New fuel for local garbage trucks

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SARASOTA COUNTY - The future of fueling may already be right here on the Suncoast. Thursday Waste Management unveiling 43 new garbage trucks and a six million dollar compressed natural gas fueling station.

They do a dirty job but they are green clean garbage collecting machine "Natural gas trucks run much cleaner. Far fewer green house gases. Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emissions," says Dawn McCormick with Waste Management.

Up to an 86% reduction in air particulates they say. The one thing you may notice right away. "They are also much quieter in residential neighborhoods."

Located in Venice the company also unveiling it's third fueling station in the state. The trucks plug in overnight and slowly fill up with the gas. While it takes a few more gallons then diesel it costs just a little more than half per. "We save about 8,000 gallons of diesel fuel per truck per year."

It's numbers like that which bring out policy makers like Republican Senator Bill Galvano. "What I do understand is this will move us away from a dependence on foreign oil."

Governor Rick Scott has just signed a bill which removes taxes on natural gas for the next five years. Also offering rebates for vehicles. "The benefits beyond a fuel aspect are tremendous. We need to support companies that are willing to be innovators in this regard," says Galvano.

Waste Management says they plan to build more fueling stations here and could even offer them to local municipal governments and private companies for their vehicles. Sarasota County Commissioner Christine Robinson says it's a good fit. "This is exciting. This is exactly the image Sarasota County wants to project. Green clean sustainable energy."

A big step into a more wider use says McCormick "Use this as a model to spur on others throughout the state to take a hard look in investing in CNG vehicles and the infrastructure needed to fuel them."

Committed to the technology. Waste Management says eight out of every ten vehicles they will buy from this point on corporate wide will have the CNG fuel.

The company says each truck cost about $50,000 more than a standard one. They say they're not quite sure how long it will take to recoup their investment.