No garbage, natural gas trucks save Tampa money - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

No garbage, natural gas trucks save Tampa money

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Five of Tampa's garbage trucks are filling their tanks for $2.50. That's nearly $2.00 less than diesel. The trucks are powered by compressed natural gas instead of typical diesel or gas.

The city rolled these new trucks out last month, joining a few other local cities and private companies with compressed natural gas, or CNG, vehicles on the roads.  

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn gives a quick answer to why cities and businesses are making the conversion. "It's the economics, and it's the environment."

Buckhorn says the five new garbage trucks will save the city $150,000 a year in fuel costs.  A CNG truck does cost about $30,000 more than a new diesel truck, but the fuel savings recoup that costs in just one year.

Natural gas is abundant and is more environmentally-friendly than fossil fuels.  According to the city, the new vehicles emit about 40% less greenhouse gases, offer extended engine life, and cost less to maintain than the current trucks.

John Billingsley has been a driver with Tampa Solid Waste for 10 years, and he now drives one of the CNG trucks. "The CNG truck is much quieter, and it's much easier to maneuver around the city as well," said Billingsley.

Billingsley's route is around Raymond James Stadium which makes it easy for him to fill up at the public CNG station at Tampa International Airport.  The city has a partnership with TIA that allows all five of these garbage trucks to gas up at that filling station, but the Mayor hopes to eventually install a station specifically for the city's fleet vehicles.

The city hopes to expand its CNG fleet. The plan is to add five more natural gas garbage trucks by 2014.

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