San Diego

Clean Fuel Trash Trucks Will Help Achieve City's Climate Action Plan

The project aims to switch the city's entire fleet of trash trucks to natural gas by 2022.

The city opened a new facility Tuesday to power trash trucks with cleaner fuel to reduce smog pollution by up to 90 percent, confirmed City officials.

In an effort to make a cleaner San Diego, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Councilmember Chris Cate announced that the city will start using compressed natural gas (CNG) instead of diesel fuel, for its entire fleet of recycling collection trucks.

The natural gas is a cleaner-burning fuel that drastically lowers greenhouse gas emissions while saving taxpayer dollars, said city officials.

"We all know that vehicle emissions are the leading cause of air pollution so the City is leading by example," Mayor Faulconer said, in a statement.

"By transitioning to compressed natural gas, we’re making our fleet greener and saving money at the same time. This is a win-win for San Diegans and will help us reach our climate action goals."

The City carried out the second phase of constructing a new CNG fueling station last month at the Environmental Services Department's Collection Services facility located on Miramar Place.

City officials say there are currently 20 CNG vehicles, which are expected to reduce smog-contributing pollutants up to 90 percent compared to diesel.

"The City's new compressed natural gas fueling station will truly benefit all San Diegans,” Councilmember Cate said, in a statement. "The collection trucks that residents see picking up their refuse and recycling bins will now be powered by cleaner fuel."

Once completed, the new station will replace all 131 diesel-powered collection vehicles with CNG trucks by 2022, according to the City. This would help achieve one of the Mayor's goals in the Climate Action Plan.

That would reduce diesel fuel consumed by more than one million gallons each year, said city officials.

The new vehicles will also be much quieter than the City's current diesel trucks, officials said. 

"Not only is it cheaper and cleaner than diesel, it will ensure that our collection trucks are much quieter while picking up trash and recyclables in our neighborhoods," said Mario Sierra, the City’s Environmental Services Director, in a statement.

The entire fueling station project will cost $5.3 million, with funds from the California Energy Commission, the City's Recycling Enterprise Fund and the General Fund.

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