PENSACOLA, FL – The City of Pensacola, Fla.’s Mayor Ashton Hayward announced the City is planning to transition the fleet to natural-gas-powered vehicles (NGVs). In addition, local public utility Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA) is partnering with the City and plans to transition its own fleet to natural gas.

Government Fleet spoke with Travis Peterson, spokesperson for the Pensacola Mayor’s office, about the City and public utility’s plans.

As part of the initiative, the City’s natural gas utility, Energy Services of Pensacola (ESP), is partnering with the ECUA to provide fueling infrastructure. ESP will market the fueling stations to private fleets that may be considering converting to NGVs.

With the recent news that UPS is moving its regional sorting facility to Pensacola, Peterson said the company’s vehicles are potential candidates for using the fueling facility.

Under the terms of the agreement, ECUA will pay ESP a monthly transportation charge as well as an indexed price per diesel gallon equivalent of CNG fuel used by ECUA vehicles.

According to the City, ECUA plans to convert 10-15 of its vehicles in the first year of the agreement, with additional vehicles converted during the next eight years as part of normal vehicle replacement schedules. The move is expected to save ECUA in excess of $250,000 per year in maintenance costs alone, and over $1 million in annual fuel costs. Peterson said the City plans to convert roughly 10 of its vehicles to natural gas as well during this timeframe.

"Moving as many as 275 ECUA trucks from diesel to natural gas over the next ten years – plus all the NGVs the City will be converting – is going to make a huge impact on the overall air quality for the entire region," said Hayward.

The City will build three compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations throughout the greater Pensacola area as part of the agreement.

By Greg Basich