About half of Frederick County’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, and the county government plans to address that, in part, by replacing parts of its vehicle fleet with electric vehicles over the next decade.

The county executive announced two plans last week: one to transition to a county vehicle fleet that’s powered by electricity and biofuel, and another to make sure the county is ready for more electric vehicles on the road.

“With these plans, we are turning sustainability ideals into meaningful actions,” said County Executive Jessica Fitzwater, a Democrat. “As our transportation infrastructure evolves, we not only pave the way for ‘greener’ vehicles, we also support innovation and economic growth. Our goal is to ensure a resilient future for Frederick County’s businesses and residents.”

A Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments study performed in 2020 found that about 48% of Frederick County’s emissions come from the transportation sector, according to the county.

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The plan includes electrifying 183 of the county’s 876 fleet vehicles as they are all replaced over the next 12 years. That amounts to just over 20% of the fleet. The plan excludes police vehicles and other heavy-duty or light-duty trucks, used for services like snow plowing.

The Frederick News-Post reported that Frederick County’s plan is estimated to cost $1.4 million.

The number of vehicles that are replaced with electric or other alternative fuels is much more likely to increase, rather than decrease, said Annmarie Creamer, a spokeswoman for the county’s Division of Energy and Environment.

As technology improves, prices decrease and federal or state funding becomes available, she said, it may become possible for the county to replace even more of its vehicles with electric ones.

“We phase them [vehicles] out on a regular schedule. That gives us time to continually look at this math and make these adjustments,” Creamer said.

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Frederick County has already transitioned part of its transit fleet — the county has eight electric buses and two diesel hybrid vehicles, according to county spokeswoman Vivian Laxton.

The county also plans on “right-sizing” its fleet — that is, removing some vehicles from service if they’re no longer necessary. Twelve county vehicles recorded zero miles driven in 2022, according to the Frederick County Alternative Fuel Vehicle Fleet Transition Plan.

There were 4,710 registered electric vehicles in Frederick County as of October 2023, and that number is expected to grow with projections as high as 105,796 electric vehicles in the county by 2035. According to the county, there are 120 electric vehicle charging stations in the county but only 48 are “fully available to the public.”

The county’s Community-wide Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan says Frederick County will need tens of thousands of EV charging stations in the future. As part of the planning for more electric vehicles in the future, county officials are asking for input on a survey.

Recently, state officials said Maryland should have 100,000 electric vehicles registered by the end of January 2024.

Maryland plans to phase out the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035. And 25 all-electric school buses began serving Baltimore City Public Schools earlier this year.

Cody Boteler a reporter on The Banner’s Express Desk, reporting on breaking news, trending stories and interesting things in and around Baltimore. His work has appeared in The Baltimore Sun, USA TODAY, Baltimore magazine and others. 

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