Representatives of Virginia Clean Cities joined car manufacturers and industry experts at a Richmond Expo to showcase new technologies and vehicles powered by natural gas. They say such vehicles can produce significantly lower levels of emissions than traditional fuel sources….and that switching one waste truck has the pollution-reduction impact of removing 325 cars from the road. The advocates also say the idea of switching to natural gas for public and private fleets is catching on across the Commonwealth.
Industry experts argue that energy security is one reason to switch since natural gas is an American fuel. They also say natural gas as a fuel is about one-third the cost of diesel and is the only heavy-duty alternative that can power large trucks and buses. The Clean Vehicle Education Foundation’s Stephe Yborra says a growing number of cities have begun using natural gas buses and vehicles. “There’s a lot of things going on in Northern Virginia AND in Southern Virginia. The Tidewater area has had a fair amount of activity. Chesapeake City has been doing some things. I think Charlottesville schools went to some buses a while back. We’ve got a number of different fleets in Northern Virginia. Washington Metro—we have the bus system up there.” He adds that Waste Management and similar private companies have begun replacing their aging trucks with natural gas ones. Delegate Scott Taylor sponsored three related bills and says one will help localities who want to make a change. “The first one allows for localities to tap into an existing fund so that they can get a hand up in converting their vehicles.” Governor McAuliffe recently signed those three bills into law.