Last Modified: Monday, July 16, 2012 4:27 PM
At the urging of City Councilman Rodney Geyen, Lake Charles city officials are taking a new look at alternative fuels for public vehicles.
In recent months, Geyen — who represents District C — has been adamant about City Hall researching the costs and savings of using natural gas to run its vehicles.
Geyen told fellow City Council members and City Hall officials Lafayette Consolidated Government is saving fuel costs by using natural gas.
In an email he received, Lafayette officials explained how a $25,000-a-month fuel bill for five city buses has been reduced to $1,800 a month using compressed natural gas.
“The bottom line: I think this would benefit us if we were able to pull with the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and Calcasieu Parish School Board,” he said. “The way things are going with the price of regular gas, I believe we will move forward in this direction in the future.”
Lafayette is in the second year of a five-year plan to convert more than 100 public vehicles to compressed natural gas.
According to the website www.cngprices.com, the price of compressed natural gas in Lafayette, Alexandria and Shreveport this week is equivalent to $1.79 a gallon of gasoline.
In Lafayette, there are two fueling stations: Apache on Verot School Road and one owned by the local government.
Proponents of alternative fuel believe it makes sense to use an energy source that can be found in the state.
According to the Louisiana Division of Administration, the state is the second-largest producer of natural gas.
The Louisiana Oil and Gas Association notes Haynesville Shale as proof that natural gas is a viable fuel alternative. Located in Louisiana’s northwestern parishes and east Texas, Haynesville Shale is “referred to as the largest natural gas formations in the nation and one of the largest in the world,” according to the LOGA website.
Gifford Briggs, LOGA vice president, told the American Press that it makes sense for local and parish governments to convert to alternative fuel.
“Enough natural gas in north Louisiana is produced to cover all usage in the state,” he said.
City Hall is concerned about the potential cost of converting its vehicles to use compressed natural gas, along with the purchase of new vehicles.
Over a year ago the administration researched the cost of retrofitting vehicles and building a natural gas station for public vehicles. Those costs have since changed, and the administration wants to compile new cost figures to present to the City Council.
City administrator John Cardone said the city met with other parish agencies to explore joint projects that could help defray costs.
“We all think it is the right thing to do. But to go back and retrofit, that seems to be the ... avenue that may be cost prohibitive. Also, if you retrofit some vehicles, you void some warranties,” he said.
City and parish officials this past week renewed discussions about the use of alternative fuels.
“Everybody are going to review their numbers. The parish is open to discussions with the city to purchase vehicles that would use alternative fuel,” Cardone said. “We could start off with transit system vehicles because federal funding is available to defray costs.”
Cardone said discussions with the School Board are pending.
Geyen wants to see all the research City Hall compiles. He fully believes the city will see a savings in the future.
“It would be a lot easier on all of us we could get the Police Jury and School Board involved with us. Hopefully, a conclusion will be made about the savings to use compressed natural gas.”
Posted By: Charles Hall On: 7/18/2012
Title: It makes sense...
It makes sense for every organization that has a central depot for its vehicles should start using natural gas.They can install one natural gas service station in the depot and refill busses, delivery trucks like UPS and FedEx and vans and cars that utilities own.
There is a company that's installing natural gas pumps at the nation's truck stops so that trucks that use the Interstate highways can convert to natural gas.
It does't make economic sense for consumers to install them at home or for consumer-oriented service stations - and it may never.