Warren Wilson Sustainable Vehicle Policy 

A sustainable vehicle policy is one which balances the economic, environmental and social implications of vehicle purchasing, maintenance and usage decisions.  

Economic Considerations

Economic considerations should be based on a full cost analysis rather than simply the initial purchase or lease price. Minimizing the economic cost of College vehicles will depend upon a range of factors.

Purchase or lease consideration

The decision to purchase or lease a vehicle requires consideration of a number of factors including fleet discounts or special deals, tax incentives, interest rates, expected length of ownership, and resale value.

Operating costs

According to figures produced by the American Automobile Association Vehicle Cost, the annual operating cost of vehicles is largely a function of size. Fuel consumption depends on engine capacity, distance travelled, and the type of travel (city or highway). For every $.10 rise in gas prices the annual operating costs rise by around $100 for light vehicles and around $200 for large vehicles.

Maintenance and usage practices

o       Minimize vehicle usage.

o       Keep car properly serviced (tires correctly inflated, etc.)

o       Use the smallest vehicle needed for the job.

o       Accelerate and decelerate smoothly.

o       Drive at moderate speeds – cars use 25% more fuel at 65 mph than at 50 mph.

o       Remove excess weight from car (110 lbs. equates to 2% extra fuel) and minimize aerodynamic drag like roof racks.

o       Use air conditioner sparingly. Air conditioners can use about 10% extra fuel when operating. However, at speeds of over 50 mph, use of air conditioning is better for fuel consumption than an open window.


Environmental Considerations

Vehicle type

A smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle that is fit for the purpose will lower the overall environmental impacts of the purchase.

Fuel type

The type of fuel used influences the environmental impacts of a vehicle. The College’s preference is for vehicles with high gas mileage, and low emissions, fueled by either gasoline, battery, or environmentally acceptable alternative fuels.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions from WWC fleet, faculty, staff and student driving accounts for nearly 13% of Warren Wilson’s emissions. Smaller vehicles emit around half the greenhouse gas emissions of larger vehicles thus they are preferred.

Resource use

Between 5–10% of a car's overall consumption of energy and emissions of greenhouse gases happens when the car is manufactured. Large cars consume more of these resources in their manufacturing process.

Social Considerations


Vehicle safety must be a major consideration when purchasing a vehicle.



The perception created by vehicle choice is an important issue for an institution committed to environmental issues.

Health issues

Urban air pollution is largely the result of motor vehicle use and leads to a range of serious health effects. The health impacts of transportation emissions in the US are well-documented. Vehicle selection reflects this concern.

Vehicle Purchasing Policy


A sustainable vehicle purchasing policy seeks a balance between the economic, environmental and social implications of all vehicle purchasing decisions.The College shall aim to have the most economically, environmentally and socially responsible vehicle fleet possible.

When purchasing or leasing a vehicle the following process is to be followed: