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Study: Cities Should Use Natural Gas For Public Buses

A Purdue study found natural gas is a cheaper and more environmentally friendly way to fuel city buses.

A new Purdue University study finds that buses powered by natural gas are the way to go for mass transit in Indiana.

Dr. Wallace Tyner, an economist with Purdue‘s School of Agricultural Economics, says they studied the CityBus system of Greater Lafayette, which has 72 buses and services 30,000 riders a day.

Tyner says even with an initial $2 million cost of building a natural gas fueling station, compressed natural gas would save many systems money and it burns much cleaner than diesel gasoline.

“We ran the economics of doing all that and we compared that with diesel and looked at the difference and found that under most cases it pays to make the conversion,” Tyner said. “It pays to make the upfront investment.”

Tyner says the 15 year project found that the natural gas system would cost $48 million over the period of the project compared to $54 million for the diesel-electric hybrid system.

The study also finds that natural gas has a 65 percent to 100 percent chance of being lower cost than diesel-powered buses. Tyner says the price difference between crude oil and natural gas has grown significantly since 2009.

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