Conway Chief of Police A.J. Gary says initial analysis shows the conversion of police vehicles to Compressed Natural Gas should provide various positives while saving money on fuel.
The Conway City Council recently unanimously approved an almost $115,000 bid for eight new police vehicles to have CNG conversion kits installed. One animal welfare unit was also included in the bid.
With the acceptance of the bid, the Conway Police Department will now have 18 units with CNG-capability.
Gary said the initial installations began in 2012 when the city was anticipating its first CNG station in October, which did not occur.
The police department has not yet been able to utilize its CNG vehicles, but will soon be able to when a CNG fueling station on East Oak Street opens for business. The station is expected to open in the next few weeks.
The CNG police vehicles are suppose to provide cleaner burning fuel while causing less wear and tear to engines and providing equivalent performance to regular gasoline vehicles, Gary said.
The police department plans to install the CNG kits on all new police vehicles in the future. Beginning in 2012 as part of a rededication of the pay-as-you-go tax, funds for approximately 10 new vehicles per year were made available for the department.
As older vehicles are rotated out and the CNG kits continue to be installed, Gary said the department’s goal is to have an all CNG-capable police fleet.
At the current rate new vehicles are purchased, it could take up to a decade to complete the task. According to Gary, the department currently has 109 vehicles. The number of total vehicles is expected to fluctuate between 102 and 109 vehicles as older vehicles are rotated out, Gary said.
Gary said the department would like to be able to rotate out the same number of older vehicles as newly purchased units, but are not currently able to accomplish it. However, Gary said the department hopes to be able to by next year.
While it will take time to see the extent of the savings, Gary said the department’s fuel costs should be about half the current budget, of $286,576, when the entire fleet has CNG capabilities.
At the current rate new vehicles are purchased, it could take up to a decade to complete the task.
Gary said the department would like to be able to rotate out as many older vehicles when new units are purchased, but are not currently able to accomplish it. However, Gary said the department hopes to be able to by next year.
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