Waste Management has been a pioneer and a national leader in the use of natural gas for heavy duty trucks since the 1990s. Today, we operate more than 2,400 natural gas collection vehicles — the largest heavy-duty natural gas fleet in the country. In 2007 as part of our sustainability goals, we committed to increase the fuel efficiency of our fleet by 15 percent and reduce emissions by 15 percent by 2020. I’m proud to say we’ve already exceeded our 2020 goal to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from our fleet, ahead of schedule, and we have reported a dramatic improvement in per-mile emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate material.
But we are just getting started in this area. We recently announced the opening of our 50th natural gas fueling station, a significant milestone as we continue to convert our heavy-duty collection fleet to natural gas and strive to reduce fleet emissions and increase fuel efficiency. At a ceremony in Jackson, Mississippi, government officials joined Waste Management to dedicate the fueling station and the fleet, which will service routes in the communities in and around the city.
Compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel will also be made available to Jackson municipalities, businesses and the public through the new CNG retail station. Of our 50 fueling stations across North America, 18 are accessible to the public. Waste Management owns the stations, purchases the fuel and funds their construction, which allows the company to secure competitive prices.
We are very pleased with the progress we have made to date and look forward to the environmental, and economic, benefits yet to be captured as we continue to convert our 32,000 collection and support vehicles to natural gas.