CHESAPEAKE, VA - The City of Chesapeake, Va., will convert its fleet of solid waste collection trucks from diesel fuel to cleaner burning compressed natural gas (CNG) and will construct a CNG refueling station for use by the solid waste fleet and the public, City Manager William Harrell announced July 21.

Based on current fuel prices, the conversion is expected to save the City approximately $1.75 per gallon, or $14,000 per year, per truck. When the entire fleet is converted, the savings could amount to more than $740,000 in annual fuel costs. Replacement of the 53-truck fleet is expected to take six years, following the City's normal truck replacement schedule, according to a release from the City.

The City recently completed order of six CNG refuse units for delivery early next year, Mike McColgan, fleet service coordinator, told GF.

Chesapeake has received inquiries from other Hampton Roads cities planning similar conversions and seeking to use the Chesapeake CNG station as a refuel point. Additionally, state vehicles are being converted to CNG under a plan outlined by Governor Bob McDonnell.

Municipalities or other fleet operators interested in accessing the Chesapeake CNG facility are asked to contact Chesapeake's fleet manager, George Hrichak, as soon as possible. "As we start the design process for the CNG station be want to ensure the station is expandable and has the capacity to meet our present and future fueling needs," Hrichak stated. "Taking into consideration the future fueling needs of the local public and private fleets is crucial to the success of the station."

Sale of CNG fuel to other agencies, as well as to private individuals with appropriate vehicles, will help offset the costs to construct the CNG station, the release stated.

George Hrichak can be reached at 757-382-3375.