Philadelphia still lacks infrastructure for natural gas vehicles

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 A compressed natural gas pump in Pennsylvania (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

A compressed natural gas pump in Pennsylvania (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

Talk of the future fuel for municipal vehicles in Philadelphia has been part of the ongoing budget hearings in City Hall. 

Vehicles powered by compressed natural gas — or CNG — run cleanly, cheaply and efficiently, but the city of Philadelphia isn’t moving to buy them because there’s no infrastructure to support them, according to city fleet manager Chris Cocci.

“The biggest drawback is we don’t have a facility to repair these vehicles, the other drawback is a fuel station,” he said. “We’ve been working with PGW on trying to get fuel or gas to some of our sanitation depots and one of our water department depots.”

The city has done a cost-benefit analysis on CNG use, Cocci said.

“Return on our investment for those trucks would be a 15-year investment,” he concluded.

Upgrading the system to handle the clean-air vehicles — with capital funds — has been proposed.

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