AUSTIN, TEXAS – The City of Austin has earned a $5 million grant to purchase alternative-fuel and/or hybrid vehicles for its fleet from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. This grant comes on the heels of Austin’s Fleet Services Division Centers 1,5, and 6 achieving the Blue Seal of Excellence designation by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), a national award highlighting the excellence of their work.

A press release from the City of Austin stated that out of more than one million dealerships, independent repair shops, and fleet garages in both public and private sectors, only 1,464 have achieved this level of recognition. Only 86 facilities in Texas have achieved this honor. Of those, 16 are public sector municipal facilities, and three are from the City of Austin.

With regard to grant money earned, Austin’s fleet has received more than $6 million in grant money for alternative fuel/hybrid vehicles and fueling infrastructure. As part of the City of Austin’s Climate Protection Plan, the goal is to make all City vehicles carbon-neutral by 2020.

The Austin Business Journal reported that the vehicles the city plans to purchase with the $5 million grant (which will cover part of the $3.2 million in costs) includes five CNG sweepers for Solid Waste Services, Public Works, and Aviation, two diesel hybrid bucket trucks for Austin Energy, two electric trucks for the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, and 18 natural gas refuse trucks for the City’s Solid Waste Services.

A press release from the city stated that Fleet Services is a division of Financial and Administrative Services, has approximately 200 employees who process more than 45,000 City vehicle maintenance orders each year. The office maintains six service centers with 40 fuel sites including one compressed natural gas, six propane and four ethanol stations. Most of the diesel sites carry bio-diesel fuel. The sites dispense approximately five millions gallons a year with 58 percent of the vehicles being alternative fuel/hybrid-capable.