University Safety & Risk Management goes green

By Josh Thayn

Designed to cut emissions and boost fuel efficiency, seven new vehicles powered by technology combining an electric battery and a combustion engine are replacing outdated fleet vehicles used by UT’s Department of University Safety & Risk Management. Specifically, the department is acquiring a Ram 1500 e-torque truck and six Toyota Rav4 hybrids.

If we can be as safe, be more efficient, save money and be better sustainable stewards, it’s a win all around. We anticipate the new fleet vehicles will save thousands of dollars over their expected lifespan, while making a small but real contribution to a greener, healthier environment.

UT Center for Climate Resilience and Sustainability’s Rico Del Sesto, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Marzieh Ghasemi, assistant professor of environmental engineering, estimate that trading in gasoline engine vehicles for hybrids will reduce gas costs by about $1,500 per year for every new hybrid vehicle, totaling close to $10,000 per year when all vehicles are replaced. Additionally, every gasoline vehicle replaced with a hybrid model will decrease carbon dioxide emissions by over 3 tons per vehicle per year adding up to a reduction of 19 tons per year when all vehicles are replaced. This reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is the result of better gas mileage and hybrid vehicles not idling with the engine running like gasoline engines.

University Police Chief and Public Safety Director Ron Bridge is excited about the plans to move toward a new fleet of patrol vehicles which will eliminate idling and reduce emissions and fuel costs. “We have received and in-serviced our first two Toyota RAV4 Hybrids with more to come,” Bridge said.

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