Waste Management is going to throw oil based fuels under the bus- or waste truck. WM is the latest in a growing number of companies switching their fleets to CNG, compressed natural gas, according to several sources. In addition to making the switch over to its vehicles, WM also is opening natural gas filling stations in various parts of the United States, prompted by some state and local funding to help increase the use of CNG.

In a previous statement, WM said they would increase their use of CNG trucks in their fleet- from five to 40 in the Houston area alone, as well as adding 25 in Ohio. Overall, WM currently has 1,400 CNG vehicles in its fleet of 17,000, but is rapidly converting existing diesel trucks to CNG as the cost savings is substantial.

"Currently we have 17,000 vehicles, with 1,400 CNG vehicles on the road, and we'll start with 25 (CNG) here, then over the next couple of years we'll completely replace our diesel fleet with CNG vehicles," said Waste Management spokesperson Beth Schmucker, according to The Canal Winchester Times.

"The current price of CNG is about $2 for a gallon of fuel while diesel is more like $4.10 a gallon. That's a quite significant amount of savings," Schmucker said.

WM is also opening a CNG fueling station in Canal Winchester, the first WM has opened in Ohio. "This new fueling facility will give us the direct capability to fuel a CNG fleet in the Columbus area, and with the CNG fleet, we'll lower our fleet emissions, helping to reduce our dependence on foreign oil," said Frank Fello, Waste Management Ohio, senior district manager.

"The company as a whole has a sustainability goal which includes reducing emissions by 15 percent while increasing fuel efficiency by 15 percent by the year 2020," Schmucker said.

WM also recently opened a CNG filling station in Conroe, TX. "Since natural gas-powered collection trucks run cleaner and quieter, we've made the commitment to use more in our local operations and support them and our community by opening a public CNG station," said Don Smith, area vice president for Waste Management in the Texas and Oklahoma region. "We are dedicated to providing our customers with outstanding service while doing business in the most sustainable manner possible."

"Waste Management already operates over 1,400 CNG vehicles, the largest fleet of CNG recycling and waste collection trucks in North America," said Eric Woods, vice president of Fleet & Logistics, Waste Management. "Each additional Class 8 diesel truck we replace with natural gas reduces diesel use by an average of 8,000 gallons per year and cuts annual greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 22 metric tons.

"In 2012, natural gas vehicles will represent 80 percent of our annual new truck purchases and continue for the next five years. We also have 28 fueling stations in North America and plan to have 50 in operation by the end of 2012."

CNG seems certainly to have appeal to bigger companies with large fleets- but would you consider it?