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Raleigh Approves Funding For More Propane Police Cars

An older model Raleigh police car. The department is installing propane tanks in some of its cars.
Alberto Rodriguez via Creative Commons

The Raleigh Police Department is adding propane tanks to more of its patrol cars after a two-year test run. 

The city council has agreed to spend nearly $200,000 to convert 30 cars to propane.  That's on top of 20 cruisers that have been using the alternative fuel since 2011 at the North District headquarters.  Capt. Doug Brugger says propane has worked just as well as gas.

"About the only difference you might notice is while they are on propane mode, the car is actually a little quieter, and that's due to the propane injectors being a little bit quieter than gasoline injectors," Brugger says.

"Performance-wise, they drive the same on propane or gasoline."

Brugger says the extra gas tank located in each cruiser's trunk also dramatically increases the car's range.

"It's a nice feeling as a supervisor to know if we had a hurricane, ice storm, or something coming through, we could actually fill up both the gasoline and the propane tank and stay out there for three days if we had to," he says.

Brugger says the project have saved nearly $170,000 in the last two years.  Propane prices are about half of gas prices and the federal government offers a financial incentive to use propane.  The U.S. Energy Department says propane produces up to 40 percent less carbon monoxide than gasoline.

Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
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