The Coastal Regional Commission recently unveiled a tentative plan to retrofit 13 of its coaches to run on compressed natural gas or propane. The change, of course, was designed as a cost-saving measure as alternative fuels cost between $1.75 and $2 per gallon compared with gas prices of around $3.50 per gallon. But let’s not forget the strategy’s added benefit of being environmentally friendly. The CRC should be commended for using energy conservation to help save money and the planet, and more mass transit systems should follow the commission’s lead — it may not be all that difficult to do.
According to www.greencar.com, several alternative-fuel options exist for mass transit. Electric energy, batteries, ethanol or alcohol fuels, biodiesel and natural gas are some of the most common options. Mass transit system operating entities will have to make their own determinations based on what options are available, which fuels best suit their system’s vehicles and the costs associated with retrofitting vehicles. Biodiesel and natural gas seem to be the most logical alternatives to regular diesel fuel for mass transit use, according to recent research, so the CRC definitely is on the right track with its choice to consider using natural
With transit systems beginning to climb aboard the “green” bandwagon and the rising demand for hybrid and increased-gas-mileage vehicles, there’s no better time for automobile manufacturers to re-evaluate their offerings and continue the climb toward better fuel efficiency. Nearly all carmakers put out a hybrid model or two, but if motorists continue to insist on cleaner modes of transportation, vehicle companies will have little choice but to oblige the environmentally conscious.
Consumers must take advantage of this trend to force a full-fledged transition to energy independence. If things already are moving in that general direction, why not continue to apply gentle pressure? The path to an environmentally harmonious existence cannot be blazed by politicians and governments alone; citizens must be willing to share the responsibility.
Many groups and organizations, including the American Public Transportation Association Alternative Fuels Committee, the Diesel Technology Forum and the National Biodiesel Board, are hard at work on ways to implement change in the usage of mass transit fuels. Let’s meet them halfway by holding ourselves and others accountable for the continued progress of the alternative-fuels movement on all levels.