Waste Management Leads Fleet Conversions to CNG
Waste Management is leading the charge in fleet conversions. Compressed Air Best Practices® Magazine salutes the commitment being made by this company and we wanted to publish excerpts from an open letter titled “Natural Gas Trucks Help Waste Management Meet Clean Air Goals”, written in January 2013, by their President and CEO, David Steiner.
“Waste Management has the nation’s largest fleet of heavy-duty trucks that run on clean-burning natural gas. We have 2,000-plus such trucks working across North American cities today, and we’re on a path to convert our 18,000 collection vehicle fleet to natural gas. This conversion makes good business sense for our company and our shareholders because of the significant maintenance and diesel fuel costs savings. It’s much cleaner for the environment, and our CNG trucks are much quieter than diesel powered ones.
With political instability in oil-producing regions around the world and approximately 80 percent of conventional oil reserves controlled by the OPEC cartel, it seems obvious that our country must end its dependence on a single fuel source for our transportation sector. If we increasingly focus on developing our own resources – like natural gas – we will, at once, help grow the economy, and shrink prices at the pump.
I’m proud of Waste Management’s leadership role in greening our fleet. That includes our investments in fueling infrastructure, and supporting government efforts to accelerate the same for compressed natural gas (CNG) for use by the public in their vehicles. As a major consumer of diesel fuel, we gladly lend our support to policies that foster a less oil-dependent transportation system.
Today, at WM, we have 40 natural gas-fueling stations across North America – 15 of which are publicly accessible, and another seven with pre-approved third-party access. We own the stations, purchase their fuel, and finance their construction. We are planning 13 more for early 2013, with more to follow.
Another pride point for me is our award-winning plant in California that converts landfill gas to liquefied natural gas (LNG), which in turn powers 300 of our trucks every day. This LNG is the lowest carbon intensity fuel of any commercial scale transportation fuel currently produced in California. These trucks service our customers in Oakland, San Diego and several cities in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Indeed, I’m very pleased that we have created an “environmental closed loop” for the City of Oakland, where some of their waste is disposed at our landfill and the resulting landfill gas powers the WM trucks that collect their waste and bring it to our recycling centers and other post-collection facilities.
Waste Management’s fleet professionals have spent several years of experimentation and they – our driving force so to speak – are convinced that converting our collection vehicles to natural gas is our best option today. I agree.
Doing so improves energy and operational efficiencies and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. As of 2012, we already have reduced our carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent – beating our 2020 goal of 15 percent eight years ahead of schedule. By 2020, our commitment will pay off as a reduction of 350 million gallons of fuel, about 3.5 million metric tons of CO2 emissions and $1 billion of operational costs.”