- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to cut the city’s fleet by 1,000 vehicles over the next two years for a 4% cut. The city will also eliminate at least 500 take-home vehicles.
- The move is part of de Blasio’s effort to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by replacing SUVs from the fleet with electric vehicles and taking more cars off the road overall. According to city estimates, the cuts will mean 10 million fewer miles driven per year, and a 500,000 gallon reduction in the city’s annual fuel consumption.
- The decision follows a report in the New York Post that found the city’s vehicle fleet had grown by 31,159 vehicles, or 21%, over de Blasio’s tenure in office.
Despite criticism that de Blasio relies too much on a gas-guzzling SUV, New York City has put plenty of work into cleaning up its vehicle fleet. The city has 1,750 electric vehicles, the most in the country, and last fall released a report saying that the light-duty vehicles in the fleet had achieved an average fuel economy of 100 miles per gallon. The latest order will also instruct the city to replace at least 250 SUVs with electric sedans.
To offset the potential impact of reducing vehicles, de Blasio is asking the city’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services to increase the fleet’s daily use rate from 67% to 80%, keeping fewer cars idle during working hours.
"Sustainability isn’t about maintaining the status quo, it’s about changing the way we live and get around," said de Blasio in a statement. "Eliminating unnecessary vehicles from our streets and replacing gas-guzzling SUVs with electric cars will bring us one step closer to our carbon emission reduction goals, which means a cleaner New York City for all."
Transportation remains one of the biggest barriers to cities meeting their climate goals, and there’s little control that city governments can exert over what kind of cars residents purchase and drive. That makes municipal fleets a major climate target; cities like Chicago and Kansas City, MO have made electric municipal vehicles a key part of their climate plans, and some cities have even explored electric police cars as a sustainability move.