The high costs of diesel fuel has led the Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) to begin switching its bus fleet from diesel, to being fuelled by clean and affordable compressed natural gas (CNG).
“The bottom line is the diesel fuel market has just exploded,” said Douglas Murray, manager of transit fleet maintenance.
A transit fleet report noted the cost per litre of diesel has risen to more than a dollar from about 75 cents since 2009, with steady increases projected for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, the cost of CNG has generally declined over the same period, and is predicted to keep dropping until about 2017 “and then to inflate after that time, although at a lower rate…than diesel,” said Murray.
Though only 35 of the HSR’s 221 buses are currently powered by natural gas, an analysis of fuel costs, maintenance expenditures, and other factors resulted in a recommendation to switch to natural gas as the fleet’s main fuel.
Availability of fuel was also a consideration, with new extraction methods making large supplies of natural gas available within North America. In fact, Hamilton is one of many municipalities looking at making the switch to natural gas.
Have any thoughts about switching diesel-burning bus engines to clean and affordable natural gas? Let us know in the comments section below.
[Source: Hamilton Spectator, 29 Jan. 2013, at http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/877093–hsr-buses-going-back-to-natural-gas]