Telecommunications giant AT&T has announced that it plans to invest up to $565 million over the next 10 years to give its corporate vehicle fleet a decidedly more eco-friendly personality. The master plan calls for AT&T to spend about $350 million on 8,000 vehicles that operate on clean compressed natural gas (CNG) with an additional $215 million devoted to replacing its existing gasoline-powered fleet with a range of alternative-fuel models. This new commitment to CNG power is the largest to date of any U.S. firm and will bring the total number of alternative-fuel cars and trucks under AT&T's corporate umbrella to 15,000 by 2019.
According to estimates from The Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, reaching that benchmark will generate a savings of some 49 million gallons of gasoline and cut carbon emissions by about 211,000 metric tons over the 10-year deployment period. CAR says that's the equivalent of removing more than 38,600 traditional passenger vehicles from the road for an entire year. AT&T will add 800 CNG and hybrid-electric vehicles to its fleet in 2009. Throughout the remainder of the decade, the firm expects to replace over 7,100 passenger cars with vehicles that it anticipates will deliver up to 39 percent better fuel economy and create 29 percent less CO2 emissions.
AT&T is no stranger to the green scene. In 2007, it added four Ford Escape Hybrids into its California fleet and followed up by putting 105 alternative-fuel vehicles into service in over 30 major cities in 2008. As part of this new program, the company also said it will work the natural gas providers to help build up to 40 new CNG filling stations that can serve as the basic infrastructure for its expanded clean fleet.