Fleet Conversion to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)
Approximately 18% of our fleet operates on natural gas. We expect to continue our gradual fleet conversion to CNG, our preferred alternative fuel technology, as part of our ordinary annual fleet replacement process. We believe a gradual fleet conversion is most prudent to realize the full value of our previous fleet investments. Approximately 36% of our replacement vehicle purchases during 2016 were CNG vehicles. We believe using CNG vehicles provides us a competitive advantage in communities with strict clean emission initiatives that focus on protecting the environment. Although upfront capital costs are higher, using CNG reduces our overall fleet operating costs through lower fuel expenses. As of December 31, 2016, we operated 38 CNG fueling stations.
Based on an industry trade publication, we operate the eighth largest vocational fleet in the United States. As of December 31, 2016, our average fleet age in years, by line of business, was as follows:
Approximate Number of Vehicles
Approximate Average Age
OneFleet, our standardized vehicle maintenance program, enables us to use best practices for fleet management, truck care and maintenance. Through standardization of core functions, we believe we can minimize variability in our maintenance processes, resulting in higher vehicle quality and a lower environmental footprint, while extending the average service life of our fleet. We believe operating a more reliable, greener, safer and more efficient fleet will lower our operating costs. We have implemented standardized maintenance programs for approximately 92% of our fleet maintenance operations as of December 31, 2016. We expect the entire fleet will be certified under OneFleet by the second quarter of 2017.
In January 2016, we realigned our field support functions by combining our three regions into two field groups, consolidating our areas and streamlining select operational support roles at our Phoenix headquarters. Following our restructuring, our senior management now evaluates, oversees and manages the financial performance of our operations through two field groups, referred to as Group 1 and Group 2. Group 1 primarily consists of geographic areas located in the western and portions of the mid-western United States, and Group 2 primarily consists of geographic areas located in Texas, the southeastern and portions of the mid-western United States, and the eastern seaboard of the United States. Each field group is organized into several areas and each area contains multiple business units or operating locations. Each of our field groups and all of our areas provide collection, transfer, recycling and landfill services. See Note 14, Segment Reporting, to our consolidated financial statements in Item 8 of this Form 10-K for further discussion of our operating segments.
People and Talent Agenda
The goal of our people and talent agenda pillar is to create an environment to attract and retain the best talent. Our people continue to be the most critical component in successfully executing our strategy. We strive to make Republic a desirable place to work for our approximately 33,000 full-time employees by creating learning experiences, programs, compensation and benefits that attract, develop, train, engage, motivate, reward and retain the best workforce. With a focus on safety, learning and talent development, and diversity and inclusion, we aspire to be a company where the best people want to work and are engaged every day.
Republic is dedicated to the safety of our employees, customers and the communities we serve. Due to the nature of our industry, we prioritize safety above all else and we recognize and reward employees for outstanding safety records. Over the past nine years, our safety performance (based on OSHA recordable rates) has been 41% better than the industry average. Our Think, Choose, Live slogan encapsulates our everyday safety messaging to our employees to: Think about what you are doing, Choose the safe answer, and Live to go home to your family. With the phrase printed on numerous items, including hard hats and the equipment our employees touch, there are constant reminders for employees to go home in the same condition that they came to work. Our goal is to ensure every one of our employees returns home safely each night.
We are proud of our two safety incentive programs: Dedicated to Safety and Dedicated to Excellence. For Dedicated to Safety, employees must meet all safety requirements for the year, including no preventable accidents and no safety warnings. For