ATA begins switch to natural gas powered buses

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is switching from diesel buses to ones that run on compressed natural gas.

Mark Huffer, KCATA general manager, cut the ribbon Wednesday for the first two gas powered buses.

As diesel buses wear out, the cleaner gas buses will replace them, he said.

Next spring, the KCATA will receive 23 more gas buses for its fleet of about 300 buses.

The compressed gas buses cost about $425,000, about $50,000 more than diesel buses, but the Federal Transit Administration pays about 80 percent of their cost.

When the entire fleet is compressed gas, the agency expects to save $4.6 million a year in fuel costs.

Huffer said diesel fuel costs about $3 a gallon and a comparable amount of gas costs $1.60.

Gas also puts out 80 percent less nitrous oxide, 99 percent less particulate matter and 100 percent less hydrocarbon, he said.

KCATA also will build a fueling station and make some other changes to accommodate the gas buses.

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