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City of San Diego Opens New Facility to Power Trash Trucks with Natural Gas


City of San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer announced the City has taken an important step toward switching its entire fleet of refuse and recycling collection trucks from diesel to natural gas.

“By transitioning to compressed natural gas, we’re making our fleet greener and saving money at the same time,” Mayor Faulconer said. “This is a win-win for San Diegans and will help us reach our climate action goals.”

Last month, the City completed the second phase of construction on a new CNG fueling station at the Environmental Services Department’s Collection Services facility on Miramar Place. There are now 13 operational fueling posts that can each fill up two CNG vehicles simultaneously.

The City currently has 20 CNG vehicles operating in its fleet that have already begun to use the new station. Once fully built out, the station will allow the City to replace its existing fleet of 131 diesel-powered collection vehicles with CNG vehicles by 2022—one of the goals in Mayor Faulconer’s Climate Action Plan—and reduce the amount of diesel fuel consumed by more than one million gallons annually.

In addition to the environmental benefits, CNG is significantly cheaper than diesel. Based on current fuel prices, this project will save the City between $1 million and $1.5 million annually in fuel costs once the entire fleet is fully converted. Estimates show that by constructing the facility and compressing the needed fuel for the vehicles, the City of San Diego will be paying less than $1 per DGE of natural gas compared to the average of $2.39 per diesel gallon.

Once complete, the fueling facility will have the ability to fill up to 152 vehicles simultaneously. The City also plans to purchase additional CNG vehicles—including 20 more included in the fiscal year 2018 budget proposal—as the existing diesel trucks reach the end of their useful lives, ultimately converting the entire fleet by 2022.

The total $5.3 million fueling station project is funded partially by a $250,000 grant from the California Energy Commission and $2 million from the City’s Recycling Enterprise Fund. The remaining costs will be covered by the City’s operating budget, or General Fund.