6:00am

Tue July 2, 2013
Environmental Watchdog

Battery vs Natural Gas as Lextran Purchases Dozens of Vehicles

One of six hybrid buses used by Lextran.  Mass transit company is in market for cleaner, cheaper vehicles that use alternative fuels.
One of six hybrid buses used by Lextran. Mass transit company is in market for cleaner, cheaper vehicles that use alternative fuels.
Credit Lextran

The fuels used by Lexington’s mass transit system could undergo substantial change over the next decade.  Diesel still powers most of Lextran’s buses, but recently, more attention has been paid to alternative fuels.  Some buses also utilize battery power, while others rely solely on compressed natural gas.  Lextran Spokeswoman Jill Barnett says the bus company wants to replace about half its 73-vehicle fleet over the next seven years.  So, Barnett says Lextran’s in the market for cleaner, fuel efficient buses.

“What we had proposers include in their response to that was base vehicle price with diesel, base vehicle price with hybrid package, base vehicle price if it were compressed natural gas,” said Barnett.

Lextran has selected a bus manufacturer, but has made no decisions on the make-up of its fleet.  Barnett says compressed natural gas is generally cheaper than diesel.

“With compressed natural gas, the price of that, compressed natural gas itself, not the bus, the price is a little bit more consistent and lower than diesel fuel,” added Barnett. 

However, there is no compressed natural gas filling station in the Lexington area.  Likewise, Barnett says battery-supplemented hybrid buses run about 150-thousand dollars more than a standard diesel vehicle.  Lextran already has six such buses.