HARRISBURG, June 23, 2011 – The City of Pittsburgh will be awarded a $500,000 grant to purchase four new refuse trucks powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), state Sens. Jay Costa, Jim Ferlo and Wayne Fontana announced today.

The funds were awarded through the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act monies. No other project in the commonwealth was capable of combining an operational public-access CNG fueling facility with a natural gas-fueled public refuse fleet within ARRA’s time constraints.

“This is a pilot project, but the long-term goal is to replace the city’s entire fleet of refuse trucks to CNG as a fuel source,” Costa said. “There are 80 trucks operating in the city limits that could eventually be operating on natural gas.”

The DEP estimates that the conversion of just four trucks to CNG will reduce CO2 and other pollutants by over 200,000 lbs. per year. In addition to the reduction in air pollution, the project will significantly cut fuel expenses.

“This is a project that pays for itself over time,” said Ferlo. “Although CNG trucks cost more to purchase than a traditional truck, the annual fuel savings of $9,600 per vehicle would return the initial investment in less than four years.”

Fontana said the project would set a good example for other cities and large municipalities in Pennsylvania to follow. “With its strong commitment to green energy projects, Pittsburgh continues to make its mark as a city that innovates,” Fontana said. “This is another example of how our city is leading the way.”

The fueling station will be operational by July 2011 and is located within two blocks of the public works facility.

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