WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio climbed into a bucket truck to try out a new hybrid vehicle. It was one of the many Florida Power and Light brought to the city for a test drive. FPL operates one of the largest green fleets in the country and the city is looking at going down that same road.
“The mayor has committed to lowering our carbon footprint and greenhouse gasses,” explained city fleet manager Mario Guzman. “So this gives us an opportunity to see the hybrid vehicles that are out there, test drive them and see how they would fit our application.”
Mayor Muoio set a goal to take the city's municipal fleet off fossil fuels by 2025; and there’s a special force driving her decision.
“You know I have three grandchildren, so they're the reason I want to make sure we have a safe clean earth to live on,” Mayor Muoio explained.
In 2015 alone, FPL says its fleet saved 684,000 gallons of petroleum fuel and prevented more than 6,600 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Right now the city would need to plant thousands of trees each year to offset the carbon emissions of just one of their current SUV's. That’s something the city wants to change.
“We currently have midsize sedans that are not hybrid, they’re regular gas vehicles,” Guzman said. “We have a lot of SUV's so part of this is to see how can we get rid of some of these SUV's and plug in some of these more fuel efficient vehicles.”
It's a change that could not only help the environment, but could save tax payers thousands in the long run.