Req. Mgr. adopt fuel-efficient city fleet purchasing policy in accordance w/Mass Green Communities Act.

February 9, 2010

As of June 28, 2010, two vehicles have been purchased under the following adopted plan:

City of Lowell


Effective Date
Approval Date
Effective Date


Combined city and highway MPG (EPA Combined fuel economy): Combined Fuel Economy means the fuel economy from driving a combination of 43% city and 57% highway miles and is calculated as follows:

=1/((0.43/City MPG)+(0.57/Ihighway MPG))[1]

Drive System: The manner in which mechanical power is directly transmitted from the drive shaft to the wheels. The following codes are used in the drive field:

  • AWD = All Wheel Drive: four-wheel drive automatically controlled by the vehicle powertrain system
  • 4WD = 4-Wheel Drive: driver selectable four-wheel drive with 2-wheel drive option
  • 2WD = 2-Wheel Drive

Heavy-duty truck: A vehicle with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 8,500 pounds.


The City of Lowell, through a variety of initiatives, projects and practices, is committed to environmental and economic sustainability. The City strives to manage and conserve natural resources through the adoption and use of best practices in energy use and conservation. In an effort to reduce the Lowell’s fuel consumption, vehicle emissions and energy costs and to improve fleet efficiency over the next ten years, the Lowell City Council hereby adopts a policy to purchase only fuel efficient vehicles to meet this goal.


To establish a requirement that the City of Lowell purchase only fuel efficient vehicles for municipal/school use whenever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable.


This policy applies to all divisions and departments of the City of Lowell with exemptions as noted.


  • All departments / divisions shall purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles for municipal use whenever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable. Improving fuel efficiency will, at all times, be considered in replacing vehicles.
  • The City of Lowell will maintain an annual vehicle inventory for all vehicles and a plan for replacing the vehicles subject to this policy with vehicles that meet the fuel efficiency ratings below. This plan will be incorporated into the City’s comprehensive capital plan.
  • Based on the most recently published US Environmental Protection Agency data on fuel efficient vehicles, vehicles are to have a combined city and highway MPG no less than the following:
    • 2 wheel drive car: 29 MPG
    • 4 wheel drive car: 24 MPG
    • 2 wheel drive small pick-up truck: 20 MPG
    • 4 wheel drive small pick-up truck: 18 MPG
    • 2 wheel drive standard pick-up truck: 17 MPG
    • 4 wheel drive standard pick-up truck: 16 MPG

*NOTE: The EPA maintains a database on vehicle fuel efficiency that is updated occasionally throughout the year, as new models are released. As increasing numbers of fuel efficient vehicle models are released, the minimum combined MPG requirements of the Green Communities Program may be revised. This policy may be updated from time to time to reflect any changes to the MPG requirements. The latest fuel efficiency MPG ratings are available through Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Green Communities Program.


  • Vehicles shall not be left idling in excess of one (1) minute for diesel fueled vehicles and thirty (30) seconds for gasoline fueled vehicles unless necessary for:
    • Auxiliary power needs such as electrical or pressure generation
    • Hoist or winch use
    • Lift operation
    • Defogging or defrosting/de-icing windows.
    • Protection of public safety, prevention of harm to vehicle contents, to maintain the health of occupants while performing their duties.


  • Heavy-duty vehicles such as fire-trucks, ambulances, and public works trucks are exempt from this criterion.
  • Police cruisers are currently exempt from this criterion. However, the City of Lowell commits to purchasing fuel efficient cruisers when they become commercially available.
  • Purchases of police and fire department administrative vehicles that also double as emergency vehicles shall improve upon current fuel efficiencies.
  • Requests for exemptions to this policy shall be submitted in writing to City Manager.


The following information shall be included in a vehicle inventory list and said list shall be updated on an annual basis:

Model Make Model Year Year Purchased Drive System Weight Class MPG Annual Miles Driven Total Fuel Consumption Vehicle Function

NOTE:  Departments/Divisions may use EPA combined MPG estimates or actual combined MPG.


The City of Lowell shall develop a plan to replace all non-exempt vehicles with fuel efficient vehicles as defined above. Said plan shall outline the process by which the City of Lowell will replace vehicles, set goals for when the existing fleet will be replaced and review said plan on an annual basis. Said plan shall be integrated into the City of Lowell’s existing comprehensive capital plan.


All other inquiries should be directed to the Purchasing Department. This policy is enforced by the City Manager and/or their designee(s).


United States Environmental Protection Agency, Green Vehicle Guide


Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, Green Communities Program


Bernard F. Lynch

City Manager

City of Lowell Local Government Energy Use and Equiv. CO2 Production for FY 2008 – Vehicles
Gasoline Diesel Total Summary
Department Energy (gallons) Cost Energy (gallons) Cost Energy (MMBtu) Equiv. CO2 Production (tons)
Council on Aging 548 $1,255 1,292 $2,969 247 20
Department of Public Works1,2 32,910 $76,464 50,485 $115,779 11,089 892
Fire Department2 19,296 $44,381 2,676 216
Parks, Recreation and Cemeteries1,2 25,766 $60,464 25,089 $57,644 6,680 536
Police Department 90,986 $255,563 11,303 902
School Department 301 $566 6,697 $15,513 966 78
Water Utility1,2 4,479 $10,302 2,491 $5,729 902 72
Wastewater Utility1,2 18,655 $43,129 9,601 $22,126 3,649 293
TOTAL 173,645 $447,743 114,951 $264,141 37,512 3,009
1Sum of values provided by Department of Public Works and Water Department
2Used an average $2.3 per gallon of gasoline or diesel based on figures provided by DPW.
Council on Aging
Department of Public Works
Fire Department
Parks, Rec. & Cemeteries
Police Department
School Department
Water Utility
Wastewater Utility

[1] The EPA changed their calculation of MPG in 2007 to better reflect actual driving conditions, this included a shift to more highway and less city driving.

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