Pulaski Area Transit estimates it could save almost $47,000 per year by converting 10 buses from gasoline to propane.
Transit Manager Gary Heinline presented Pulaski Town Council with a comparison of the two fuel sources at their recent meeting. The figures show that it would take just 14.93 months for the conversion to pay for itself.
The estimated cost to convert a bus to propane is $5,800, while the annual fuel savings is $4,661, according to figures prepared by Alliance AutoGas, which provides conversions of fleet vehicles to propane.
Although Alliance AutoGas prepared the figures contained in the presentation, Heinline said he also made his own comparisons and found the savings to be more than those offered by the sales representative. He estimated the annual savings at between $46,000 and $49,000.
According to Alliance AutoGas, the estimated annual cost to operate a gasoline bus 21,500 miles per year would be $9,379, compared to $4,718 for a propone-fueled bus.
Even if gasoline should become cheaper than propane in the future, Heinline said, the buses would be equipped with a switch allowing them to change between gasoline and propane.
If the buses are converted, Heinline estimated it could be as late as December 2013 before the change can take place.
So that Heinline could meet a deadline for a federal; grant application, Pulaski Town Council approved a $52,007 match for PAT’s 2014 budget. The approval is contingent upon state and federal approval of funding for the transit system.
Heinline said it appears state and federal funding will be more than he first anticipated, but no one really knows what they’ll be getting from the state or federal government yet.
“I’ve never seen this much disarray in the state and federal government,” he noted.