The Tyler City Council agreed Wednesday to accept a $142,761 state grant to help purchase three new trash collection trucks that operate on the alternative fuel source.
“This is a grant (that) staff applied for from the Texas Railroad Commission,” Fleet Administrator Russ Jackson said.
Acceptance of the grant means the city can move forward with the purchase of those vehicles, which cost a combined $917,819, he said.
Tyler is trying to capitalize on the abundance of natural gas at its doorstep by test driving new technology that features a compressed natural gas to power city vehicles.
The city launched the fuel program in March to drive down costs and support regional exploration.
As part of the new initiative, the city worked with private partners that made start-up investments for vehicles and a fueling station.
EOG Resources chipped in $25,000 to sponsor two natural gas-powered vehicles; Tanos Exploration stepped up with another $15,000.
Centerpoint Energy gave roughly $8,000 in infrastructure improvements to help jumpstart the project.
Mayor Barbara Bass said the efforts have been worth it.
“We're moving into CNG more and more and getting good results,” she said.
The mayor said earlier the city's move to explore the benefits of the new technology is a natural, given Tyler and East Texas' legacy in oil and gas.
The Haynesville Shale, which is said to contain enough natural gas to fuel the country for the next 100 years, lies in portions of East Texas and Louisiana.
The city initially tested the technology in a handful of work trucks, including two garbage trucks and a forklift, to see whether the fuel source can be a viable alternative to gasoline and diesel.
Receiving good results, officials expanded the fleet to include about 19 vehicles, records show.
Jackson said the new technology is not perfect, but the overall results have been mostly positive and cost beneficial.
Vehicles running on compressed natural gas are averaging about the same miles per gallon as gasoline, officials said.
Last month, the city was paying on average about $2 per gallon for fuel, compared to about $3.50 a gallon many other drivers paid at the pump for regular gasoline.
“We're using about 2,100 gallons of CNG a month,” Jackson said.
Earlier this year, the city was using 700,000 gallons of gasoline in about a year, priced anywhere from $3.50 to $4 a gallon,
Officials said it would be difficult to calculate a precise savings per vehicle because the fleet varies in size, ranging from jumbo-sized garbage collection trucks to lawn mowers.