NEW HAVEN, CT – The City of New Haven unveiled its first hybrid refuse truck. The City said it will result in a 30-percent savings, or $5,000, in fuel consumption on an annual basis and will result in reduced maintenance costs due to the extension of the truck’s brakes lifespan (four times longer than traditional brakes).

The hybrid garbage truck has a hydraulic hybrid system. While braking, the vehicle engages a pump to pressurize a reservoir of hydraulic fluid. As the truck starts moving forward again, the fluid runs through a hydraulic motor, boosting the truck forward and reducing the strain on the diesel engine. This type of hybrid system works most effectively in vehicles that start and stop frequently, such as refuse trucks.

The vehicle cost the City $388,000, $70,000 of which was from a grant, obtained by the City’s Office of Sustainability, from Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Clean Fuel Vehicle Program. This grant money covers the incremental cost of the hybrid system over a traditional truck.

The City has fleet of nine refuse trucks and plans to replace them with hybrids at the end of each truck’s lifespan. On average, each vehicle transports 3,888 tons of municipal solid waste per year. The City has a total of 14 hybrids in its fleet, 13 of which are cars or small SUVs, plus the refuse truck.

In related sustainability efforts, the City said that in 2007, it started using B50 biodiesel in its fleet, the highest percentage of biodiesel in the Northeast. The City also installed solar-powered lights on a police cruiser as a pilot to cut down on idling, retrofitted all school buses with pollution control devices, and will be retrofitting the entire refuse fleet as well.