Erie Converts Its Bus Fleet To Natural Gas

  • Scott Detrow

Yesterday we told you about Qatar Airways’ plan to begin running airplanes on compressed natural gas. Today, something a bit more local and earth-bound: the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority’s plan to convert its bus fleet from diesel to natural gas. From the Erie Times-News:

EMTA is converting its fleet of about 85 vehicles so that they all eventually run on natural gas. Seven now use that fuel, said Dennis Solensky, EMTA executive director.
The EMTA board approved a contract Monday to buy 40 new buses that will run on natural gas. The first order for 11 buses from Gillig Corp., of San Francisco, totals $5.4 million, including fare boxes, GPS systems and an extra engine, Solensky said.
The buses are expected to arrive in Erie by May, he said. The project is being funded largely by federal grants, with some assistance from state grants, he said.
EMTA now pays $3.25 per gallon for diesel, a lower amount than consumers pay because EMTA is a government agency that doesn’t pay fuel taxes, Solensky said. The cost that EMTA pays for compressed natural gas is 87 cents per gallon, he said.

This will likely be the first of many diesel-to-natural gas conversions announced over the next few years. The Corbett Administration has set aside $20 million of impact fee revenue for grants aimed at increasing the amount of natural gas-fueled trucks and buses on the roads.

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Coming Soon: Natural Gas-Fueled Airplanes