A midstate operation of Phoenix-based Republic Services Inc. today unveiled its facility for fueling natural-gas vehicles in Manchester Township and the first of a fleet of waste and recycling trucks there that run on natural gas.
Subsidiary Republic Services of Pennsylvania LLC was among recipients named in 2011 for $4.4 million in state grants to encourage electric vehicle and compressed natural-gas fueling infrastructure, according to previous state environmental agency statements.
The company, which was awarded one of the largest grants at $500,000, does business locally as York Waste Disposal.
The initiative is a $21 million investment at the local operations, General Manager Mark Pergolese said.
Each vehicle costs about $25,000 more than a diesel-powered counterpart, but less expensive natural gas can make up that difference in about two years, he said. The trucks also create fewer emissions and are much quieter, Pergolese said.
The first of the local fleet will be on the road shortly and the rest of the 65 vehicles will be coming by the end of the year, Pergolese said.
The trucks will be replacing about two-thirds of the current diesel fleet, according to a news release. Republic Services is adding 548 natural-gas vehicles to 18 facilities this year, according to the release.
Considering Pennsylvania's rich natural-gas deposits buried deep within the Marcellus Shale geologic formation, the state and lawmakers have been backing the development of the fuel for use in transportation.
One of the more recent efforts is by state Rep. Seth Grove, R-York County, who introduced House Bill 2620 to create a natural-gas vehicle tax credit program for businesses.
The program would be temporary and represents the type of role government can play in jumpstarting an industry with so many benefits, he said.
"When you talk about energy independence, you're looking at it," Grove said while standing next to one of the trucks powered by compressed natural gas.