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Video: Pontotoc County Looks to Save Money, Environment with Fuel Switch

PONTOTOC, Miss. (WCBI) — While most people think of natural gas as a fuel source to heat their homes or run clothes dryers or stoves, some communities are exploring other uses. As WCBI’s Allie Martin reports, one local city is joining the small but growing number of places using it to power vehicles.

About every three days Pontotoc Mayor Jeff Stafford drives his truck to the gas pump. But he’s not filling up with gasoline.

“Our trucks, crank on gasoline, but they burn natural gas,” said Stafford.

The city has five trucks that run on natural gas, and soon, one of Pontotoc’s police cars will run on the alternative fuel source.  For more than six years, Pontotoc city leaders have been looking at advantages of using natural gas.  The fuel comes from the Pontotoc Natural Gas Company. Three pumps are available and Mayor Stafford says the city is finding many advantages.

“It’s a cooler burning fuel, engine should last longer, and also we’re saving about 1 dollar fifty a gallon.”

Those savings can add up. A typical city vehicle logs about 100 miles a day. Plus, the mayor says natural gas is efficient in other ways.

“I can go 210 miles on half a tank.”

And although you have to have a special fueling station, the mayor believes more municipalities will join the trend.

“We’re on the cutting edge of this, we figure a lot of towns, people who have fleets, anytime you drive more than 60 or 70 miles a day, there is a cost benefit for everybody.”

Taxpayers save money?

“Definitely”

And that may be the strongest selling point of all, as elected officials everywhere are under pressure to save every dollar possible. In Pontotoc I’m Allie Martin WCBI News

Some larger cities are using natural gas vehicles in their fleets. For example, in Los Angeles, all buses run on natural gas.