City of Charlotte Sustainable Vehicle Policies


Winner of the 2019 Region of Excellence Clean Cities Awards

As Earth Day approaches, Centralina is thinking about how we can help promote sustainability in our region. We sat down with Sarah Hazel, City of Charlotte’s Chief Sustainability and Resiliency Officer, to discuss the benefits of setting and accomplishing sustainability goals.

The City introduced two new fleet policies in 2019 to support their unanimously passed Strategic Energy Action Plan (SEAP) and “Sustainable and Resilient Charlotte by 2050” Resolution. These policies strive toward their sixth action area, “100% Zero Carbon City Fleet by 2030.” The City’s Fleet Team worked with the Electrification Coalition to pull pieces of policies from different peer cities and came up with the following:


  • The Sustainable and Resilient Fleet Policy instructs the city to engage in vehicle purchase and operating behaviors consistent with the SEAP by directing departments to purchase the lowest-emitting vehicles depending on vehicle class, usage and available technology.
  • The Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) Policy requires AVL device installation on most city-owned vehicles. This technology enables the city to collect data on vehicle patterns and identify opportunities to reduce carbon usage through:
    • Determining electric vehicle suitability,
    • Fleet right-sizing and
    • Idle reduction.

Besides environmental benefits, the sustainability plan also showed financial advantages. Sarah Hazel, the City’s Chief Sustainability and Resiliency Officer, and her team put together a total cost of ownership model that provided data on long-term savings despite spending more upfront. The new electric vehicles cost more to purchase now, but less to operate throughout the lifetime of the vehicle.

“With the total cost of ownership model, this isn’t just a great thing that we need to be doing for our environment, air quality, health, it also makes financial sense. That really speaks to a broad group of people.” – Hazel

The Council-approved initiative helped convey not only the importance of sustainable practices for the City but also set an example for the community. Hazel encourages other local governments to start taking the steps for more sustainable practices now rather than later. Please visit the City of Charlotte’s Resiliency and Sustainability webpage for more information about the steps they are taking to meet their environmental and economic goals.

Interested in creating similar policies? Centralina Regional Council can help you get started on a sustainability plan by providing resources and connecting you with other communities to make a regional impact. The Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition also has over 15 years of experience helping fleets transition to cleaner fuels.

For more information, contact Jason Wager at

Written by: Lauren Tayara