Pensacola operates 87 RNG vehicles that were previously powered by CNG.  -  Photo: City of Pensacola

Pensacola operates 87 RNG vehicles that were previously powered by CNG.

Photo: City of Pensacola

The city of Pensacola, Florida, is swapping one clean fuel for another. The city's 87 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles have now switched to renewable natural gas (RNG).

The RNG vehicles consist of refuse trucks, recycling trucks, and Pensacola Energy crew service vehicles. 

CNG to RNG: What's Involved

In this case, when switching fuel types, no change to the vehicle is needed. When transitioning a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle to CNG, a CNG kit must be installed. But when transitioning from CNG to RNG, no change or retrofit is required. According to the Natural Gas Vehicle Institute, RNG is compatible with any CNG vehicle. Both CNG and RNG are primarily composed of methane, so the end product is the same.

While CNG vehicles are 20% cleaner at the tailpipe than gasoline or diesel, RNG is 98- to 100% cleaner at the tailpipe, a city spokesperson told Government Fleet.

Because RNG comes from organic material that has absorbed CO2 from the atmosphere, it's carbon neutral. When it’s collected more than it emits, it’s even considered carbon negative. This is why some argue it’s a better green alternative to electric vehicles (EVs), the Natural Gas Vehicle Institute noted.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center, retrofitters can convert many light- and medium-duty vehicles for natural gas operation. Natural gas engines and fueling systems are also available for some heavy-duty vehicles.

The change from CNG to RNG was made possible through an agreement signed by Pensacola Energy to purchase RNG for use in the city's vehicles that previously used CNG.  -  Photo: City of Pensacola

The change from CNG to RNG was made possible through an agreement signed by Pensacola Energy to purchase RNG for use in the city's vehicles that previously used CNG.

Photo: City of Pensacola

The city's transition to RNG was made possible through an agreement signed by Pensacola Energy to purchase RNG for use in the city's fleet vehicles that had previously used CNG.

This transition moves the city of Pensacola 7.62% closer to its 30% renewable energy by 2030 goal.

About the author
Christy Grimes

Christy Grimes

Senior Editor

Christy Grimes is a Senior Editor at Bobit, working on Automotive Fleet and Government Fleet publications. She has also written for School Bus Fleet.

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