- Waste Management recently announced the opening of its 100th compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station at an event in Oklahoma City. The company spent $9.2 million on the fueling center and service station, which can fill up to 134 trucks per night. Another $19.8 million has been invested in its local fleet, which will have more than 100 trucks by the end of the year, as reported by News OK.
- The company now has CNG stations in 33 states and three Canadian provinces. Of those 100 stations, 25 are open to the public.
- This infrastructure now supports 6,000 CNG trucks, which Waste Management says is the largest heavy-duty fleet of its kind in North America. Each trucks saves an estimated 8,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year and reduces emissions by 15% per truck.
Waste Management began using natural gas vehicles in the 1990s, and the company says that has played a key role in surpassing its goal of improving fleet efficiency 15% by 2020. Now, the company estimates that 90% of the new units it purchases for its fleet of 32,000 collection and support vehicles are powered by natural gas. Fueling station set-ups vary — some also service municipal or consumer vehicles, some are located at landfills to use the gas captured — though most use a slow-fill overnight system.
This set-up has helped streamline fueling procedures as part of larger fleet efficiency efforts, though it's also not currently feasible at all of the company's locations. In May, CEO Jim Fish told Waste Dive that the economies of scale needed to make the system work don't currently exist in some of their more rural service areas. Eventually, having a 100% CNG fleet might require some type of mobile fueling solutions or other technology innovations.
That still leaves plenty of ground to cover before rural areas become a top priority. In many cases, fleet technology upgrades are driven by state or local emissions regulations. For example, Waste Management's list shows that about a quarter of its 100 CNG stations are in California. Many are also in Florida, where one county recently announced that it would begin mandating that private haulers use CNG vehicles. While Waste Management's fleet may be the largest the trend is also popular among many of its competitors that have their own emissions reduction goals and CNG trucks are seen as a faster growing part of collection fleets than hybrid or electric vehicles.