Columbia purchases more compressed natural gas buses

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COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia recently added two new compressed natural gas or CNG buses to its current fleet. 

The CNG buses use natural gas as a fuel source rather than the diesel gasoline used by the standard transit buses. 

According to Deputy City Manager Tony St. Romaine the city bought the buses as part of scheduled replacement for the older buses. He said typically a city bus has a life span of about 10 years. 

St. Romaine believes the CNG buses are an improvement over the diesel fuel buses because the cost of natural gas is less than the cost of diesel. One Columbia resident however believes the low fuel cost comes at a price. 

"The compressed natural gas is really anything but clean," Peoples' Visioning director Monta Welch said.

Welch believes the city could go in a different direction besides natural gas. 

"We know that we could put in more solar, even at a cost at some point it will be completely ours," Welch said. "Then we aren't going to have this volatility and manipulations in the markets."

Currently the city is in an agreement with Clean Energy and last year built a Compressed Natural Gas Fueling station at 1900 Lake Ridgeway Road. 

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