Verizon to Rev Up Green Fleet with 1,600 New Vehicles

Verizon to Rev Up Green Fleet with 1,600 New Vehicles

Verizon plans to significantly boost its fleet of alternative fuel vehicles this year with the addition of more than 1,100 hybrid and compressed natural gas sedans, aerial and pick-up trucks.

At the same time, the company will increase the amount of biodiesel and ethanol it uses in 470 vehicles, all part of an expanding company strategy aimed at reducing Verizon's overall carbon footprint.

Expansion of its alternative fuel vehicle fleet is one of several initiatives unveiled by the telecommunications giant Monday, which also includes plans to boost sustainable packaging and smart grid deployment.

The move represents a significant investment in alternative fuel vehicles for the company, which doubled the number of hybrid sedans in its fleet to 200 during the 2008-9 reporting year. Verizon, which operates the country's second largest private vehicle fleet, has also been steadily working to cut the amount of fuel it consumes. An anti-idling effort, for example, allowed the company to lower fuel use by 1.7 million gallons in 2009.

In addition to the fleet initiatives, the company said it would test in select markets new energy-efficient set-top boxes for FiOS TV customers. Packaging for the boxes will include 75 percent recycled cardboard and shall be completely recyclable. The pilot program will be conducted in partnership with Motorola.

Verizon also plans to increase its work with utilities to bring smart grid technologies to market faster and more broadly. The company, which was among a large group of signatories to recently urge President Barack Obama to support universal residential smart meters, has launched a series of smart grid partnerships in the last few months and has even begun dabbling in smart grid security consulting.

Verizon generated 6.27 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2008, according to the company's 2008-2009 corporate responsibility report. This tops levels in 2006 and 2007 when emissions were 6.22 million metric tons and 6.05 million metric tons, respectively.

Other initiatives in place to address its carbon footprint include using energy monitoring systems and efficient lighting throughout its operations, which have helped trim energy use by 84 million kilowatt hours. Using virtual meetings and teleconferencing capabilities has also allowed Verizon workers to avoid roughly eight million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

AT&T announced last year it would add more than 15,000 alternative fuel vehicles over the next decade, largely compressed natural gas models.