Fuel usage goes down – $avings go up!

The Seattle Department of Transportation is on a mission to reduce its impact on the environment and just one of the many tactics being implemented is reducing fuel usage.  By saving fuel, the department not only reduces the release of carbon into the air and its subsequent impact on the environment, but the reduction has another payoff – literally – as it produces a considerable savings for the department.

Results from the fuel use tallies for 2012 are in and congratulations to SDOT employees are in order.  SDOT fuel use was 11 percent below the five-year average use, and a 5 percent greater reduction than our fuel reduction in 2011!  That reduction totaled 29,900 gallons of fuel, that means  SDOT discharged 310 fewer tons of carbon;  to put it another way – that’s the equivalent of the average emissions released by 470 passenger cars over a whole year!  The 2012 SDOT fuel bill was $30,400 less than in 2011 even though the average price of diesel rose from $3.49 to $3.91.

SDOT did better than any other city department; other departments reduced fuel usage on average by 1 percent in 2012 over 2011.  SDOT attributes this reduction to the department’s purchase of efficient diesel trucks and the continued efforts by employees to reduce idling their vehicles, lightening loads on trucks and planning routes ahead of time thus taking the shortest, most direct route , while also bundling several stops into one trip.

Nine percent of SDOT’s active vehicles have been replaced with new, more fuel-efficient vehicles in the past 2 years. Several of the vehicles that were replaced were large, heavy trucks that used excessive amounts of fuel.  Over the past few years,  manufacturers have installed technology that shuts off the engine if a truck idles for more than a certain amount of time, which, in turn,  saves the emissions system from getting “clogged up.”  It used to be common for our older trucks to spend over half of their engine time idling and burning fuel.

Our goal is to continue to reduce fuel usage by at least 0.5 percent of the 5 year average.  Why not join SDOT in the effort, by reducing your idling time, bundling trips, lightening your load and then you, too, can reap the benefit$ while helping save the environment!