Ann Arbor, Michigan – Switching corporate fleets to compressed natural gas (CNG) or hybrid vehicles can spur major decreases in emissions and fuel consumption in a relatively short time frame, according to a new report by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR).

The nonprofit research organization used a vehicle replacement program by AT&T as a case study, and examined the impact of buying or converting 15,000 vehicles to cleaner technology over a ten-year period. A switch to CNG or hybrid vans or trucks could reduce gasoline consumption by more than 49 million gallons during the next ten years, and trim CO2 emissions by a total of 211,000 metric tons. The study said that the savings would be the equivalent of removing more than 38,000 vehicles from the road for a year. The program would also help support an average of 1,000 vehicle manufacturing-related jobs each year from 2009 to 2013.

“This example of corporate leadership, if followed by a significant portion of other public and private fleets, could have a huge impact on the release of greenhouse gases and significantly reduce the dependence on foreign oil,” said Kim Hill, director of the Sustainable Transportation and Communities group at CAR. “For example, the emissions equal to 600,000 vehicles and the consumption of 15 million barrels of oil could be eliminated if 25 per cent of the fleets had similar programs. If the country is serious about increasing the number of fuel-efficient vehicles on the road in the near future, the fleets of America, with their rapid turnover of vehicles, represent the best opportunity in the shortest time frame.”

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