Iowa group looks to Moline’s heavy use of alternative fuels
MOLINE, Ill. (AP) - Moline’s use of alternative fuels to power its city fleet has caught attention across the border in Iowa.
The (Moline) Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1AlLcvF) reports at least 80 percent of the western Illinois city’s vehicle fleet runs on something other than gasoline. That includes electric cars, as well as vehicles and equipment that use an 85 percent ethanol blend, compressed natural gas, propane and biodiesel.
The Iowa Clean Cities Coalition has asked Moline’s fleet department to lead presentations on its efforts this year at the Iowa League of Cities conference in Cedar Rapids and the Growing Sustainable Communities Conference in Dubuque.
Moline fleet manager J.D. Schulte said the alternative-fuel vehicles are purchased when it makes financial sense, but said that isn’t always the case. He said the environmental impact is secondary but still important.
“You don’t do green for the headlines,” Schulte said. “You make sure it makes sense for the city.”
The city has bought three electric cars and seven natural gas-powered vehicles and equipment in the past year. A city analysis of the electric cars’ cost over their lifetime, including purchase price and maintenance, says each will save Moline $5,043 over buying a sedan that uses gasoline.
Buying a Ford F-250 pickup that runs on natural gas saves $25,611, according to the city’s analysis. The city bought four.
Schulte said the city could replace as many as 12 vehicles with natural gas-powered models this year, and has six propane-powered commercial mowers on order.
“If it makes sense financially to do this, and it’s good for the community and environment, then it is the right thing to explore,” Schulte said.