Alt Fuels

Alternative fuels reduce tailpipe emissions and maintenance and operation costs for the county’s fleet.

The Office of Sustainability coordinates with county departments to reduce the county’s impact on air quality. This includes transitioning the county’s fleet and heavy equipment to alternative fuels, which reduces air pollution.

Currently, the county's alternative fuels fleet includes 13 electric vehicles, 16 hybrid vehicles, 6 running on compressed natural gas; 64 using E-85 flex fuel, 2 propane-gasoline dual fuel vehicles, and several cleaner diesel trucks. All of these fuel types reduce air pollution and overall tail pipe emissions.

A larger portion of county vehicles are heavy duty, used for winter impacts, paving, and general construction. While there are a few electric options for vehicles of this size, they would require a significant amount of electric infrastructure for charging. For now, the county has been focusing on our light duty fleet including sedans, SUVs and trucks. As demand increases, and technology advances, more electric or alternative fleet options will be available for all vehicle types.

The County’s electric fleet has grown to 13 vehicles, replacing older and inefficient gasoline models. This includes the new 4 electric trucks in 2022, 4 employee pool vehicles and the electric mustang purchased by the Sheriff’s Office in 2021, as well as our original 4 electric pool vehicles purchased in 2020.

In 2021, the county replaced four dump trucks used for construction projects and snow removal with Tier 4 diesel trucks. That type of truck reduces particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 86% as well as overall carbon emissions compared to the previous models. The purchases enabled the county to reduce CO2 emissions by almost 63 metric tons, which is equivalent to removing 13 cars from the roadways or powering 11 homes for a year.

The Allegheny County Parks Department purchased two dual-fuel garbage trucks in 2021, which are primarily fueled by propane with gasoline backup. Those smaller trucks collect trash throughout the county’s parks. Propane fuel produces fewer carbon emissions and emits 96% less air pollution than diesel and 68% less gasoline. Dual-fuel vehicles can use gasoline to start in the winter, then switch to propane for regular routes.

We continue to install charging stations for fleet vehicles throughout county facilities for ease of use and access for county employees. Currently, we have five charging stations for electric vehicles, with plans for additional stations in 2023.