To serve Sacramento County, a lot of ground needs to be covered. Whether it’s our Department of Transportation,Waste Management and Recycling or our Sacramento International Airport, king-sized vehicles integral to our operations, such as dump trucks, waste collection trucks and shuttle buses, can be expensive to buy and fuel.

Kelli Sequest from the Department of Waste Management and Recycling, aware of the need for this vital equipment and the investment, jumped at the chance to apply for the Natural Gas Vehicle Incentive Project, a first-come-first-served competitive grant from the California Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP). Kelli also made sure other County departments were aware of these incentives to reduce the purchase price of their department’s natural gas vehicles.

“Thanks to the efforts of Kelli and other County staff, the County was awarded $600,000. These funds were used toward the purchase of new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles for three County departments. Because CNG is a lower cost fuel and better for the environment, our goal is to transition all of our Department’s fleet to alternative fuel vehicles,” said Paul Philleo, Department of Waste Management and Recycling Director.

Best fleet practices are always followed in managing the County’s more than 2,300 vehicles and pieces of equipment, and that includes smart purchasing and using the most economical and environmentally-friendly fuels. The California Energy Commission states that natural gas is the cleanest burning of all fossil fuels, cheaper than gas or diesel and contributes to significant reductions in greenhouse gas.

Each year, the County’s 100 waste collection trucks consume more than one million gallons of the cleaner burning natural gas, which reduces diesel fuel consumption by more than 500,000 gallons per year. Substituting one petroleum truck with a CNG truck, the County reduces petroleum-fuel use by 270 barrels of oil per year.  Thus far, Waste Management and Recycling has transitioned about 90% of its on-road fleet to use alternative fuels, with its entire south area collection fleet now operating on CNG.

To support the use of CNG, the County opened a new natural gas fueling station in 2015 that allows multiple vehicles to fill up at the same time without waiting as vehicles fill overnight. It is also planned that the County will move to bio-methane Renewable Compressed Natural Gas to fuel the refuse fleet to achieve even more greenhouse gas emission reductions.