MARS — Vogel Disposal is embracing clean energy by rolling out 10 new garbage trucks that run solely on compressed natural gas.
Vogel just put the new fleet on the road with the help of a grant from the Department of Energy. The new trucks are only a fraction of the 70 in Vogel’s fleet, although that number could increase as older vehicles go off the road.
Doug Vogel, vice president of the company, said each truck costs about $330,000 with a life expectancy of 7 to 10 years.
The increase in fuel prices was the primary motivating factor for buying the vehicles, Vogel said, although the environmentally-friendly aspect of the trucks was an added benefit.
“We were looking to update some of our trucks and, with fuel prices the way they are, we took a look at all the different technologies in the waste hauling industry and found that a lot of people are moving into the natural gas realm,” he said.
However, the new technology hasn’t come without roadblocks. Vogel said every employee must undergo extensive training, and operators, supervisors and managers all had to be certified to operate the vehicles.
The new vehicles will be quiet and clean, and are distinguished by the blue “CNG” logo on the side of the truck, which stands for compressed natural gas.
It’s too early to tell if the new vehicles will be beneficial in the long run, but Vogel added there are several reasons for why the company chose to go green.
“It’s still early in the game yet, and we’ve had a couple minor issues,” Vogel said. “But a lot of the guys like them. They’re quieter and don’t emit that thick black smoke.
“We do a lot of work with the folks in the natural gas industry so this made sense on several levels.”
The biggest problem, Vogel said, is that fueling stations for natural gas pumps aren’t as abundant as pumps for diesel fuel, which means workers must carefully monitor their routes to ensure they don’t run out of gas before filling up.