The Future Of Fuel: Filling Up The Tank With Natural Gas

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Marianna- Like most local governments, Marianna city officials have been looking for ways to save money. By converting city trucks to run on natural gas, officials believe they've found a plan that could save the city thousands.

"We came up with a plan to purchase a vehicle and have it converted. We also converted an existing vehicle and purchase a piece of equipment that would refuel the trucks" City Manager, Jim Dean explained.

As far as testing and performance, Dean said, so far they were pleased with the results. But, cost efficiency was undoubtedly the biggest selling point. Dean told us the truck could run for several days on just $3.00 worth of natural gas. That's 65 cents less than the price of one gallon of regular gas at a typical pump.

Though a number of city agencies could benefit from the conversion, the Marianna Police Department topped the list.

"I see a range here from 1700 gallons to 2300 gallons a month" said Marianna Police Chief, Hayes Baggett. "So obviously, the savings would be tremendous."

Baggett told us the city has 18 police cars. He said he was eager to make the conversion so his department and city residents could start saving money.

Douglas Glass supervises the city's natural gas department . After researching the idea and calculating figures, he said taxpayers were the ones who would reap the biggest benefits.

"We are looking at estimated fuel costs at $6,000 to $7,000 a year by using natural gas" Glass explained. "So, the payback on the truck is around a one year pay back- maybe one and a half. And then after that, it should save the citizens anywhere from $6,000 to $7'000 a year."

Officials also told us another incentive for the move was in effort to put Marianna on the cutting edge.

"Natural gas is the way of the future. The infrastructure is coming up all around us. It's the wave of the future and Marianna is going to be on board" Glass said.

The city has also been considering opening a fast fueling natural gas pump for the public. Anyone who converted their personal vehicles could swipe their credit card at the pump and refuel, just as they would a typical gas station.

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