Natural gas trash trucks expected to cut pollution & costs - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Natural gas trash trucks expected to cut pollution & costs

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

The City of Richmond is going green in the way it picks up trash. The City bought 25 trash trucks that run on cleaner burning compressed natural gas. Officials say it will save $250,000 a year. And soon GRTC buses will run on CNG, too.

The trucks may look like ordinary trash trucks, but they're not. Last year, the City of Richmond replaced it's aging diesel trash trucks with new trucks that run on CNG, compressed natural gas.

Explained Angela Fountain, spokesperson for the Richmond Department of Public Utilities, "CNG has lower pollution, there's no fuel odor. They run quieter than diesel trucks."

A spokesperson for the Department of Public Works says the CNG trucks cost about $35,000 more than diesel trucks, but they expect to save $250,000 a year.

Adds Alleyn Harned with Virginia Clean Cities, "Fleets are expected to save more than a dollar per gallon on the natural gas versus diesel."

Officials say the savings also comes from lower maintenance costs, and needing fewer trucks that need fewer fill-ups. Friday trash pick-up was just folded into earlier days of the week, though, they say no jobs were lost.

Said Fountain, "It doesn't take as many shifts to run the trucks. So that's a savings that the city experiences. And it's a domestically produced fuel, so we don't have to purchase it from other sources."

GRTC officials say as their buses need to be replaced, they plan to change them out for new CNG buses. The first ones hit the roads in the coming months and GRTC will build a CNG fueling station in January.

Richmond trash trucks fuel up at CNG pumps at the Department of Public works. A public CNG pump will be built on Maury Street next month, where any CNG vehicle, commercial or personal, can fill up.

Baker Equipment in Richmond specializes in converting vehicles to run on CNG. "We take out the gasoline injectors in the engine and put in natural gas injectors and we re-flash the onboard computer so it's looking for natural gas," Skip Baker explained.

The State is looking at switching to some CNG vehicles too, hoping to save some green, and some blue.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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