Minneapolis’ vehicle fleet goes greener

The City of Minneapolis has approved a "green fleet" policy to help the City maintain its commitment to sustainability while reducing the short-term and long-term costs of City vehicles. Cars and trucks are the largest contributor of air pollution within Minneapolis and are a significant source of greenhouse gases. Air pollution is linked to increased rates of cancer, heart and lung disease, asthma and allergies. Carbon dioxide pollution, a greenhouse gas, causes climate change.

This policy continues work the City has already begun in greening its fleet and provides clearer direction and standardized practices for all City departments. Already, these practices have:

  • Reduced fuel consumption in City vehicles and equipment by 6 percent from 2008 to 2010.
  • Reduced the City's fleet by 75 vehicles since 2008.
  • Purchased 324 alternative or hybrid vehicles since 2008.
  • Retrofitted 57 large vehicles (including plows and fire trucks) to reduce air emissions, paid for by a federal grant.
  • Switched many departments to HOURCAR – the nonprofit car-sharing organization – for travel on City business.
  • Tested new technologies such as electric vehicles and Segways ahead of the market.

As the City improves its fleet and practices, Minneapolis residents and businesses can do the same. For instance, Minneapolis has an ordinance prohibiting most vehicle idling for more than three minutes. Pollution can hang in the air on still winter days, so residents and commuters should remember to turn off their vehicle engines while they’re not on the move. In general, 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the car. Idling burns into a family’s gas budget without getting them anywhere and causes air pollution, which is linked to increased rates of cancer, heart and lung disease, asthma and allergies. Exhaust from an idling car carries a higher load of pollutants than a moving car. Call 311 to report idling.

The City's annual Greenprint report sets sustainability targets and tracks progress – and obstacles – around them. Besides air quality and greenhouse gases, Greenprint sets measures for renewable energy, transportation alternatives, clean water and the City's tree canopy.

Published Mar. 7, 2011