Home Energy and Environment Arlington Commits to New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure: 13 Methane-fueled Buses

Arlington Commits to New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure: 13 Methane-fueled Buses


By Will Driscoll, Arlington 350 core group member

Arlington has contracted to buy 13 natural gas (methane)-fueled buses, even though electric buses, which can run on solar or wind power, are widely available.  Because the contract is with New Flyer, which also makes electric buses, Arlington could ask to renegotiate the contract and specify electric buses.

Electric buses can provide transit savings, per Bloomberg New Energy Finance, when fuel and maintenance expenses are considered.

Los Angeles has ordered 160 electric buses from manufacturers New Flyer and BYD, and 25 more from Proterra.  New York, Philadelphia and Washington combined will receive 50 Proterra buses this year, while Seattle is testing electric buses from three different manufacturers.

Arlington’s 13 new methane-powered buses will cause pollution over an expected life of 12 years and 500,000 miles.  The methane to power them is obtained via fracking, which contaminates groundwater and releases methane to the atmosphere. Methane has a global warming potential 56 times greater than carbon dioxide.  Combustion of methane produces carbon dioxide.

China is way ahead on electric buses; Chinese manufacturer BYD has sold electric buses to 200 cities worldwide.

  • And Arlington continues to be cool with fossil fuel propaganda (“Powered by Clean Natural Gas” – false!) on the buses. WTF, Arlington? You really disappoint me sometimes.

  • RobertColgan

    The next Board of Directors meeting for the Metro Transit which is buying the buses is FEB 22 ….they take public comment, but the issue under discussion —-electric rather than CNG—-is not allowed at Board meetings: “…disputes concerning the award or administration of specific contracts will not be allowed in this forum” . . .but objections and other comments can be submitted as stated:

    The MetroTransit Board has some credentialed members:

    • Will_Driscoll

      Arlington Transit (“ART”), not WMATA, has contracted for the buses.

      See first link in story: https://www.newflyer.com/2017/12/arlington-transit-expands-low-emission-fleet-cng-buses-new-flyer/

      • RobertColgan

        Ohhhh…..when the referenced story said
        “The order is a new purchase based on a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) contract and will deliver ART’s first New Flyer transit buses. The contract was produced by an assignment based on intergovernmental reciprocity agreement in the DC area”
        I assumed the two transportation agencies were linked.
        Sorry for my misconstruction.

        Methane is a fossil gas ~30x more potent an atmospheric greenhouse threat than CO2.

        • Will_Driscoll

          The first sentence of the linked press release says “Arlington Transit (“ART”) has awarded New Flyer with a contract for 13 Xcelsior® compressed natural gas (CNG) forty-foot, heavy-duty transit buses….”