Romes first consignment of new methane buses will begin servicing some of the citys most polluted routes in February. Rome city bus company Atac expects to put around 30 new buses on the road each month until July, when the 200-strong methane fleet will be complete.

The 53 million initiative will reduce pollutants such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide by 60 tonnes/year as well as lowering carbon dioxide emissions by 30 per cent. On top of this, the new additions will be less noisy and make huge savings on fuel: a bus can travel 100km on 20 of methane, whereas the old buses use 44 of petrol to cover the same distance.

Atac plans to put some of its older vehicles into retirement as the new buses arrive and its resulting fleet will be the youngest in Italy, with an average age of between 4.7 and 5.5 years.