L.A. Metro Retires Last Diesel Bus, Now Relies on Cleaner CNG Buses

la metro bus cng photo

Photo: biofriendly, CC

Reducing Air Pollution

The last diesel bus in the 2,228 vehicle fleet of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) was recently retired, making Metro the first major transit agency in the world to operate only "alternative" fuel buses. They now have 2,221 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses, one electric, and six gasoline-electric hybrid buses.

la metro bus cng photo

Photo: planetc1, CC

Cutting CO2 and PM Emissions

This should improve air quality in one of America's smoggiest regions because using CNG instead of diesel reduces particulate matter (PM) emissions by more than 80%. The switch also avoids the emissions of nearly 300,000 lbs of greenhouse gas each day.

"The American Lung Association in California applauds Metro's accomplishment in converting their transit fleet from older diesel buses to cleaner natural gas buses," said Jane Warner, President and CEO for the American Lung Association in California. "By acquiring cleaner fueled buses, Metro is helping to address the region's serious pollution problems and reduce smog related illnesses and deaths."

"When I was growing up in Los Angeles, I remember days when the air was too smoggy to go outside and play, and today we understand how crucial clean air is for the health of our kids and communities," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "I'm proud that our entirely clean fueled fleet is a key element of greening Los Angeles, and we're simultaneously improving mobility, customer service and air quality with these new clean fueled buses." (source)

CNG buses cost about 10 to 15 percent more to operate than standard diesel engine buses, but the value of a cleaner air more than compensates for this (including in healthcare costs). It is also possible that natural gas costs will stay low while diesel costs will rise in the mid-term, so it could become an even better deal. Of course it would be even better to run the buses on biogas instead of fossil fuels...

Via Los Angeles County Transportation Authority

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