NYC Adds 28 CNG Trucks to Local Fleets

Energy Vision, a national non-profit organization that studies and promotes the benefits of clean, renewable petroleum-free transportation fuels, recently coordinated an event and unveiled state-of-the-art natural gas-powered trucks in New York City.

The guests of honor were representatives of the township of Smithtown on Long Island, two major privately-owned refuse and recycling companies, and the city's Department of Sanitation (DSNY). In the last year, acting independently, Smithtown, Filco Carting Corp., Metropolitan Paper Recycling Co. and DSNY committed to put 38 new natural gas trucks into operation; 28 are now in service.

"It's not often that garbage trucks are at the center of an environmental good news story," said Joanna Underwood, president of Energy Vision. The 6,000 diesel refuse and recycling trucks on New York city streets have been a major source of air pollution. But these trucks and the growing fleet of new natural gas trucks are blazing a 'path to the future.' Within a few years use of natural gas trucks could become the industry norm in New York City," she added.

Underwood explained that "once fleets are equipped to use a gas, rather than a liquid, fuel, they are poised to move to even cleaner and renewable fuels going forward: biomethane, a clean renewable fuel made using the gases from landfill and other organic wastes, hythane, a blend of natural gas and hydrogen, and ultimately hydrogen."

Rocco DiRico, assistant commissioner with support services at DSNY noted that "the Department of Sanitation pioneered in developing the nation's first compressed natural gas refuse trucks over 10 years ago, and there were many challenges. But we have explored the new generation of CNG engines, have used natural gas street sweepers which perform well, and we look forward to evaluating the improved 'fourth generation' trucks."

Domenic Monopoli, owner of Filco Carting Corp., said his company has three natural gas trucks and plans on buying eight more over the next two years.

It may seem hard to make a strong case for swapping diesel trucks, polluting and noisy as they are, for comparable vehicles that cost between $50,000 and $70,000 more, but Gregory Bianco, chief executive officer of Metropolitan Paper Recycling, did just that. "We felt it was our responsibility to the communities we serve and the children of New York City to use the least polluting technologies. The good news has been that since we bought our trucks, with rising diesel prices, we are actually saving money. We will have a total of 11 CNG trucks by mid-2009. "

Copies of Energy Vision's Report, "Fueling a Greener Future: NYC Metropolitan Region Garbage Fleets Commit to Alternative Fuels," are available at www.energy-vision.org.

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