Cherriots, also known as Salem Area Mass Transit District (SAMTD), has entered a renewable natural gas (RNG) supply agreement with U.S. Gain, a renewable fuel provider that specializes in RNG for medium- and heavy-duty fleets throughout the U.S.
More than half of the district’s buses now operate on RNG, which reduces harmful smog forming tailpipe emissions by more than 90% and greenhouse gas emissions by more than 40%. Switching to RNG is also giving SAMTD a significant financial benefit. The cost savings from using RNG will allow Cherriots to expand its bus service and will help to maintain affordable fare prices.
“Clean public transit is key as we move toward a more healthy, sustainable and equitable Oregon,” says Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. “Transportation is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon, as well as other harmful pollutants that put vulnerable communities at risk. We need to rapidly decarbonize the transportation sector, including medium- and heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and buses.”
According to NW Natural, RNG is a zero-carbon resource produced from local, organic materials like food, agricultural and forestry waste, wastewater or landfills. As these materials decompose, they produce methane that can be captured, conditioned to pipeline quality and delivered in the existing pipeline system to homes and businesses where it can be used in existing natural gas appliances, equipment and vehicles. This process closes the loop on waste and provides a renewable energy option for the natural gas system, in the same way that wind and solar are used to generate renewable electricity.
Cherriots currently has 34 of its 64 buses in its fleet running on RNG. The return-to-base fleet obtains RNG via U.S. Gain by transporting the gas from a landfill to the fleet through traditional natural gas infrastructure.