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WM expands natural gas-powered fleet and opens Texas CNG fueling station

Compressed natural gas, which reduces air pollution in collection vehicles, is now available to some local commercial fleets and will soon be to retail customers.

Waste Management announced plans to expand its fleet of natural gas-powered collection vehicles in the Houston area and open a new compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station in Conroe that will increase access to the clean-burning fuel.

Waste Management currently operates 5 CNG-powered collection vehicles in Houston’s north suburban communities and expects to roll out an additional 35 in the area by the end of 2012. The public fueling station will refuel Waste Management’s local fleet and sell CNG to commercial fleets. Soon, it will also open to retail consumers with CNG-equipped vehicles.

“Since natural gas-powered collection trucks run cleaner and quieter, we’ve made the commitment to use more in our local operations and support them and our community by opening a public CNG station,” said Don Smith, area vice president for Waste Management’s Texas and Oklahoma region.

CNG is one of the cleanest fuels currently available for use in heavy-duty trucks. Its use reduces particulate matter emissions to nearly zero, carbon monoxide emissions by 75 percent, nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 49 percent, and carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent. As an additional benefit, CNG offers cost savings compared to traditional fuels and runs 50 percent quieter than diesel trucks.

The Conroe fueling station and local CNG vehicles are one element in Waste Management’s larger sustainability efforts. In 2007, the company set a goal of reducing fleet emissions by 15 percent and increasing fuel efficiency by 15 percent by 2020.

“Waste Management already operates over 1,400 CNG vehicles, the largest fleet of CNG recycling and waste collection trucks in North America,” said Eric Woods, vice president of Fleet & Logistics, Waste Management. “Each additional Class 8 diesel truck we replace with natural gas reduces diesel use by an average of 8,000 gallons per year and cuts annual greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 22 metric tons.

“In 2012, natural gas vehicles will represent 80 percent of our annual new truck purchases and continue for the next 5 years. We also have 28 fueling stations in North America and plan to have 50 in operation by the end of 2012,” Woods concluded.