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Lexington’s new garbage trucks touted as quieter, more efficient, better for environment

 (Photo from LFUCG)

Lexington’s new garbaged trucks are power by compressed natural gas, which officials say will save on fuel and maintenance costs. (Photo from LFUCG)


Lexington officials say there is a lot to like about garbage trucks powered by compressed natural gas. They save on fuel costs. They’re quieter as they make their 6 a.m. trips through the neighborhoods. And they’re better for the environment.

Mayor Jim Gray today welcomed 11 of the trucks to town and displayed the city’s new fueling unit, where there trucks will be gassed up.

“These trucks are what continuous improvement is all about,” Gray said.

He credited Columbia Gas for making the program possible by installing about a mile of gas pipeline back to the fueling unit at Waste Management headquarters off Old Frankfort Pike.

“Lexington is on the leading edge of Kentucky cities using a cleaner and more efficient fuel for their fleets and we are pleased to be a partner on this project,” said Columbia Gas of Kentucky President Herbert A. Miller Jr.

Lexington is the third Kentucky city to use the compressed natural gas trucks, behind Louisville and Princeton in Western Kentucky.

Although the fueling unit for waste management trucks will not be available to the general public, the city is also making plans for a compressed natural gas fueling station that anyone could use. It recently received a $1.25 million from a federal grant for the station.

Tracey Thurman, director of the Division of Waste Management, said when you consider that Waste Management services 96,000 homes and 3,000 businesses each week it’s easy to see how savings can add up. The average savings per year from each compressed natural gas truck is approximately $6,500 in fuel cost and preventive maintenance.

Lexington purchased the vehicles as part of its normal vehicle replacement schedule. The cost was $353,000 per truck, a cost similar to a diesel truck. Two more trucks are scheduled to arrive in December. And Lexington has budgeted an additional $2.9 million to purchase 10 to 12 additional trucks over the next 12 months.

The compressed natural gas trucks save on fuel … the cost of natural gas fuel runs $1.50-$2 below the cost of a gallon of diesel, which powers most garbage trucks, according to a press release. They also save on maintenance, extending the life of a tune-up by 50,000 miles, and an oil change is good for an extra 25,000 miles.

They’re good for the environment, with a 20 percent to 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to diesel and gasoline emissions. Clean Energy is the fuel supplier for the Waste Management fuel unit.

The compressed natural gas trucks have a fuel capacity equal to a 70-gallon diesel tank, large enough to offset range issues. Horsepower, acceleration and cruise power are the same.


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