For years, vehicles in the City’s award-wining fleet have been downsized and alternatively fueled whenever feasible. Now, the City of Long Beach is raising the bar even higher by using renewable fuels for more than 18 percent of its total vehicle fleet.
“The shift to these renewable fuels is an important part of the City’s commitment to sustainability and greenhouse gas reductions,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “I’m proud that Long Beach has one of the greenest fleets in the United States.”
Renewable fuels, such as renewable diesel and renewable liquid natural gas (RNG), are produced from renewable resources. Both of these renewable fuels greatly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) and tailpipe emissions; cost the same or less than current fuels; and do not require any modifications to the City’s vehicles or fueling infrastructure. A total of 393 vehicles are powered by renewable fuels, out of 2,185 vehicles in the City’s fleet.
The City recently began using renewable diesel for trucks and equipment used for maintenance and transportation purposes. Renewable diesel is produced from waste fats, residues and vegetable oils, and is 100 percent renewable and sustainable. Currently, renewable diesel is available to the City for the same cost as conventional diesel.
In 2003,Long Beach became the first city in the United States to use liquid natural gas (LNG) for its street sweepers. In October 2015, street sweepers and refuse trucks transitioned to using RNG as a fuel source. RNG, also known as biomethane, is a substantial improvement over LNG’s already impressive environmental benefit, as it represents the recycling of carbon that is already circulating in the environment.
RNG is sourced from methane from landfills and animal waste that is released into the atmosphere and captured for conversion into RNG. This methane is combusted as renewable gas resulting in greenhouse gas releases that are approximately 21 times less potent than methane released directly into the atmosphere. According to the California Air Resources Board, RNG’s carbon emissions when measured over the lifecycle of the fuel’s production, transport and use, are the lowest of any vehicle fuel that is commercially available.
The switch to RNG is expected to save the City approximately $27,000 per year on its use of more than 826,000 gallons of LNG, thanks in part to California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) credits.
By using renewable diesel and RNG, the City is looking at a potential reduction of more than 6,000 tons of carbon emissions per year.The City’s fleet was recognized as one of the Top 50 Government Fleets in North America for 2015, and was ranked the No. 1 North American Government Green Fleet in 2008.