Oklahoma City-based Waste Management Corp. has passed two major milestones for compressed natural gas (CNG) fleet vehicles and fueling stations, added its 6,000th refuse hauling truck and opening its 100th fueling facility.

COO Jim Trevathan said the company’s mission is “to maximize resource value, while minimizing environmental impact.” The latest milestones show the firm’s commitment to natural gas vehicles (NGV), said NGVAmerica’s Kathryn Clay, interim executive director. “Waste Management’s leadership shows the way toward a cleaner transportation system based on natural gas fuels.”

With 6,000 NGV trucks, Waste Management is the largest heavy-duty fleet operator of its kind in North America. The NGV pioneer had established a goal to reduce by 2020 its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and improve the efficiency of its on-road fleet by 15% based on 2007 levels. The goal was achieved in 2011.

For every diesel truck replaced with natural gas, the company estimated that it reduces its use of diesel fuel by an average of 8,000 gallons a year, with an equivalent reduction of 14 metric tons/year of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, or a 15% emissions reduction/truck. Twenty-five of Waste Management’s 100 fueling stations in North America are open to the public.

An NGVAmerica spokesperson said Waste Management’s newly deployed trucks are powered by Cummins Westport’s low-nitrogen oxide (NOx) natural gas engines, which are more than 80% “cleaner” than the current federal emission standards. Waste Management also uses renewable natural gas produced at landfills to power its trucks, which are said to offset GHG emissions by more than 80%.

In other news, Love’s Trillium CNG has contracted with Sheehy Mail Contractors to supply CNG in Omaha. Sheehy operates nearly of 100 trucks mostly fueled by CNG, which accounts for 92% of the firm’s fuel purchases. It also is phasing out all of its diesel fleet. As it converts its fleet to CNG, it is testing two pre-market super low-NOx 11.9-liter ISX12N engines from Cummins.

“Partnering with fleets like Sheehy helps us make the most of our existing public-station network as well as identify the next wave of infrastructure needs for the market,” Trillium CNG Managing Director Bill Cashmareck said.

Sheehy also is evaluating hydrogen injection for its fleet with Houston-based Commercial Hydrogen Inc. to determine if adding it to CNG fuel is “the catalyst to greater fuel savings,” management said. “One of the issues with CNG is it typically gets 11% lower mileage than its diesel counterparts,” said CEO John Sheehy. “Commercial Hydrogen has helped solve that problem.”

At the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport, LSG Sky Chefs plans to deploy a fleet of 20 NGVs in its operations, fueled by existing CNG stations operated by Clean Energy Fuels. The catering trucks are expected to use 50,000 gasoline gallon equivalents/year. The purchase was supported by a grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to replace LSG’s aging diesel fleet.

“By using alternative fuels such as natural gas, we can cut our GHG emissions while continuing to offer world class service,” said LSG’s Todd Liddle, director of last mile logistics.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen has launched an alternative fuel program in Germany where it is headquartered, offering incentives to purchase environmentally compatible vehicles if an older diesel vehicle (Euro 1-4) of any brand is scrapped at the same time. Customers would receive discounts to purchase vehicles with alternative powertrains, including natural gas, hybrid or electric.