Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus (BBB) fleet reduced its carbon footprint by replacing conventional diesel with biomethane from a local landfill.

Santa Monica uses biomethane, harvested from organic waste in landfills, as fuel for the 200 vehicles in its BBB fleet. The new fuel, created by Clean Energy Fuel Corp., produces 90% less CO2 emissions than conventional diesel. The project not only reduces the Big Blue Bus fleet footprint — responsible for 50% of municipal operations emissions — but also recycles the methane emissions of the landfill. The initiative helped the city surpass a goal stated in its 15×15 Climate Action Plan, as it reduced city CO2 emissions by 13,480 metric tons in 2015 compared to the projected 8,000 metric tons.

64% decrease in the bus fleet’s CO2 emissions since 2014

Cities100 – 2016

The transformation of the bus fleet is popular with residents and visitors; from 2014 to 2015, nearly 19 million passengers rode the BBB. The project has established Big Blue Bus as one of the United States’ first municipal transit authorities to convert its entire fleet to a liquefied renewable natural gas fuel.

The challenge

Santa Monica’s municipal operations account for nearly 10% of the city’s total emissions. The city government addresses this by using landfill-captured biomethane as fuel for its bus fleet — simultaneously targeting emissions from the city’s landfill and from transportation.


Economic Santa Monica’s transition to a cleaner transportation fuel was cost neutral, as the municipality saves on the fuel purchase of the biomethane, which is collected directly from the city’s own landfills.

Environmental The project has reduced emissions equivalent to removing 1,296 automobiles from its streets.

Health Santa Monica experiences a decrease in noise pollution as the biomethane-fueled buses operate more quietly than diesel-fueled buses.

About Santa Monica

Santa Monica is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, United States. The Census Bureau population for Santa Monica in 2010 was 89,736. Due in part to an agreeable climate, Santa Monica became a famed resort town by the early 20th century. The city has experienced a boom since the late 1980s through the revitalization of its downtown core, significant job growth and increased tourism. The Santa Monica Pier remains a popular destination.

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