79° San Marcos
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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

City implements first all-electric vehicles

Courtesy of city of San Marcos

San Marcos implemented its first all-electric vehicle fleet on March 25 as part of the city’s strategic plan for environmental protection.

City council approved three Ford F-150 Lightning Trucks and two Toyota bZ4X cars in a lease agreement with Enterprise Fleet Management, Inc. for a combined annual lease payment of $42,140, according to a press release from the city of San Marcos.

Two of the Fords will go to the Neighborhood Enhancements department for code enforcement, one Ford and one Toyota will go to the Public Works fleet and transit services while the other Toyota will go toward mail services, according to Public Works Director Sabas Avila.

“One of the city’s goals is protecting the environment and protecting the natural resources of our city,” Avila said. “We’re also doing it to maintain clean air and public health.”

Avila said city council approved the lease agreement in September 2023 and the vehicles arrived in late February. The Public Works department also completed the addition of three dual charging stations, approximately $9,000 each, for city staff use in February according to Avila.

While the costs for the vehicles and stations are higher upfront, Avila said the city anticipates saving money during the durability of the vehicle. He estimated the city is currently paying seven cents per mile for its gas-powered cars.

“We expect to see a reduction in fuel costs,” Avila said. “We anticipate with a dual charger we can accommodate from six to 12 vehicles without having an impact on operations.”

Robert Mace, executive director for The Meadows Center, said there is a relationship between gas emissions and its effect on springs and rivers in the area.

“Increased emissions put greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is causing a warming of the planet,” Mace said. “The idea is that leads to less water going into the aquifer that feeds San Marcos springs and the river.”

City council developed a strategic plan in January 2023 to reflect “shared community goals” in five areas: public safety, economic vitality, mobility and connectivity, quality of life and environmental protection.

The environmental protection initiative “advances responsible stewardship of the community’s natural, cultural and historical resources through varied environmentally friendly policies and practices,” according to the city’s website.

The acquisition of the electric fleets is Public Works’ first step toward the city’s initiatives for environmental protection. Avila said they intend to buy more electric and hybrid vehicles to replace the city’s gas-powered vehicles, but they need at least a year of data to assess such additions.

“Over the next year, we’re going to be testing [the electric vehicles] out in different municipal operations, assess how well they do and our hope is that we will be replacing more gas emission vehicles with electric vehicles,” Avila said.

Mace said the city of San Marcos did a lot of work to embrace the environment and protect the San Marcos River, but there is always room for improvement.

“The city should be involved in environmental protection, they can lead by example,” Mace said. “By having electric vehicles, they’re demonstrating to the population that they are committed to the cause.”

The Public Works charging stations are fenced in and made for city staff use only, but San Marcos has three electric car chargers: one on San Antonio Street, one at the public library and one at Embassy Suites.

For more information on the city’s strategic plan, visit its website.

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