Dawson said it costs an extra $50,000 on top of the regular cost of a bus to convert the vehicle to run on natural gas.
Although natural gas costs about half of the equivalent amount of diesel fuel, Dawson said the added conversion costs, costs of an added employee to fuel and take care of the natural gas buses and extra travel time and expense to take the buses to Spring Street for fueling negate any cost savings from switching over to natural gas.
It takes about a year between the time KRT orders a new bus and the vehicle arrives. Although the buses have already been ordered, Dawson said the engine is almost the last thing installed in the vehicle.
Unless someone agrees to build a fueling station at the KRT facility, Dawson said he'll probably tell the manufacturer to send the eight new buses as conventional diesel vehicles.
"We want natural-gas buses," he said. "We do. It's just making it work right now is difficult."
Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper, who has been pushing local agencies to adopt alternate-fueled vehicles, was not happy to learn KRT might cancel its natural-gas buses.
"It doesn't sit well with me," he said. "But I don't sit on their [governing] board."
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.