Muscogee County School District eyes compressed natural gas bus - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Muscogee County School District eyes compressed natural gas buses

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Muscogee County Superintendent David Lewis says some of the school buses in the district's fleet need to be replaced, and part of his long term plan, like the President, is to make the county's buses more fuel efficient.

"One of the things we're going to have to look at in consideration of those replacement buses is the possibility of looking at alternate forms of fuel other than diesel," Lewis explains. "Diesel is an issue from the standpoint from the emissions, how they omit, but also in cost."

Frank Brown, Director of Transportation for the Muscogee County School District, says, "We spend anywhere approximately 2.3 to 2.4 million a year just on fuel. Diesel fuel."

All of the district's school buses currently run on diesel, getting about six miles to the gallon at a cost of nearly $4 per gallon. But talks of the cleaner, less expensive compressed natural gas has the transportation department strongly considering a switch.

This would make fueling the buses for the Muscogee County School District a lot easier on their budget.

Brown adds, "CNG would save the district approximately anywhere from $750,000 to a million dollars a year."

He says a third of the city's buses could be retro-fitted into CNG buses, leaving about 200 buses to replace if the district does decide to make the switch. Each with a large price tag.

"We're talking about probably in the neighborhood of $120,000 to 130,000 per bus," Brown explains.

Lewis says the district will see a return on the investment.

"The cost of buying a CNG bus is more up front, but long term, the benefits are there," add Superintendent Lewis.

Transportation Director, Frank Brown, adds Columbus Consolidated Government and Columbus Water Works are on board with the switch to compressed natural gas.

He says the district is watching closely how a school district in Topeka, Kan. is doing since they made the switch.

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