Pepco fleet switches to hybrids, alternative fuels

Energy utility Pepco Holdings Inc. (PHI) plans to transition its 2,000-vehicle fleet to electric hybrids and alternatively fueled vehicles to reduce its fuel bill and curb greenhouse gas emissions

Energy utility Pepco Holdings Inc. (PHI) plans to transition its 2,000-vehicle fleet to electric hybrids and alternatively fueled vehicles to reduce its fuel bill and curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Based in Washington, DC, PHI delivers electricity and natural gas to about 1.9-million customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia through its subsidiaries Pepco Energy Services, Connective Energy, Delmarva Power and Atlantic City Electric. It now has a mix of more than 80 alternative-fueled trucks, including a 42-ft hybrid electric bucket truck and several hybrid cars and SUVs.

Pepco said 30 additional hybrid cars and SUVs would join the fleet this year, with about half of them already ordered. PHI also plans to convert all of its truck fueling facilities in four Mid-Atlantic states to a B20 biodiesel blend, a fuel comprised of 20% soybean oil and 80% low-sulfur diesel.

Pepco said the fleet would be transformed over time as vehicles wear out, initially replacing the equipment with hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles, and later with even newer technology as it becomes available commercially.

The company plans to continue participating in several pilot programs to evaluate the potential for new vehicle technologies to reduce costs, make more efficient use of off-peak power to re-charge electric and hybrid vehicles, plus evaluate alternative fuels such as natural gas and E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.

Although the purchase price of hybrid vehicles is greater than that of conventional vehicles, PHI expects the investment in these vehicles to pay off in reduced fuel costs and lower carbon emissions.

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