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Fewer but more fuel efficient, the 38 low-maintenance vehicles should save the Housing Authority in Delaware’s largest city $25,000 a year on average.
While cities like Tacoma, Washington, and Santa Monica, California, purchase electric cars, Wilmington, Delaware, sees value in downsizing to a more varied fleet of fuel-efficient, low-maintenance vehicles.
The Wilmington Housing Authority operated a decade-old fleet of 44 vehicles, until it partnered with Clayton, Missouri-based Enterprise Fleet Management on a five-year plan to phase in 38 cargo vans, pickup trucks and mid-sized sedans.
Already, WHA’s maintenance and management teams have received nine vans in the deal’s first year, which projects an average annual savings of $25,000 in operating expenses.
“WHA is home to nearly ten percent of Wilmington’s population, so this is really an investment in our residents and the City of Wilmington,” Frederick Purnell, WHA executive director, said in a recent announcement. “With this fleet refresh, Enterprise will help us more reliably service the buildings we manage, while at the same time significantly reduce our fleet costs and carbon footprint—it’s a win-win for everyone.”
Enterprise will perform regular maintenance on the low-emissions vehicles through local businesses, as well as provide vehicle registration, use reporting and a fuel card program—monitoring fill-up costs and mileage automatically.
Some vehicles will be auctioned and resold as they age, potentially to Wilmington residents.
“Replacing more than three dozen vehicles in a short period can take a big toll on an organization’s financial resources,” Becci Miller, Enterprise’s Delaware area sales manager, in said in the announcement. “We can help manage those costs with a formal strategy that enables the WHA to acquire new vehicles sooner, so they can start to realize savings faster.”
While the savings might seem like a drop in the bucket to an agency overseeing operating, capital and voucher program budgets exceeding $30 million annually combined, every little bit counts to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-funded WHA when developing and managing affordable housing for more than 7,000 low-to-moderate income residents.
Dave Nyczepir is News Editor for Government Executive’s Route Fifty.