Nearly 30 percent of Waste Management’s truck fleet in Florida is now fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG).
Last week, Inverness, Fla. became the latest city there to announce a switch from diesel-powered Waste Management trucks to CNG models. It’s a developing trend fueled by CNG’s lower emissions, lower fuel costs and growing incentives.
Volkswagen’s nearly $5 billion environment remediation settlement with the U.S. government, following its admission that they had used emissions defeat devices on their diesel-equipped vehicles, will also provide even more financial incentives for those interested in buying CNG and other alt-fuel vehicles.
According to Natural Gas Vehicles for America, CNG station construction costs typically range between $675,000 to $1,000,000. Floridagas.org reports that there are now 106 private, public and planned CNG stations in the Sunshine State, with one of the most recent being opened in Panama City.
Waste Management continues to invest in CNG trucks and infrastructure and now has 11 CNG fueling stations throughout the state that fuel-up hundreds of their trucks.
Hard Working Trucks recently caught up with the national refuse company to learn more about their CNG expansion in Florida.
Special thanks to Dawn McCormick, Waste Management director of communications and community relations in Florida for taking the time to answer our questions.
HWT: How many Waste Management (WM) CNG trucks are on the road in Florida versus non-CNG WM trucks?
WM: 486 CNG trucks out of a total of 1,691 or almost 30 percent.
HWT: CNG fueling stations are continuing to emerge in Florida. Has the continued growth of these stations effected the proliferation of CNG trucks at Waste Management?
WM: Waste Management has 11 CNG fuel stations in Boynton Beach, Bradenton, Cocoa, Fort Walton Beach, Medley, Naples, Pompano Beach, Tampa, Venice, Vero Beach and West Melbourne. To date, the company has invested nearly $100 million in CNG fueling stations and trucks in Florida. One of our stations, Pompano Beach, is open to third party fleets. The others are private. Our commitment to purchasing CNG trucks for our fleet (over 90% of our new truck purchases are CNG) is driving the investment in our new fueling stations.
HWT: What are some of the benefits WM cites in switching to CNG?
WM: Every truck we replace with natural gas reduces our diesel use by an average of 8,000 gallons per year, while simultaneously reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions by 22 metric tons. CNG offers important advantages over conventional fuels. Compressed natural gas (CNG) is one of the cleanest fuels currently available for use in heavy-duty trucks. By replacing a typical diesel engine with a natural gas engine we can reduce emissions:
- Up to 86 percent reduction in air particulates
- 75 percent reduction in carbon monoxide
- Up to 49 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides
- 25 percent reduction in carbon dioxide
HWT: Are there any differences in CNG truck performance vs. diesel?
WM: Yes, the CNG-fueled trucks are much quieter than traditional diesel-powered trucks, a considerable benefit to the residential neighborhoods where our collection vehicles operate.
HWT: How have drivers typically responded to the CNG trucks?
WM: Very positively. They are clean burning and quiet. The drivers feel very good about doing the right thing for the environment.
HWT: Which state is seeing the greatest increase of WM CNG trucks and why?
WM: We are deploying CNG trucks companywide, but Florida is one of the states leading the way in the number of CNG trucks deployed. We’ve made a large investment in our fleet here, and have also taken advantage of favorable legislation in Tallahassee including the Natural Gas Vehicle Fleet Fuel Rebate Program.