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Trumbull officials take steps to convert county vehicles to compressed natural gas



Published: Thu, November 7, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Staff report

WARREN

The Trumbull County commissioners and county engineer’s office have committed to spending $250,000 each over the next two years to convert county vehicles from gasoline to compressed natural gas if $750,000 in state funding is secured.

They also authorized the county and Randy Smith, engineer, to apply for $750,000 through the state’s 2014 Capital Budget to construct a county-owned compressed natural-gas fueling station at the county engineer’s facility on North River Road.

The county has natural-gas wells at the engineer’s office that can be tapped to provide the fuel, said Commissioner Paul Heltzel.

“We know there would be substantial savings” if county vehicles were converted to compressed natural gas, especially if the gas came from the county’s well, Heltzel said.

“The key thing is getting the [money] from the state,” said Commissioner Frank Fuda.

State Rep. Sean O’Brien of Brookfield, D-63rd, and Gov. John Kasich are assisting with the budget request, Fuda said.

Heltzel said investing in compressed natural gas for county vehicles is “like buying a bond. It gives you a return on your investment every year.”

If the state approves the $750,000 to construct the fueling station, the county is committed to spending $500,000 to convert vehicles to compressed natural gas.

Smith said the county engineer’s vehicles that use the most fuel would be the first ones converted to compressed natural gas, such as snowplows.

Eventually, he would like to see all of his vehicles and other county vehicles converted.

CNG also “has been proven to be better for the environment and a more-efficient energy source for motor vehicles,” a commissioners resolution says.

Smith also has a pending $100,000 Local Government Innovation Fund request that would be used to conduct a feasibility study to determine what fleets would be best to convert to compressed natural gas. An answer on that request is expected in early December.


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