Fresno's saving Money using Natural Gas

March 21, 2008 9:00:19 PM PDT
There has been a little relief from the rising prices at the gas pump, at least in the last week. AAA says the price of regular unleaded gas has only gone up one cent in Fresno in the past week.Merced is also showing an increase of only a penny, while Visalia has seen a rise of about three cents this week. Diesel prices are even higher right now, selling at an average of $4.18 in Fresno, according to AAA.

These soaring prices are putting the squeeze on Valley cities that have no choice but to keep garbage trucks and other vehicles in their fleet rolling.

Filling more garbage trucks with super cooled liquid natural gas is paying off in a big way for the City of Fresno.

With the price of diesel fuel skyrocketing so far this year the city has been forced to pay out $400-thousand dollars more to fuel its fleet than budgeted. By using a federal refund of 50 cents on every gallon spent on green fuel a lot less of the taxpayers green has been spent keeping the trucks rolling.

"We would have been one-point-two million over had we not switched to liquid natural gas."

Compared to the typical diesel garbage truck the city's 80 natural gas powered ones are not only cheaper to run they're quieter and don't pollute the air as much. The original reason Fresno decided to being the switch to natural gas five years ago.

Joseph Oldham, Fresno Fleet Supervisor: "Now we've seen not only emissions benefits but cost savings by running alternative fuels."

Fresno isn't alone in the struggle to save on fuel costs Clovis is about $140 thousand-dollars over budget. Next month the city will start replacing older street sweepers and then garbage trucks with newer ones that run on compressed natural gas pumped right into the corporation yard by PG&E.

Ron Wheeler, Clovis Fleet Manager: "For every dollar of fuel they burn, they're going to save over two dollars a gallon compared to diesel at today's prices."

By the Year 2010 Fresno plans to replace its' entire fleet of garbage trucks by ones that run on natural gas, on the way to even bigger savings down the road.


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