Lexington in the US State of Kentucky has welcomed eleven new compressed natural gas garbage (CNG) trucks into the city fleet. As Mayor Jim Gray declares, “There’s a lot to like about garbage trucks powered by CNG. They save on fuel costs. They’re quieter as they make their 6 a.m. trips through the neighborhoods. And they’re better for the environment.”
Although the fueling unit for waste management trucks will not be available to the general public, the city is also making plans for a compressed natural gas fueling station that anyone could use. It recently received a $1.25 million from a federal grant for the station.
Tracey Thurman, Director of the Division of Waste Management, said when you consider that Waste Management services 96,000 homes and 3,000 businesses each week it’s easy to see how savings can add up. The average savings per year from each compressed natural gas truck is approximately $6,500 in fuel cost and preventive maintenance.
Lexington purchased the vehicles as part of its normal vehicle replacement schedule. The cost was $353,000 per truck, a cost similar to a diesel truck. Two more trucks are scheduled to arrive in December. And Lexington has budgeted an additional $2.9 million to purchase 10-12 additional trucks over the next twelve months.
The compressed natural gas trucks save on fuel; the cost of natural gas fuel runs $1.50-$2 below the cost of a gallon of diesel, which powers most garbage trucks. And they save on maintenance, extending the life of a tune-up by 50,000 miles, and an oil change is good for an extra 25,000 miles.
They’re good for the environment, with a 20%-30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to diesel and gasoline emissions. Clean Energy is the fuel supplier for the Waste Management fuel unit.
The compressed natural gas trucks have a fuel capacity equal to a 70-gallon diesel tank, large enough to offset range issues. Horsepower, acceleration and cruise power are the same
Lexington is the third Kentucky city to use the compressed natural gas trucks, behind Louisville and Princeton.
(Source: Mayor’s Office, Lexington KY)