When Chris Christian, director of transportation and parking, and Glenn Strause, director of printing and mailing services, decided it was time to replace Lehigh’s mail truck, they looked at it as an opportunity to endorse one of Lehigh’s major initiatives—a greener Lehigh.
The new mail truck, which has been operating since February, is a 2008 Dodge Sprinter with a six-cylinder, ultra-low sulfur diesel engine. It replaced the previous mail truck, which had an 8-cylinder gas engine.
To date, the new mail truck has shown a calculated 25% increase on fuel economy. “It’s still early,” Christian says. “It’s a new engine, and we’re taking the initial numbers in winter. By summer, the increase should be even more significant.” Cradle to grave, Christian says the 2007 diesel engine is cleaner burning and less polluting than a 2006 engine running on biofuel, so the positive net impact on the environment is greater without significantly increasing costs.
Christian says Transportation and Parking Services is constantly striving to buy better, more efficient vehicles when they replace older ones. A second vehicle with the six-cylinder, ultra-low sulfur diesel engine will be placed into service this spring.
“Students ask me all the time about getting vehicles that are better for the environment,” says Christian. “This is a great step forward, and we’re following suit with a lot of other universities. Within the next few years, as scientific studies increase and smarter ways of producing alternative fuels are discovered, we’ll be able to implement more and more of these fuel efficient vehicles at Lehigh.”