Fuel-efficient, hybrid, electric, and alternative fuel vehicles can save fuel expenses and reduce emissions of harmful gases such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. When purchasing new vehicles for use in and around your sports facilities, consider purchasing the most fuel-efficient model that fits your department’s and institution’s needs.
Also consider purchasing smaller electric vehicles for use inside your larger sports facilities. Hybrid options are also available for many vehicle types. If your athletics department has an automotive sponsor, discuss potential promotions and advertisements at your sports facilities that feature your sponsor’s hybrid, fuel-efficient, and alternative fuel vehicles.
You may also wish to consider alternative-fuel vehicles such as those that run on biodiesel or E85, a flexfuel blend of up to 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. However, when considering an environmentally preferable vehicle, efficiency should always be the top priority. When considering flexfuel vehicle, be sure that biodiesel or flexfuel blends are available in your area.
Identify and contact any staff on your campus who might help identify the most environmentally preferable vehicles for your sports facilities, while building off any existing campus-wide environmentally preferable transportation programs. The departments with knowledgeable staff may include the Transportation, Facilities, Grounds Keeping, and the Sustainability Office, among others.
Visit NRDC: Grasping Green Car Technology, the EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide, and Fueleconomy.gov for more information on environmentally preferable vehicles, and visit the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Hybrid Center for a list of state and federal hybrid incentives.
To locate fueling stations for alternative vehicles, visit the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center.
FUEL EFFICIENCY SAVES MONEY
Higher fuel efficiency means that you use less gas for every mile your vehicle travels. This leads directly to financial savings. A car with a fuel economy of 20 mpg, driven for 10,000 miles, costs over $600 more per year to drive than a similar car with a fuel economy of 40 mpg.
When purchasing new vehicles for use in and around your sports facilities, buy the best fuel economy car in the class you are seeking, which in some cases might be a hybrid. In addition, smaller electric cars and carts may be an energy-efficient option for short-distance transportation needs, such as in and around your football stadium.
When buying or renting diesel trucks, buses, and equipment, specify that ultra-low fuel will be used, and that the vehicle or equipment will be equipped with the best soot-cutting filters available for the engine. Filters are now available for most post-1994 engines that can eliminate more than 90 percent of the soot pollution, when combined with ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.
*HELPS EARN AASHE STARS POINTS*
Promoting environmentally preferable transportation options throughout athletics and recreation can help your institution earn up to 7 points within the “Transportation” subcategory of AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Work with sustainability and facilities staff on your campus to support any institutional efforts to attain or improve your institution’s STARS rating. Use the STARS 2.0 Technical Manual to learn more.
The transportation sector is one of the largest causes of global warming and smog, and causes the release of other harmful compounds into the air that can have serious health effects, especially on the respiratory system. Buying fuel-efficient and alternative vehicles reduces the amount of gasoline used, which in turn reduces all of these negative impacts.
Done right, biofuels could lead to reductions in global warming pollution and at the same time save consumers money at the pump, while spurring new jobs and industries. On the other hand, it’s also possible to make biofuels in a way that increases global warming pollution and increases the price of basic agricultural products.
Unfortunately, there are no labels for biofuels to inform customers about the origination or environmental impacts of any particular gallon of biofuels. Until that information becomes available, if you have a vehicle that can run on either E85 or gasoline, choose E85 when you can. However, when it’s time to buy a new vehicle, don’t sacrifice fuel efficiency for a vehicle that can run on E85.
PROFESSIONAL SPORTS EXAMPLES
The National Basketball Association’s annual All-Star Game uses hybrid cars for staff transportation during the event wherever possible. To learn more, read the full case study in the NRDC Game Changer report.
Major League Baseballuses hybrid buses whenever possible to shuttle fans to around for their annual All-Star Game events. To learn more, read the full case study in the NRDC Game Changer report.
NRDC: Grasping Green Car Technology
AASHE: Resources on Sustainable Campus Transportation
The University of Vermont: Certification for Sustainability Transportation
EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide