Lincoln switching over to compressed natural gas buses - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Lincoln switching over to compressed natural gas buses

By: Lauren Fabrizi

Those thick clouds of exhaust that trail behind city buses will eventually be no more in the capital city. The mayor announced Friday the city is switching from diesel to natural gas.

"In the long term we're going to save a lot of money on fuel costs, maintenance costs," Mayor Chris Beutler said. "It's going to be quieter and safer, better for greenhouses gases."

Right now, there are five new compressed natural gas, or CNG, buses that will service the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus beginning in August. Over the next two years, the city will add another eight buses to city routes. In the years to follow, more will be added until all diesel buses are replaced. 

The five new buses cost about $484,000 each, with an additional cost of about $35,000 for the CNG fuel system.
But what about cars? They can be fueled with natural gas, too. You'll either have to convert your tank, which could cost anywhere between $8,000 and $10,000, or buy one that's already equipped.

Those with Black Hills Energy said there are currently about 100 cars in Lincoln that have been switched over. They said fueling up with natural gas is much cheaper. In the last year and a half, the price for natural gas per gallon at Black Hills Energy has been steady at $1.92.That's about $1.50 cheaper than the current price of gasoline.

"Part of it has to do with the way they withdraw the natural gas, just the abundance of natural gas we have in this country," Paul Cammack of Black hills Energy said. "It's just a huge amount of natural gas and it's our resource."

Cammack said fueling with natural gas also benefits the environment.

"There's a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gases for natural gas vehicles," he said.

There are three locations in Lincoln that have natural gas pumps: Black Hills Energy, Sapp Bros and air park at the Lincoln airport.
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