By Michele L. Davis, Fleet Manager, WGL, Springfield, VA
When I became the Fleet Manager of Washington Gas Light (WGL) in 2015, it was the first time I had managed a fleet that included natural gas vehicles (NGV’s). Therefore, I felt that the NAFA Sustainable Certification was a great way to expand my knowledge of sustainability involving alternative fuel vehicles. WGL has a corporate sustainability goal, which I felt I could significantly contribute to with my expanding knowledge through the NAFA program.
Going through the program provided a path to success in building a more sustainable fleet. Finding a reliable compressed natural gas (CNG) conversion company is typically challenging. However, I learned about the necessary parameters while seeking partners, and we’ve been able to find a well-established company that has provided us with a bi-fuel option for the largest segment of our fleet (cargo vans).
Also, as a result of my certificate plus additional years in my current position, we have been able to streamline our federally required, annual EPAct* reporting process. We have also increased the percentage of NGVs in the fleet to nearly 30%, nearly double what it was when I joined the company five years ago.
Sustainable practices have helped WGL achieve cost-savings and cost benefits, through the increase of our NGV fleet to nearly 30%, displaced approximately 350,000 gallons of liquid fuel in 2019 versus approximately 175,000 gallons of liquid fuel displaced in 2015.
If anyone ever asks me about running a sustainable fleet or taking on sustainability education, I would encourage everyone to earn their sustainable certificate from NAFA. The subject matter is interesting and can be useful whether you are managing and/or expanding a CNG fleet or other alternatively fueled fleet of vehicles.
*The Energy Policy Act (EPA) addresses energy production in the United States, including: (1) energy efficiency; (2) renewable energy; (3) oil and gas; (4) coal; (5) Tribal energy; (6) nuclear matters and security; (7) vehicles and motor fuels, including ethanol; (8) hydrogen; (9) electricity; (10) energy tax incentives; (11) hydropower and geothermal energy; and (12) climate change technology. For example, the Act provides loan guarantees for entities that develop or use innovative technologies that avoid the by-production of greenhouse gases. Another provision of the Act increases the amount of biofuel that must be mixed with gasoline sold in the United States.
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