San Diego has reached an important benchmark in its efforts to convert the city’s diesel-powered solid waste collection trucks to cleaner-burning compressed natural gas (CNG), a move that will significantly reduce the trucks’ emissions of greenhouse gases and other harmful air pollutants.
Last month, the city opened a new CNG fueling station to support the switch to natural gas with the help of a $250,000 grant awarded by the California Energy Commission. Though still under construction, the station is already fueling the city’s 20 existing CNG collection trucks.
“The Energy Commission is pleased to support San Diego’s efforts to transition from diesel and leave a healthier environment for future generations,” said Energy Commissioner Janea A. Scott. “The Energy Commission has invested in many of San Diego’s green initiatives, including the expansion of electric vehicle charging stations to support local adoption of electric vehicles. This project is another example of San Diego’s leadership in sustainability and demonstrates that going green can have numerous benefits.”
The Energy Commission awarded the grant through its Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP), which invests up to $100 million annually in projects that support alternative and renewable fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. The program helps the state achieve its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals, improves air quality, reduces reliance on fossil fuels, and promotes economic development.
The ARFVTP 2016-17 Investment Plan Update includes $2.5 million in investments for natural gas fueling infrastructure. The 2017-2018 Investment Plan Update, which the Energy Commission adopted in April, allocates $2.4 million for these projects.
The new facility is scheduled to be completed by January 2021. It will enable San Diego to meet its goal of converting the city’s entire fleet of 131 diesel trucks by 2022. Doing so will reduce the city’s annual consumption of diesel fuel by more than one million gallons. This will not only help San Diego reach California’s greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, but the city’s goal to cut its emissions in half by 2035.
The change to natural gas will also save money since CNG is cheaper than diesel.
“We all know that vehicle emissions are the leading cause of air pollution so the city is leading by example and showing other cities how to make common-sense changes to improve the environment around us,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “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 as we work together to reach our ambitious climate goals.”