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Propane to fuel some Starkville, Oktibbeha, MSU vehicles

 

Tim Pratt

 

Fifteen vehicles belonging to the city of Starkville, the Oktibbeha County Sheriff''s Office and Mississippi State University soon will be fitted with new propane fuel technology to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy. 

 

The city, Sheriff''s Office and Mississippi State University were approved for a $95,000 Mississippi Development Authority grant to install new technology on vehicles and allow them to run on gasoline and propane. Gasoline will be used to start the converted vehicles and as a secondary fuel system, but propane will be the primary power source. 

 

Oktibbeha County Sheriff Dolph Bryan on Wednesday said he has driven a propane-powered vehicle and was pleased with its performance.  

 

"It increases your range ... and you save about $1 per gallon on fuel," Bryan said. "I want to see how it works. I drove a car that was propelled by that fuel and I was very satisfied. Anything that can save my gasoline budget by a third, I certainly want to try."  

 

It will cost about $6,000 to convert each vehicle. Some will be Starkville municipal vehicles, some will be Sheriff''s Office vehicles and some will belong to the university and MSU Police Department.  

 

The successful integration of this technology will result in reduced greenhouse gas and particulate, or soot, emissions. Additionally, reduction in operating and maintenance costs for the vehicles retrofitted with this technology are estimated to be well in excess of $100,000 for the life of the project, according to a statement released Wednesday by the city.  

 

Each of the partnering agencies has selected new and low-mileage vehicles within their existing fleets to receive the technology. The necessary refueling infrastructure will be located centrally to all three partnering agencies.  

 

The entities also will work to develop public access in order to facilitate broader market acceptance of propane bi-fuel technology, according to the city''s statement.  

 

The direct environmental impact of this proposal is derived from the displacement of gasoline with cleaner burning propane. A conservative estimate of 85 percent reduction in direct fuel economy has been used in these calculations. A conservative estimate of 90 percent gasoline displacement has been used as a baseline figure.

 

 

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