WASHINGTON -- U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that six new corporate partners have joined the National Clean Fleets Partnership. The new partners -- Coca-Cola, Enterprise Holdings, General Electric, OSRAM SYLVANIA, Ryder and Staples -- operate a total of nearly a million commercial vehicles nationwide. 

The National Clean Fleets Partnership, announced by President Obama in April, is a public-private partnership that helps large companies reduce diesel and gasoline use in their fleets by incorporating electric vehicles, alternative fuels, and fuel-saving measures into their daily operations.  

"The National Clean Fleets Partnership is an important part of the Department's strategy to help U.S. companies reduce their fuel use and save money," said Chu. "This initiative will support the nation's largest commercial fleets as they move to adopt fuel-efficient vehicles that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and improve our energy security."

The National Clean Fleets Partnership aims to accelerate the adoption of clean, advanced, energy-efficient vehicles and the infrastructure to support their widespread use in communities nationwide. Under the partnership, each company will work with DOE to develop a comprehensive strategy to reduce petroleum and diesel use in their fleets.  DOE will also help connect partners with clean fuel providers and equipment manufacturers where their fleets operate. 

These new partners have already begun taking action to develop and implement fuel-efficiency projects in their fleets.

Coca-Cola, which has the largest hybrid delivery fleet in North America, has deployed hybrid delivery trucks and trained drivers in eco-driving techniques. The company also expects to deploy additional hydraulic hybrid vehicles this year.

Enterprise Holdings -- which includes Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent A Car, National Car Rental and WeCar -- currently offers Chevrolet Volts and Nissan Leafs to consumers for rentals and expects to further expand its fleet.

General Electric has committed to convert half of the company’s global vehicle fleet and will partner with fleet customers to deploy a total of 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015.

Ryder recently celebrated the opening of its first natural gas vehicle maintenance facility, which will deploy hundreds of heavy-duty liquefied natural gas (LNG) trucks. This project also calls for two LNG fueling stations and two additional maintenance facilities. The endeavor is expected to save 1.5 million gallons of diesel fuel per year. 

Staples has increased the fuel economy of its fleet by more than 20 percent since 2007 through fuel-saving steps such as automatically limiting truck idling to no more than three minutes and limiting the top speed of its vehicles to 60 miles an hour. The company is also testing all-electric delivery trucks in Ohio and California.

OSRAM SYLVANIA aims to replace 10-12 percent of its fleet annually with more energy-efficient vehicles. This year, the company will replace more than one-fifth of its utility trucks with more efficient ones that reduce the need for idling.

Through the National Clean Fleets Partnership, DOE provides the partners with specialized resources, technical expertise and support. The goal is to help companies' efforts to achieve greater fleet efficiency and cost-savings. Members benefit specifically through opportunities for peer-to-peer information exchange, collaboration with DOE and national laboratories surrounding research and development initiatives, and assistance in pursuing group purchasing.

Smaller companies can work with their larger peers to get the benefits of purchasing advanced vehicles in bulk. DOE also offers technical tools to help partner companies navigate the world of alternative fuels and advanced vehicles. 

In addition to the newest members, the partnership includes charter members AT&T, FedEx, PepsiCo/Frito-Lay, UPS, and Verizon. The partnership is part of the DOE Vehicle Technology Program's Clean Cities initiative.