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Springfield: Department Fleets Go Green
Twenty-four vehicles are in for a tune-up at the city's garage as crews work to install systems allowing them to run on regular and propane fuel.
"This computer will tell the engine it's warming up and it will automatically switch over to propane," Springfield fleet manager Mike Palazzolo said.
It's the brain of the system, while functioning components are in back.
"This is where they fill the propane, filling the tank about 80 percent, and then we will have the normal fill tank for gasoline," Palazzolo said.
In the pickup bed are the propane tanks that hold 34 gallons. The systems take about a day and a half to install.
"If we were to apply this technology to our entire police fleet, we would save over $300,000 a year," Budget Director Bill McCarty said.
Propane is 50 percent less expensive than regular gas. It's environmentally friendly and domestically produced. Ninety percent of propane used comes from the United States.
"It's better for the engine and makes it last longer," McCarty said. "This means lower operation cost because you're going longer without oil changes."
When taking it for a spin, we didn't feel a noticeable difference in acceleration or power. There's only one fuel station, which will be located at the CWLP garage. However, if there's an emergency, it still can be filled with regular gasoline.
The city is working to consolidate its garages to improve efficiency.
Mechanics are training to install this new technology.
"We will look to expand to more vehicles in our fleet," McCarty said.