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Propane City Vehicles, Station Could Be Reality Next year

City could convert 9 vehicles next year is cities of Bay Village and Sheffield Village are on board.

The city of Avon Lake is taking measures to open a regional propane fuel station in Avon Lake that would initially serve Avon Lake police vehicles.

The station would serve Bay Village, Sheffield Lake and Avon Lake.

Councilwoman Jennifer Fenderbosch presented information to Avon Lake City Council at the Dec. 17 council meeting.

Fenderbosch has been working on the project for two years that if it comes to fruition, the city would convert nine city vehicles to a dual fuel system – gasoline and propane – in 2013 and three vehicles per year after that.

Two years ago she met with leaders from various cities at National Fleet Services on Miller Road in Avon Lake to hear a presentation on the benefits of propane. 

Propane is a cleaner fuel—and more cost effective—than gasoline. Currently, companies such as Budweiser, Sears, U-Haul and Pepsi fleets use propane.

Fenderbosch said propane costs $1 to $1.50 less per gallon than gasoline.

“It’s finally coming to pass,” Fenderbosch said.

The city will be able to apply for a $100,000 no-interest loan from the Ohio Department of Development if Bay Village and Sheffield Lake sign on. Each partnering City could ask for up to $100,000 zero interest loan.

“We would ask for less,” Fenderbosch left, saying the city would need to apply by March 2013. She stated the city would need a loan of  $71,500 (cost to the city upfornt is $7,155). The city would not be required to begin repayment of the loan until 2016.

The city plans to initially purchased two $6,500 conversion kits, but the city expects to see a significant long-term savings, particularly since they would not have to repay the loan immediately. The kits would be recycled after a vehicle's life expires at a cost of about $1,800 per new vehicle.

Bill Gross, a retired engineer from Union Carbide, who helped present to council, said that over 14 years, the city could save $26,000 for a 35 percent return on investment.

He called the program a “piggy bank” for the city, if fully implemented, since it will save more money than it cost.

Getting the loan is not guaranteed. It would depend on Bay Village and Sheffield Lake signing a Memorandum of Understanding that they would also join the program. Fenderbosch said if the city did not receive the loan, they would fall back to retrofitting two vehicles per year, instead of nine.

Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka said it was possible to include the Service Department vehicles down the road.

Fenderbosch said there were “soft benefits” to moving vehicles to dual fuel systems, including an increased vehicle engine life and that vehicle emissions are reduced.

Although vehicle would get slightly lower miles per gallon (12.72 compared to 11.10) it would be more cost effective since propane costs significantly less.

The station would be located at the Avon Lake Service Department on SR 83.

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