CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper hopes to continue to convert part of the county's fleet of vehicles to alternative fuels.
Carper will recommend the county purchase another five, and possibly more, alternative fuel vehicles during the commission meeting Thursday, he said.
The county needs to purchase new vehicles under its replacement program anyway, Carper said.
"I think it only makes sense for the county to continue with the Kanawha Converts program," he said.
He was referring to a consortium of public agencies, including the county commission, the Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority and the Charleston Area Alliance, and private businesses that are pledging to convert at least some of their vehicles.
The county already has purchased a compressed natural gas SUV for its Homeland Security and Emergency Management office. KRT has committed to purchasing eight buses to be powered by compressed natural gas.
Officials with Ohio-based IGS Energy-CNG Services recently announced the company would soon begin building a compressed natural gas filling station next to the Foodland store on Spring Street on Charleston's West Side.
The station will cost about $2.5 million.
Carper said all of these factors indicate it's a good time for the county to purchase additional vehicles.
The assessor's office may replace four of its gasoline-powered vehicles with ones powered by natural gas, said Matt Thomas, Kanawha County economic development coordinator.
Thomas wasn't sure how much they would cost but said, "I should have those numbers by the time we meet on Thursday."
The county also may buy an SUV or van for the sheriff's department to use for mental hygiene checks, Carper said.
Compressed natural gas is 30 to 50 percent cheaper than traditional fuels like gasoline and diesel.