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Cobb Patrol Cars Run On Propane, Save Money | News

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Cobb Patrol Cars Run On Propane, Save Money
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COBB COUNTY, GA -- Cobb County has found a way to save money and keep providing the same public safety services. They're using stimulus money to change patrol cars from gas guzzlers to propane guzzlers. County officials say Police and Sheriff patrol cars will be able to travel as much as 300 more miles between fill ups.

For most Cobb County police officers their day starts at the gas pump. But that will change for many of them. They may only have to do it once every few days and they won't have to cut back on mileage or patrols.

Their patrol cars are turning over from gasoline to propane. Using a federal stimulus grant, the county is fitting propane tanks in the trunks of patrol cars. "It will still have a gasoline tank," said Virgil Moon of Cobb County Support Services. "It will run 75 percent of the time on propane and 25 percent on gasoline."

The federal stimulus grant is for $580,000. The County said it costs about $5,800 to change over each patrol car. The county will have about 100 patrol cars running primarily on propane gas.

There are many advantages to propane. The county estimates they will save anywhere from $250,000 $500,000 a year in fuel costs, depending on what gas prices do. Propane burns a lot cleaner than gasoline so it's better for the environment. Moon said propane is more dependable. "Ninety percent of propane gas is produced in this country," he said. "So we're not dependent on foreign countries for it, so supply is going to be more predictable."

Some police officers quietly expressed concerns about the safety of having a propane tank in the trunk of their car. But the county said it has researched the safety. "And after all the research we did and the people we talked to, everybody felt comfortable," Moon said. "The Police Chief felt comfortable and the officer felt comfortable." Moon said the tanks are placed in a reinforced area of the trunk.

And if you're of the criminal mind, officers who have driven the propane cars say they notice a better pickup in acceleration.

Moon said the county can change the cars over to propane in about two days. So far they have fitted 27 patrol cars with propane tanks and expect to have all 100 finished by the end of the year.

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