CALDWELL, ID - Canyon County is stepping up its "green" efforts with strategies to boost fuel efficiency and cut back on emissions, according to Mark Tolman, fleet manager for Canyon County, Idaho.

In addition to two new hybrids already in operation, Tolman said the fleet is currently upfitting 13 new patrol cars capable of running on E-85.

Although county commissioners recently held a press conference voicing opposition to emissions testing, Tolman clarified he is "not adverse to emissions testing. We at the County simply feel it may not be the best long-term solution to actively reduce emissions and the negative results to our environment."

Tolman explained older vehicles in fleet were used as an example of the problem of emissions and portrayed as representative of the situation in the entire county - which is not the case, he said.

"We have seen and been very aware of the [emissions] problem, and have addressed it in a different manner. By using current technologies and analyzing data from our fleet management software, we are addressing the entire environment of our county fleet so it can be a model of what we feel might be the long-term solution."  

With an idol reduction technology pilot underway, Canyon County developed a strategy of implementing the effective use of existing resources, and new technologies that conformed to proven solutions already initiated by other fleets across the country. 

"By initiating projects that have resulted in immediate cost savings, reduced emissions, independence of foreign fuels, and conserved energy usage in our own environment, we are successfully moving forward to a long-term solution," said Tolman. "We are systematically reducing our older vehicle issues by implementing hybrid fuel technologies, and will soon be a green fleet county wide in the foreseeable future."

Canyon County's fleet has installed two 12,000-gallon fuel tanks and a blending dispenser, enabling the county to store necessary emergency fuel and take advantage of the lower priced and cleaner burning ethanol blends of alternative fuel. Tolman expects the ethanol project to eliminate the county's CO2 footprint by 1,444,000 lbs. (653 metric tons) annually.

The fleet department has also implemented the use of nitrogen in the fleet's tires to help with mileage, increased safety, and extend the life of the tires and pressure sensors.