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Lakewood Greening Fleets

Case Story
Image of a Compressed Natural Gas Pump

Community: Lakewood (Los Angeles County)

Population: 83,636

Summary

The City of Lakewood concentrates its green fleet purchases on vehicles that use compressed natural gas (CNG). Lakewood maintains a fleet of about 100 light-duty vehicles, 27 of which are CNG fueled vehicles. The CNG vehicles include cars, vans, and pick-up trucks, and Lakewood has two CNG filling stations to serve them. The city pays for new CNG vehicles from its general fund and external funding sources that support air quality improvements.

Program Highlights

  • City has two CNG filling stations at maintenance yards.
  • About 27 percent of the city’s fleet is CNG fueled, including cars, vans, and pick-up trucks.
  • Lakewood purchases alternative-fueled vehicles through Los Angeles County’s procurement program to gain access to lower prices available through the county’s larger purchase contracts.
  • Preference for alternative-fuel vehicles is included in the city’s bid specifications for purchasing vehicles.

Lessons Learned

  • The lack of availability of replacement parts for fueling stations can be challenging.
  • When evaluating whether to switch to CNG vehicles, it is important to consider the availability of the vehicles, as well as the costs and benefits of converting vehicles to use CNG, as an alternative.
  • External funding sources supporting air quality improvements can assist with the costs of purchasing vehicles and support infrastructure.

Resources to Learn More

The Rest of the Story…

The City of Lakewood explored several options for alternative-fuel vehicles, including electric and propane, before deciding to concentrate on compressed natural gas (CNG). At the time the city decided on CNG vehicles, several manufacturers offered CNG powered cars and other light-duty vehicles. Since 1999, the city has purchased 27 CNG vehicles, including cars, vans, and pick-up trucks, and installed two CNG filling stations to serve them.

Lakewood pays for new CNG vehicles from its general fund and air quality funding sources when they are available, such as through the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Committee (MSRC). By “piggybacking” on Los Angeles County’s procurement program, Lakewood is able to take advantage of the county’s larger purchase contracts to gain more favorable pricing than it might otherwise.

Based on Lakewood’s experience, a key issue when considering a similar focus on CNG is that vehicle manufacturers do not consistently offer CNG powered vehicles. When evaluating whether to switch to CNG, it is important to consider the availability of the vehicles. As an alternative, cities and counties interested in CNG may wish to explore the costs and benefits of converting gasoline-fueled vehicles to use CNG.

 

Compiled in May 2010

This case story was prepared with generous support from AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah.

 

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