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Louisville Trucking Company Plans Switch to Natural Gas Vehicles

A Louisville-based trucking company is planning to replace its entire fleet with natural gas-powered vehicles.M&M Cartage—a trucking company that has most of its fleet in Louisville—has already begun switching its trucks from diesel to compressed natural gas. In four years, the company will have replaced all 120 of its older vehicles with CNG trucks.This move will have a significant effect on the company’s carbon footprint. Vehicles that run on compressed natural gas have drastically lower emissions than those that run on diesel or gasoline (though drilling for natural gas has environmental effects, too). Hayden says about 70 percent of his fleet was built before 2006, which means they aren’t subject to stricter pollution controls.Kentucky is giving M&M $800,000 in economic incentives for the project. But it’ll be millions more for the company to build a CNG fueling station and buy the new trucks themselves.M&M CEO Don Hayden said there are many reasons the company is planning the switch to natural gas.“It helps us control our fuel costs, hopefully to be competitive in the marketplace going forward,” he said. “It’s a domestic product, it’s not a foreign product. There are just so many things lining up in its favor.”And he said the large amount of money the company is spending makes sense, when the benefits from using natural gas are taken into account. CNG in Louisville is currently about $2.49 for the equivalent of a gallon. Diesel is currently around $3.78.M&M will replace its trucks gradually over the next few years. There’s already one CNG station in Louisville open to the public: it’s run by Waste Management, which switched several of its trucks to CNG recently.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.