Massachusetts launches program to encourage green municipal fleets

Many fleets look to vehicle routing software to help them limit expenses and fuel use, and a new program launched by the Massachusetts government is intended to further help operations cut back on gas and limit emissions.

The Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program will provide some funding relief for municipalities trying to enhance the sustainability of their fleets and limit fuel use. The incentive will set aside $2.5 million for local governments across the state to invest in more hybrid and electric vehicles, should they need to replace older cars. The state already has about 900 hybrid or all-electric cars in use, and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) anticipates these funds will help municipalities purchase between 300 and 400 new environmentally friendly cars. 

The cost benefits of this program could be enormous, especially for municipal fleets that are looking to slash spending in light of budget cuts and lower revenues. Hybrids offer fleets an advantage in terms of fuel savings, particularly if they are used in conjunction with route planning software. Businesses can limit miles driven by finding the best possible routes, cutting fuel consumption and reducing time spent planning schedules.

"This incentive program is intended to encourage and increase the deployment of zero-emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles that will provide significant air pollution emission reductions," said Kenneth Kimmell, MassDEP commissioner. "Over the lifetime of an electric vehicle, the owner can reduce fuel consumption by more than 6,000 gallons of gasoline, reduce fuel costs by thousands of dollars and cut our reliance on foreign oil."

Municipalities looking to take part in the program must submit their applications by the end of June, but with this date fast approaching, those that don't make the deadline can still reduce operating costs and gas use with the right planning and routing software.