In Part 1 of this blog, I discussed the importance of diversifying our country’s transportation fuels in order to improve our national and economic security.
At Waste Management, we’re doing our part.
Four years ago, our entire fleet of about 18,000 heavy-duty collection trucks (the largest fleet of this type of heavy-duty truck in the U.S.) was reliant on fuels derived from oil. Today, we have reduced that number by almost 20 percent and are continuing to add more vehicles that run solely on natural gas.
Going forward, upwards of 90 percent of our new truck expenditures will be natural gas. Not only is that allowing us to lower our fuel and maintenance costs, it also allows us to lower truck emissions. When it comes to the environmental benefits of using natural gas, they are significant. Consider these stats: smog-producing nitrogen oxide emissions are reduced up to 50 percent compared to 2010 diesel engines, and even more compared to the older diesel engines we are replacing; greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are reduced up to 25 percent over standard diesel engines; and when we can use natural gas derived from landfill gas versus standard pipeline natural gas, GHG emissions can be reduced by over 90 percent.
By having reduced our fleet emissions by 20 percent, we’ve already exceeded our goal to do so by 15 percent by 2020. WM can and will achieve more. In fact, the residents of Baton Rouge, LA are now seeing a new fleet of environmentally friendly compressed natural gas (CNG) Waste Management trucks on their streets (Baton Rouge goes Green)! And, we’re going to keep going.
The American transportation and energy sectors are at an exciting point of transformation. As Admiral Dennis Blair, former Director of National Intelligence, and General Michael Hagee, 33rd Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps both note in the previously referenced New York Times opinion editorial, we can – and must – reduce the role of oil in the transportation sector. We also join with Fedex Corporation’s Fred Smith and former Secretary of State George Schulz in their call, “”Making the Most of the U.S. Energy Boom”” to establish oil displacement as a national goal.
The continued dependence on oil in transportation threatens our nation’s security, prosperity, and environment. The good news is that the transportation technology needed to take a significant bite out of oil’s transportation monopoly is improving every day.
A national goal that focuses the entire country – not just the military or individual businesses – on fuel diversity in the transportation sector is precisely what we need.