Cleaner, cheaper and now on Lincoln streets. Every mile put on a new parking enforcement car means savings for the city of Lincoln.
It's a flex fuel vehicle converted to run on natural gas. The one car will save the city $2,000 a year in fuel and maintenance costs.
Mayor Chris Beutler accepted the keys to the new NGV from Lincoln Composites president Jack Schimenti at an event to mark the occasion.
The new Ford Fusion will be used for parking meter enforcement and was chosen because of its frequent stops and extended idling time.
"Every mile our police parking enforcement officers drive this natural-gas powered car, the city and its taxpayers are saving money and reducing our carbon footprint," Beutler said.
"This project is helping us to speed up the greening of our fleet and that is in the best interests of everyone. Each step we take toward greener transportation options is another chapter in the story of how our community is working together to creatively meet our future transportation needs."
"You're using a domestic fuel, you're using an abundant fuel, but you are saving money," said Paul Cammack with Black Hills Energy.
Cammack is thrilled to see the wheels turning on another NGV. He says natural gas burns cleaner than gasoline. That reduces the frequency of oil changes and other regularly scheduled maintenance, saving money.
The cost of natural gas is almost a $1.50 for the same amount of gasoline and it performs in the same way. "When you drive a natural gas vehicle, you don't know any difference. It gets the same fuel economy, it runs the same way, the same performance, everything the same. You don't even know," Cammack said.
The vehicle looks the same, runs the same, just on a different source of fuel. The big question is, where do you fuel up? "The car fuels up right now at the airport because it's the only public station, but we are in the process of building a public station. In fact, it's just about done. We've added pistol grip nozzles to our pumps so when you fuel it will be just like gasoline," Cammack said.
Cammack says the NGV is actually safer to drive. The gas tank is thicker and if ruptured, the gas won't pool. "Natural gas is lighter than air, so it will dissipate in about 10 seconds."
For the city, it's a greener fuel to burn that won't burn through the budget.