The Government Fleets Driving Electrification in the United States: The 2021 100 Best Fleets in the Americas
Last month, The 100 Best Fleets announced the 2021 winners of the 25th Annual 100 Best Fleets in the Americas. Recently, the NAFA Fleet Management Association (NAFA) acquired The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas program to expand their awards and recognition program. The 100 Best Fleets awards program was originally founded by Tom C. Johnson to recognize the best operations in the government fleet sector.
This year’s top 10 Best Fleets in the Americas actually recognizes 13 total fleets, with ties in fifth, ninth and tenth place. The City of Tulsa, OK was awarded the number one fleet followed by the County of Sacramento, CA in second and the County of San Luis Obispo, CA in third.
Representatives from the top fleets were also featured in “Best Practices of the Top Fleets of the 100 Best Fleets 2021” webinar as part of the Sustainable Fleet Technology Webinar Series (SFTWS) to share the best practices and operations that made them the top fleets. SFTWS is offered through a collaborative partnership between the NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC), The 100 Best Fleets and NAFA.
Leveraging the knowledge of top performing fleets to inform others is an essential part of The 100 Best Fleets and NAFA’s mission. According to their website, NAFA propels the fleet and mobility profession through its world-class certification, education, advocacy and peer networking programs.
Patrick O’Connor, NAFA’s U.S. Legislative Counsel, presented on policies and mandates for fleet electrification in the United States. Even with electrification gaining popularity and government support, there is still a long way to go to reach 100 percent electric vehicles in the federal fleet, according to O’Connor. “The federal fleet right now has 645,000 vehicles; only 3,200 of those are electric,” O’Connor noted.
Sustainability was a theme O’Connor saw throughout The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas top fleets, and he outlined NAFA’s dedication to supporting such a diverse portfolio of fleet operations throughout the transition to zero-emission fleets. By sharing and studying experiences from fleets that are already implementing existing alternative-fuel, hybrid and electric vehicles, their findings can benefit government and private fleets across the United States.
Brian Franklin, the Administrative Manager in the Equipment Management Division for the City of Tulsa, accepted the award on behalf of his fleet and described how their annual participation in The 100 Best Fleets has enhanced their operations each year. “The first time we applied for this award was about ten years ago,” Franklin said. That first year, the City of Tulsa ranked below the top 50, but Franklin used it as an opportunity to grow and learn from best practices from other top fleets.
“We view this as an opportunity to annually audit our fleet operations and to get better,” Franklin explained. “We borrowed from past winners and we want to be available as well to pass on our knowledge to anyone that needs assistance.”
Keith Leech, who previously helped the City of Sacramento earn the number one spot in The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas, has now driven the County of Sacramento, CA to number two as Chief of the Fleet Division & Parking Enterprise. Leech described his team’s “recipe for success”, which has been six years in the making.
Their approach began with creating a strategic plan, including setting organizational goals for continuous improvement and using The 100 Best Fleets awards’ categories as guidelines which they review and update annually. The County of Sacramento’s efforts have also awarded them top spots in other categories, too. “An ongoing commitment to demonstrating leadership in fleet sustainability and resource stewardship resulted in our recognition as number one Green Fleet in 2018,” Leech said.
In anticipation of fleet electrification, Sacramento has shifted its priorities to plan for a zero-emissions future. They updated their fleet sustainability to work in partnership with Sacramento’s electric utility to establish the charging infrastructure needed for this transition.
THE TOP 10 BEST FLEETS IN THE AMERICAS:
- City of Tulsa, OK
- County of Sacramento, CA
- County of San Luis Obispo, CA
- Miami-Dade County, FL
- City of Santa Barbara, CA (tie)
- US Air Force 441 VCOS, VA (tie)
- City & County of Denver, CO
- Palm Beach County, FL Sheriff’s Office
- Manatee County, FL
- Dekalb County, GA (tie)
- San Joaquin County, CA (tie)
- City of Fort Collins, CO (tie)
- City of Richmond, VA (tie)
If you’re interested in learning more about The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas or want to apply for the 2022 program, please visit NAFA’s website.