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The Sonoma County, Calif., Fleet Operations Division will use Networkfleet’s wireless diagnostic and GPS tracking system to reduce fuel costs and lower greenhouse emissions for its fleet of 1,000 vehicles. During a pilot test of the system’s implementation, the county achieved a 15 to 30 percent increase in miles-per-gallon (mpg), which it expects to replicate across the fleet.

The system, which was selected through a competitive RFP process, will enable the division to wirelessly monitor mpg, idle time, engine diagnostics and emissions, and to help customer departments better plan and dispatch field employees.

"After our initial pilot evaluation of Networkfleet, we determined that the savings in fuel costs alone would pay for the system,” said Dave Head, fleet manager for Sonoma County. “With the Networkfleet system, we can also use our vehicles more efficiently, perform preventative maintenance and repair engine problems early. In addition, being able to monitor and reduce idle time contributes to our efforts in reducing greenhouse gases.”

A few of the capabilities of the new wireless setup:

* Location tracking: By monitoring vehicle location and location history, the county can plan more efficient routes and allow vehicles to be taken home if workers live close to the work site. The tracking capability reduces fuel consumption and improves vehicle use.

* Remote diagnostic monitoring: The system connects directly to the vehicle’s engine computer (OBD-II) to transmit diagnostic trouble codes so engine problems can be identified and repaired.

* Vehicle performance data: The wireless setup captures exact mpg, precise speed and idle time for each vehicle, which can improve driving behavior and reduce fuel use.

* Integration with fleet management tools: The system provides odometer mileage data automatically for the AssetWorks FleetFocus maintenance management system. The county can schedule regular maintenance without having to manually check odometer readings.

The new fleet-tracking system complements other environmentally friendly steps the division has taken, such as acquiring hybrid and compressed natural gas vehicles for its fleet.