California City Slims Down with Mack® TerraPro®

The City of Pomona is watching its weight and Mack Trucks is helping the city with its portion control by delivering some trim trucks.

A lot of trucks tend to exceed the bridge weight laws here,” said Howard Morris, the city’s solid waste manager, from his office in this Los Angeles County city of 150,000. “Mack had solved the problem. They did a good job of spec’ing the truck with a lighter suspension,” he said of the team from TEC Equipment in La Mirada. “It’s a truck that is tailor-made for California.”

He’s talking about the MACK TerraPro compressed natural gas (CNG) truck, a vehicle as concerned with slimming down as saving fuel. The city replaced its entire fleet with 20 TerraPro Low Entry side-loaders and two rear-loading vehicles, all running 320-HP Cummins® Westport ISL G engines.

It was just the diet that the doctor ordered — or in this case, the state. “Our old fleet was falling apart,” Morris said. “Breakdowns were costing us a lot of overtime.” The South Coast Air Quality Management District ruled out the purchase of diesel trucks in the region. Pomona could either retrofit existing trucks with natural gas engines or buy new vehicles that run on the fuel.

Morris said the air-quality mandate changed the city’s operation in two good ways: the trucks are quieter and they save money on fuel. “It’s $2-plus per 1,000 cubic feet (million BTUs) of natural gas and diesel is bouncing around $4 a gallon. We haven’t had the trucks in service for a full year but I know we’re going to save money on fuel.”

The success of TerraPro CNG trucks in Pomona and other areas is paving the way for the next generation of Mack natural gas vehicles, according to Dan Huntsinger of TEC Equipment. “We have a lot of customers who run transfer tractors who are waiting for this. We see a market for MACK® Pinnacle™ models with natural gas engines.”

Huntsinger and Morris aren’t the only ones who are pleased with the TerraPro models. Drivers, city council members, even homeowners are impressed, although residents think the trucks slimmed down a little too much in one area.

The truck is a lot quieter,” Morris said. “A lot of people would hear a diesel truck and rush their trash out to the curb. Now they call us and say, ‘Hey, you missed me.’ The trucks are that quiet.”