Laketran to move to alternative fuel purchasing first propane-fueled fleet

Lake County, OH – Propane will be fueling a savings for Laketran, the regional transit authority for Lake County, Ohio while it provides a more fuel efficient and eco-friendly Dial-a-Ride transportation.

Laketran’s Board of Trustees awarded a contract to TESCO Bus Corporation of Oregon, Ohio for the purchase of 8 propane-fueled Dial-a-Ride buses that will arrive Spring 2017 with purchasing options for up to five years.

Advances in the technology of propane and its cost compared to diesel fuel makes propane a more attractive option to fuel Laketran’s fleet of 80 Dial-a-Ride buses.

Propane is a clean burning fuel due to its lower carbon content and significantly reduces smog forming hydrocarbons and greenhouse emissions, over gasoline and diesel fuels. Additionally, propane is American-made reducing independence on foreign oil.

The low-cost and stability of propane fuel costs helps long-term planning and the agency expects to reduce air pollutants and reduce operating expenses and vehicle replacement costs.

“Laketran is always looking for more efficient ways to operate and reduce cost. It’s easy to find the savings,” shared Ben Capelle, Laketran deputy general manager, “Right now it costs about $64 a day per vehicle to fuel a Dial-a-Ride bus. The new buses would reduce the cost to about $40 a day per vehicle.”

“The smaller vehicle is 40 percent more fuel-efficient. When you consider fuel is almost 10 percent of our budget or well over a $1 million annual cost, we’re very excited to see the potential of a 35 percent fuel savings for this new fleet,” continued Capelle.

In addition to fuel savings, a propane bus costs about $6,000 less than current diesel and maintenance is less expensive compared to other alternatives.

“Sometimes change can be a very good thing. We were presented with an unusual situation where our traditional diesel bus was no longer going to be manufactured. Researching new vehicles and alternative fuels led us to propane and we’re very excited about the cost savings and new funding opportunities it offers, while putting a cleaner product on the streets of Lake County,” express Brian Falkowski, board president of Laketran.

Another benefit of purchasing alternative fuel vehicles, Laketran will be able to capitalize on federal and state funding opportunities used to incent transit systems that use alternative fuels to help the community attain air quality standards such as federal CMAQ (Congestion, Mitigation and Air Quality) funds.

Laketran has selected two different body types that offer different seating to accommodate various demands in service. The procurement will give Laketran the flexibility to mix the type of vehicles as needed. The vehicles cost $114,992 and $118,812 and will be 80 percent financed by a federal CMAQ funds and 20 percent local sales tax funding.

Laketran normally purchases 12 vehicles annually as part of its Capital Improvement program. In September, Laketran applied for funding for the remaining four vehicles through ODOT.

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