NCORcog hopes to study the feasibility of converting some vehicles owned by local governments to run on natural gas. It's an idea that has merit - but which largely hinges on costs.
Cost is one of the aspects a study by North Central Ohio?Regional Council of Governments would assess. John Davoli, director of NCORcog, mentioned other logistics - cost of removing and reusing gas-conversion equipment, for example - that also need to be researched.
Davoli aims to apply for a $100,000 Local Government Initiative Fund grant to pay for the study. A main component would involve estimating the cost to equip vehicles such as school buses, multi-passenger vans, police cars, even diesel trucks to use cheaper, cleaner-burning natural gas.
The cost of removing the equipment from aging fleet vehicles and reusing it in newer ones would be projected. The cost to install, and locations for, fueling stations also would be studied. Converted vehicles would retain their ability to run on gasoline or diesel fuel at the flip of a switch.
If all this would come to fruition, and a study would find natural-gas conversions would make sense, a $500,000 state loan may be available to help fund the switch, with money saved on fuel used to repay the loan.
North Central Ohio Educational Service Center has the lead in preparing to apply for the grant to fund the study. Davoli is rounding up official support from potential partners: Seneca County, the city of Tiffin, Seneca County Agency Transportation, North Central?Academy and the Tiffin and Seneca East school districts.
We hope those entities agree the concept is worth pursuing.