In an effort to improve air quality and reduce fuel costs, Pierce County is implementing a fuel reduction policy that will limit unnecessary emissions from county-owned vehicles.
Under the policy, employees should limit unnecessary idling of vehicles, such as while waiting for passengers or managing paperwork. Exceptions are made for such activities as law enforcement assistance and during hot or cold weather conditions.
“This policy asks Pierce County employees to use their best judgment in helping to reduce the amount of time that vehicles spend idling,” County Executive Pat McCarthy said. “Pierce County’s air quality exceeds federal standards for particulate matter, and we know that vehicles make up nearly 30 percent of the source. It will take a coordinated effort to bring our air quality into compliance, and policies like this will help.”
Other benefits of reducing vehicle idling include fuel savings, longer engine life, longer time between oil and filter changes, less noise and a healthier work environment around loading docks, work bays, etc.
The Fuel Reduction Policy also requires that all Pierce County fleet purchases ensure they have the “right sized” vehicle for the mission. Studies show that more affordable cars with better gas mileage can save Pierce County significant money over the life of the vehicle.
“Once employees understand the reasons not to idle, I am confident they will move forward quickly with this fuel-saving measure. If we can give employees the most efficient vehicles and they operate them in a safe and sound way, we will do a lot to clean our air and water and save money,” said Alan Kies, equipment manager for Pierce County Public Works and Utilities.
Improving air quality is one of six major goals of Pierce County’s 2015 Sustainability Plan. More details, including the new policy as well as a report that outlines progress made toward the goals, are available here: www.co.pierce.wa.us/pc/abtus/ourorg/facmgmt/sustainability/transportation.htm.
“Vehicle emissions are costly in terms of dollars and public health, so lessening that burden is the right thing to do,” said Pierce County Councilmember Tim Farrell (District 4). “This policy helps us move closer to meeting our ambitious sustainability goals.”