LAKE JACKSON, TEXAS – Lake Jackson city officials were trying to leave a lighter footprint when they started purchasing compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles six years ago.

Today, the benefits of that decision also include reduced fuel costs, according to While some cities are paying $4 or more per gallon to fill up garbage trucks and street sweepers, Lake Jackson is topping off its fleet of 14 CNG-powered garbage trucks, 15 CNG-powered pickups, and three CNG-powered compact cars for a measly $1.29 per gallon.

Public Works Director Craig Nisbett said that amounts to a savings of about $130,000 per year. Since the engines inside the vehicles are dedicated CNG ones — not converted gasoline engines — they get comparable mileage to their gasoline and diesel counterparts.

But while the city saves money at the pump with the vehicles, they did have to purchase a special fueling station in 2002 at price tag of $250,000 said. And last year, the city expanded it at a cost of another $200,000 because of a growing fleet. However, the actual cost of the expansion was roughly $50,000 because the city received a $150,000 grant toward construction for attempting to reduce nitrous oxide ozone emissions in the Houston-Galveston area.

The city also has received about $20,000 in grants for each CNG-powered garbage truck it purchases and gets $2,000 in rebates from the U.S. Department of Energy for each pickup and compact car it purchases.

The fueling station basically is a large compressor that pressurizes regular natural gas for use as fuel. The gas, which comes out of a normal natural gas line, is bought from CenterPoint and then compressed.”

The garbage trucks are filled up each night and the pickups and compact cars are filled up similar to how gasoline-fueled vehicles pull up to the pump at local gas stations.

In the future, the city would like to purchase more CNG-powered vehicles.