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An electric trash truck during a 2019 demonstration in Germany. Photo: Frank Rumpenhorst/picture alliance via Getty Images

Des Moines is embracing electric cars as its first choice to replace old vehicles as they're retired from the city's fleet, according to its finance director.

  • That includes plans to electrify trash trucks as technology and market availability make their purchase more feasible.

Why it matters: Des Moines has about three dozen trash trucks that accounted for almost half of the city's total diesel use (437K gallons) last year.

  • Their eventual replacements to electric or 100% biodiesel would cut CO2 emissions by an estimated 2,200 tons a year.

The big picture: Truck makers began testing electric garbage trucks in the last year or so, promoting them as zero emissions and quieter than the typical diesel counterpart.

  • New York City and Toms River, New Jersey, are among the first local governments to use them.

By the numbers: Diesel-powered garbage trucks generally cost between $200K to $350K, while electric trucks cost around $550K, according to the Asbury Park Press.

  • DSM's electric cars cost about $5K more than a gas-powered one.
  • Yes, but: Maintenance and fuel/energy costs are lower and produce long-term savings.

Between the lines: DSM's first opportunity to buy electric trash, snowplow or dump trucks will likely be in 2025 or later, based on the city's purchasing process, finance director Nickolas Schaul told Axios.

  • In the meantime, new technology allows the city to retrofit some of its larger trucks with systems that use B100, a 100% biodiesel fuel.

Of note: DSM's 726-vehicle fleet currently has four electric cars, and the city plans to add 14 more in the next year.

🎸 Thought bubble: Does anybody else think "The Electric Trash Trucks" could be a good band name?

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Go deeper

Sep 16, 2021 - Economy & Business

Ford adds jobs to meet soaring demand for electric F-150 Lightning

Ford's first F-150 Lightning pickup truck prototypes are rolling out of the factory in Dearborn, Mich., for real-world testing. Photo: Ford Motor

The electric Ford F-150 Lightning pickup hasn't even gone on sale yet, but demand is so hot that the company is already expanding production.

Driving the news: The first Lightning prototypes are leaving Ford's Dearborn, Mich., factory for real-world testing, with the truck available to customers next spring.

34 mins ago - Health

The COVID booster vaccine discussion is far from over

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An FDA advisory panel may have green-lighted a third shot of the Pfizer vaccine for a somewhat narrow slice of the population, but the messy process of figuring out who should get another shot of the vaccine — and when — has likely just begun.

Why it matters: Many vaccinated Americans are worried about their level of protection as the pandemic continues to rage. The piecemeal booster decision-making process may be the best way to keep pace with the science, but it's also at risk of becoming extremely confusing.

2 hours ago - World

UN chief urges U.S. and China to fix "dysfunctional relationship"

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during a Sept. 13 press conference in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / Coffini/AFP via Getty Images

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres raised concerns in an interview with AP, published Monday, of another Cold War between the U.S. and China.

Why it matters: Guterres made the comments ahead of this week's UN General Assembly in New York. Guterres told AP the U.S.-U.K. deal to provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia "is just one small piece of a more complex puzzle ... this completely dysfunctional relationship between China and the United States."