Bristol-Myers Squibb Is Recognized as "Green Fleet" Leader
Bristol-Myers Squibb Green Fleet cars at our Princeton, New Jersey facility
Rocco Marino has logged 25,000 miles this past year in his company-issued Chevy Malibu Hybrid as a senior sales specialist for Neuroscience at Bristol-Myers Squibb.
While that’s a lot of miles on New Jersey’s roadways, it’s just a drop in the gas tank for the company’s United States sales force, which drove a collective 105 million miles in 2008 -- more than the distance between the Earth and the Sun.
With numbers like that, the company’s efforts to put sales representatives behind the wheels of greener, cleaner cars are yielding big benefits, both for the environment and the bottom line. Now, those efforts have earned national recognition. Automotive Fleet, a fleet industry trade magazine, recently ranked Bristol-Myers Squibb among the top ten in its annual “Green Fleet” ratings of American businesses.
“We’re proud to be recognized for our fleet,” says company Fleet Administrator Wendy Dymkowski. “As a company, we’re always looking at ways to make the fleet more fuel-efficient. We’re mindful of the economic benefits, of course, but we’re just as motivated by the environmental payoff in terms of cleaner air, fewer carbon dioxide emissions, and reduced dependence on petroleum.”
Bristol-Myers Squibb leases approximately 3,500 vehicles for its sales representatives, who hit the highways visiting doctors, hospitals and other health care professionals across America. Chevy Malibu's and Impalas make up the majority of the fleet, rounded out by a smaller number of Subaru’s Legacy sedans.
There are only about 200 hybrids like Marino’s currently in the fleet. The retail demand for hybrids has been so strong that carmakers have allocated relatively few for the lease market. Bristol-Myers Squibb’s first order of Malibu hybrids in 2008 took nearly four months to arrive -- about twice as long as for a typical vehicle.
The hybrids actually came too late to be included in the data upon which Automotive Fleet magazine based its 2009 rankings. Instead, it was the company’s alternative fuel vehicles that got attention.
All of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s non-hybrid Chevys -- about 65 percent of the total fleet -- are flex-fuel vehicles that run on either gasoline or E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Ethanol is a biofuel produced by the fermentation of sugar or starch, usually made from corn and switchgrass. Gas or E85 mileage for the four-cylinder Malibu is 30 mpg highway. The six-cylinder Impala gets a respectable 27 mpg highway.
Automotive Fleet’s Green Fleet rankings also noted the company’s “Partial Zero Emissions Vehicles” or PZEVs -- a category of cars with very low tailpipe emissions created in response to California’s strict pollution control laws. About 15 percent of the company fleet are Subaru Legacy PZEVs that get an estimated 27 mpg highway.
Most of the time, sales representatives get to pick the cars they want from the fleet choices, and even pick the color. Marino did not. He was assigned a silver Malibu hybrid that happened to be available. And he says he couldn’t be more pleased.
Rocco Marino's Malibu Hybrid can go up to 400 miles on a tank of gas.
“I’m very happy with it,” says Marino, whose territory takes in a large swath of southern and coastal New Jersey. “It rides comfortably. The best thing is the gas mileage. I go anywhere from 350 to 400 miles on a tank of gas. That’s a long way to go before filling up.”
The Malibu, with a relatively small electric motor assisting the four-cylinder engine, gets 27 mpg in city driving and 34 mpg on the highway. Hybrids with more powerful electric motors can easily break 40 mpg.
Marino said he would not hesitate to order another hybrid, and not just for the mileage.
“If I had the option again I would definitely get another hybrid,” he said. “It’s not just about saving on gas. It’s also about doing a little better for the environment.”