The new trucks will make up the largest fleet of natural gas-fueled refuse and brush trucks in the Southeast, Mayor Larry Langford said Monday. Langford said the new trucks and the application for a compressed natural gas station to fuel them make both economic and environmental sense.
“Maybe America is about to wake up,” he said. “This is just going to be the first step in Birmingham, Alabama. This world is changing and we had better wake up and change with it.”
The mayor was flanked during his announcement by officials from Energen and Alagasco, which signed on as supporters for the grant application.
The companies will be actively involved in the grant process, Langford said.
The new trucks are expected to save more than 5,200 barrels of oil a year.
“It’s another step on our journey to energy independence,” said Phillip Wiedmeyer Chairman and President of the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition .
James McManus, CEO of Energen Corp. described natural gas as a clean, affordable and abundant fuel.
“It’s a very clean fuel, it’s a domestic fuel and we believe it’s an abundant fuel,” he said.
In addition, the city’s new Honda Civic, powered by natural gas, was on display. The mayor will use the car, which was approved by the council earlier this month.
The city expects to make the grant application at the end of May and have a response by September.
The City Council in October approved a plan to lease all vehicles in the city fleet. Bob Rainey, director of fleet management, has said 70 percent of the 2,200 vehicles in the city’s fleet needed replacing. That included police cars, fire trucks and garbage trucks.
City officials said it would cost $45 million to buy new vehicles, but would cost $6.5 million a year to lease them. At the end of the leases, the city has the option to buy the vehicles or enter into a new contract.
Langford said the city will begin seeking bids on the leased vehicles, and the new vehicles will arrive later this year.
News Source: The Birmingham News
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