CityBus could switch to natural gas

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – “Many cities around the country have had to reduce service to make ends meet,” said CityBus General Manager Marty Sennett.

Reducing service is something Sennett does not want to ever do. That’s why, in order to cut costs, the company is looking to switch its fuel source from diesel to natural gas.

“We looked at things that were a little bit within our control, and fuel cost is one of them,” said Sennett.

The idea was proposed to CityBus about a year ago, when a Purdue student and Ag Economist Professor Wally Tyner decided to do some research.

“We did a complete model of the CityBus system, 73 buses, the lifetime of the buses, the operating cost of each one, the environmental impacts of each one, and we summarized all of that over a 15 to 20 year life period,” said Tyner.

What they found, Tyner said, is the decision to go with natural gas could be better for not only the company, but the city.

“Over a 20 year life period, there’s a good chance, about three-quarters of a chance, that you’re going to save money using this new system, and a certainty that it’s going to be environmentally cleaner,” said Tyner.

While it is an idea that could eventually save money, both Tyner and Sennett agree, the up-front cost is not cheap. In fact, it costs about $4 million just to build the fueling station.

Yet, both agree, the benefits could eventually outweigh the cost.

Sennett said they are finalizing costs and details. The proposal will then be submitted to the board of directors for approval.

Sennett said the decision should be made sometime early this summer.

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