Lodi Unified School District’s CNG Station Helps Improve Air Quality in San Joaquin Valley

Owners and operators of natural gas-fueled vehicles in the San Joaquin Valley have a convenient place to fuel up thanks to a compressed natural gas (CNG) station that the California Energy Commission helped fund.

The Lodi Unified School District installed the station at its transportation department using funds from the Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

The CNG fueling station, which has been in service since fall 2015, serves Lodi Unified’s existing fleet of 54 CNG school buses and its light-duty support vehicles. The district has 90 school buses. The remaining ones are diesel buses equipped with diesel particulate filters.

The ARFVTP provides up to $100 million annually for technology to reduce the state’s reliance on fossil fuels, curtail greenhouse gases and meet clean air standards.

Under the ARFVTP 2016-17 Investment Plan Update, $2.5 million will be invested in natural gas fueling infrastructure. These projects reduce the state’s reliance on petroleum and helps California with its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Lodi Unified has reduced diesel fuel use since the station’s completion. Replacing 27 diesel-powered buses with CNG ones displaced approximately 64,800 gallons of diesel fuel annually.

The school district’s station serves as a backup CNG fueling station for neighboring school districts, businesses and other local fleets. The station also allows the district to provide fueling capacity for planned fleet growth over the next five years, helping to reduce emissions and improve air quality in the San Joaquin Valley.

“The CNG project has helped reduce fuel costs,” said Carlos Garcia, director of transportation for Lodi Unified. “Alternative-fueled vehicles help keep the air clean in the San Joaquin Valley, reducing the exposure of diesel fumes that can be harmful to students and the public.”

The new equipment, which is efficient and easier to maintain, helps meet the district’s clean energy needs. The district intends to continue using CNG as its main fuel source for its fleet and hopes other fleets will consider replacing diesel with natural gas vehicles, Garcia said.

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The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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