The first public CNG fueling station for the East Valley opened last week in southeast Mesa. It is run by PetroCard and operates out of a Waste Management facility at 4040 S. 80th St., west of Loop 202 and north of Warner Road.
Waste Management has 26 natural-gas powered trash-collection trucks that operate out of the San Tan Hauling and Transfer Station and are contracted to the city of Chandler.
“For every truck that we convert from diesel to CNG, we’ll save the equivalent of about 8,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year, and that’s the equivalent of about 22 metric tons of greenhouse gases. We feel like we’re doing our part to save the environment,” Waste Management official Pat DeRueda said Aug. 22 prior to a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the grand opening of the facility.
The business has 30,000 trucks in North America, with 1,400 trucks powered by CNG, he said. The company plans to have 80 percent of its fleet operate on CNG, Mr. DeRueda said.
PetroCard official Aaron Reding said the company has worked with Waste Management for nearly two decades.
“As Waste Management’s direction shifted from traditional fuels to compressed natural gas, we’ve had the privilege of partnering, developing the public-access retail Clean N’ Green Stations with them,” Mr. Reding said.
The station and others PetroCard has opened with Waste Management in the U.S. are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and accept credit and fleet cards, Mr. Reding said. For information on the fueling station, go to www.cleanngreenfuel.com.
“ Today’s station opening will ultimately lead to cleaner, healthier air for the communities in and around Mesa and throughout the U.S.,” he said.
Mr. DeRueda said Waste Management used to use diesel trucks in Chandler, but has converted its entire fleet to CNG in the beginning of this year. “It’s a privilege to celebrate the opening of this filling station,” Chandler Councilman Jack Sellers said. “ The opening of a compressed natural gas fueling station in Mesa is significant for the entire Valley. It’s a great step forward for the advancement of alternative energy in the area,” he said.
Mr. DeRueda credited the city of Mesa for providing gas infrastructure upgrades in the area.
“ We can’t be here today without the support of the city of Mesa that helped us with some significant work in gas upgrades to this area, and hopefully we’ll help serve those residents of the city of Mesa who have CNG vehicles to come here and fuel up with our public fueling station,” he said. Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said the city is one of the largest public gas companies in the country. “One of our ongoing goals was to expand the use of natural gas vehicles,” he said. “ The problem we had is that… we had a lot of private, or city, filling facilities, which we use for own vehicles, but we had nothing for the public. This is a culmination of one of our goals as a city and a city council – to have public natural-gas facilities,” he said. “ These vehicles are more efficient. They’re quieter. They’re cleaner,” Mayor Smith said. “And they’re the wave of the future…. I hope this is not the last station we have; I hope it is the first of many. The city of Mesa is ready and willing to do whatever we can to provide this service, to help provide the raw natural resource – natural gas - and we have a large area. Our natural-gas franchise covers most of the city of Mesa, but it also covers a huge part of the San Tan Valley – out in the Magma area – in Pinal County. So, we have a lot of stations to build, a lot of cars and trucks to fill, and we are so happy for the opportunity to be part of this first endeavor.”
Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, speeches, Mesa Councilwoman Higgins, District 5, said natural gas is our future. She serves on the American Public Gas Association Board of Directors and is a member of the National League of Cities Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
“Natural gas is a bridge between oil and natural energies; we have a three (thousand) to 5,000-year supply in the country,” she said. “Natural gas is direct energy. Take natural gas and running a car as opposed to an electric car, where maybe 75 percent of electricity is from coal plants (with) an energy loss the whole way.”
Mesa’s trash trucks are run by diesel fuel, but the city has purchased a CNG truck and seven more are planned, Mike Comstock, city of Mesa interim solid waste management director, said after the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“ The next step is for us, the city, is to put in a public CNG station,” Ms. Higgins said.
Mr. Comstock said city officials are looking for sites for a public CNG station.
By Richard H. Dyer