Study Suggests Alternative Fuels Are Not a Viable Option for N.Y. County Fleet

According to the results of a project that renewable energy consultancy Blue Springs Energy LLC recently finished on behalf of Niagara County, N.Y., shifting county fleet vehicles to run on alternative fuels would not provide a viable return on investment.

The company looked at the entire Niagara County fleet and determined that if it was replaced today with new, traditional gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles, the price tag would be approximately $7.9 million, according to The Buffalo News.

A switch to electric vehicles would cost a walloping $16 million. And although hybrids ($10.2 million) and natural gas vehicles ($10.9 million) fared better, they were still prohibitively expensive options relative to the projected fuel-cost savings.

The article notes that the county spends $512,000 annually on gasoline and diesel to operate its fleet. If compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles were deployed, annual fuel costs would decrease to approximately $163,000.

Blue Springs Energy's Larry Simpson told The Buffalo News that there are no CNG stations in Niagara County, which would make it necessary for the county to install its own refueling infrastructure at a cost of $2.2 million. The lack of fuel availability (and the expense associated with building a county-owned station) factored into Blue Springs Energy's analysis.

However, as of July 19, CNG was available inside the county. The retail price for CNG at National Fuels' location in Niagara Falls, N.Y., was $1.35/GGE.

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