A Directive to Consider Vehicle Emissions Prior to Acquiring a Vehicle
Westport has been a leader in electric vehicle acquisition, both in terms of its residents making it the number one Connecticut city in EVs on a per capita basis and the municipality acquiring electric vehicles for official use. As of this writing, the Westport Police Department has 6 plug-in vehicles and the Town has 2. (Subsequent to the directive being issued, the WPD acquired a second Tesla, a Model Y, for use as a patrol car.)
Sustainable Connecticut Certification
The impetus for this directive was the work being done that ultimately enabled Westport to be one of 12 cities earning a Silver Certification (highest level awarded) from Sustainable Connecticut. While this directive may not have the force of an ordinance, it was done expeditiously, and from what we know is being taken seriously.
Text of Directive
“The Town of Westport, with the Police Department at the lead, has changed its policy on acquiring vehicles. Prior to 2019 the Town rarely took into account vehicle emissions or efficiency (Miles Per Gallon, etc) prior to acquiring a vehicle. The upfront cost of the vehicle was priority, and total cost of ownership/use was not considered.
At this time the municipality requires all departments to follow the Municipal Fleet Improvement Strategy prior to choosing a vehicle. The Town owns or leases, in addition to the Tesla 3, two plug-in hybrid Toyota Priuses, two all-electric Chevrolet Bolts, one electric BMW I-3.
The Town of Westport and its departments recognize that Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles negatively influence air quality and emit particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The American Lung Association states:
- Fairfield County remains the most polluted County in the New York-Newark metro area, 21 days of unhealthful levels of ozone. It also has the highest ozone readings in the eastern US. https://www.lung.org/media/press-releases/connecticut-sota-2021
The Town and its departments, in an effort to decrease its contribution to such pollutants and to work toward the Town goal of Net Zero by 2050, follows this Municipal Vehicle Strategy:
With the replacement of every vehicle, or the addition of a vehicle to the municipal fleet, consideration will be given to the viability of an electric vehicle or hybrid vehicle over an Internal Combustion Engine vehicle.
The following will be considered when addressing viability:
Vehicle features (size, capability, performance, safety), vehicle emissions, equipment specifications, mileage efficiency, economic viability/cost (both upfront cost and total cost of ownership including fueling, maintenance, etc.), ancillary equipment needs (e.g. ambulance equipment, EV charger).
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Finance Department.”