Going green and saving green

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The International Energy Agency estimates transportation contributes 23 percent of all energy-related CO2 emissions. 

At current trends, that number could surge to more than 40 percent by 2050. 

Engines have come a long way over the past 20-plus years in both efficiency and in emissions control, but there’s still a ways to go yet. 

A lot of attention is paid to natural gas in this industry, and rightfully so. What it can do for your bottom line is fairly impressive, but let’s focus on the often overlooked aspect of natural gas: What it can do for the environment. I know that you know it’s a “green” fuel, but do you know how green?

RELATED: Building a business plan for NatGas vehicles 

According to NGV Bridge, NatGas offers the following emissions reductions when compared to a diesel engine:

• Upwards of 30 percent carbon dioxide

• Upwards of 90 percent carbon monoxide

• 99 percent sulfer dioxide

• 90 percent particulate matter

• 90 percent fewer volatile organic compounds

For most businesses, the only downside of a “going green” initiative is having the green to fund it. NatGas conversions have a reputation of being expensive, but when is the last time you checked that data?

For refuse fleets, incremental costs to convert fleets to natural gas have dropped from $60,000 in 2007 to less than $20,000 in 2013. 

RELATED INFOGRAPHIC: NatGas vehicle market development 

With a savings of nearly $1.50 per diesel gallon equivalent, recouping those costs are coming quicker than ever, and many of the transport industry’s most frequent movers are embracing it. 

The American Transit Association says nearly 20 percent of all transit buses were operating on compressed natural gas in 2011, and nearly 40 percent of the refuse trucks purchased that year were natural gas. Those numbers have grown each year. 

Clean Energy says there are more than 13 million natural gas vehicles in use worldwide, according to Clean Energy. Moreover, 25 percent of all new buses and 60 percent of refuse trucks currently on order nationwide will be powered by natural gas.

As more and more NatGas trucks hit the road, the infrastructure will improve and prices will become increasingly competitive, hopefully alleviating some of the greenback consideration from your going green plans.