our first compressed natural gas truck rolled out in March of 2010.”

Barrett said the Phoenix-metro area was ranked first in alternative fuel use by the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Network two years ago.

They want to increase alternative fuel use if it makes financial sense.

“We feel they will be even cheaper in the future and more, um, they’ll be a better return investment,” said Greg Duckett, public works operations manager for the City of Phoenix.

The Fleet Services Division says there is a growing trend in electric vehicles because of the improved battery life as well as their increase in travel range.