Photo of City of Long Beach's Elgin LNG sweeper by Paul Clinton.

Photo of City of Long Beach's Elgin LNG sweeper by Paul Clinton.

The City of Long Beach (Calif.) has reduced its fuel costs by nearly 60% annually and significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions, after updating its fleet of LNG-powered street sweepers in 2008.

Over the past year, liquid natural gas fuel has cost the city an average of $1.66 per gallon, while the city spends an average of $3.98 for diesel fuel for its other vehicles. Fuel for the sweepers costs more than 58 percent less.

The city has been using a front line fleet of 20 Elgin Pelican LNG sweepers since September 2003. The second generation units have been in service since October of 2008. The sweepers clean about 150,000 curb miles per year, said Dan Berlenbach, manager of the city's Fleet Service Bureau.

"To our knowledge, we are the only City in the nation using an LNG-powered street sweeper," Berlenbach said.

On the second-generation units, the city worked with Elgin to design a larger LNG tank with a capacity of 97 gallons for the sweepers. The first-generation units had a 60 gallon tank. Accomodating the larger tank required Elgin to extend the truck's frame by 18 inches.

By using the sweepers, the city has saved 797,488 gallons of fuel and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 915 tons since 2008, Berlenbach said.

By Paul Clinton