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Progressive Waste converts truck fleets to natural gas

Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd., which already has Canada’s largest waste and recycling collection fleet of natural gas powered vehicles, plans to significantly increase the number of natural gas powered trucks it purchases. The company made the announcement on the first day of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual conference, held in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Progressive Waste Solutions has more than 110 natural gas powered vehicles on the road in Canada, including fleets in Surrey, British Columbia and Simcoe County, Ontario. This represents approximately 10 percent of its Canadian fleet. The company expects to have nearly 150 natural gas powered vehicles in Canada by the end of 2013, with the addition of trucks in markets such as Montreal, Quebec. In 2014, Progressive Waste Solutions expects 50 to 55 percent of the total number of vehicles it purchases in Canada and the U.S., through the normal course replacement of its fleet, will be fuelled by compressed natural gas.

A new waste or recycling collection truck powered by natural gas typically costs about 15 percent more than a conventional diesel powered truck. As natural gas costs less than diesel, Progressive Waste Solutions expects a return on this investment within an attractive timeframe. In addition, government programs in areas such as British Columbia offer incentives for companies investing in the greening of their fleets.

In British Columbia, FortisBC offers incentives for operators to convert diesel trucks to compressed natural gas to promote the use of domestic B.C. natural gas as a transportation fuel, and generate both environmental and economic benefits. The incentives encourage the conversion of heavy duty fleet vehicles and the implementation of related natural gas fuel infrastructure. The program was made possible following the creation of the Government of B.C.’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction regulation.

“Converting our fleet to natural gas helps municipalities meet targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reduces pollution in the neighborhoods we serve,” said Dan Pio, vice president and Canadian chief operating officer, Progressive Waste Solutions.

For short haul fleets – trucks that operate in a limited, local geographical area – the switch to natural gas is simpler, as companies can build their own refueling stations, as Progressive Waste Solutions did in Surrey, B.C., in partnership with FortisBC. Progressive Waste Solutions plans to build natural gas fueling stations in Canadian markets such as Montreal, Quebec, as it converts its fleet.