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Waste Management CEO Seeks Tax Breaks for CNG Truck Conversion

The company already powers 18% of its fleet with compressed natural gas.

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David Steiner, president and CEO of Houston-based Waste Management, is calling for federal assistance to speed the conversion of trucking fleets from diesel to compressed natural gas

In 2007, Waste Management set a goal of cutting its fleet emissions of carbon dioxide 15 percent by 2020. The company wound up cutting emissions by 20 percent as early as 2012, largely thanks to the availability of cheap natural gas as a replacement for diesel.

“We can get to 40, 50 percent [emissions reductions] by 2020 by using natural gas,” Steiner says. He notes that several other major fleet operators are starting to follow his company’s lead – including FedEx, UPS, and AT&T. But he says that cheap natural gas alone won’t be enough to speed up the conversion process.

“So how do you do that?” Steiner says. “You do it by helping the manufacturers create better technology and then incentivize fleet folks like us to buy those natural gas trucks. Give us a tax incentive to buy those natural gas trucks.”

In addition to reducing carbon emissions, Waste Management estimates the switchover to compressed natural gas has already saved the company $1 billion in operational costs. Natural gas vehicles now account for 18 percent of the company’s fleet.

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(from left to right): Eric Woods, vice president of fleet, Waste Management; David Steiner, president and CEO, Waste Management; Shelley Whitworth, air quality program manager, Houston-Galveston Area Council; T. Boone Pickens, chairman and CEO, BP Capital

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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