Green Operations

Flex-Fuel Squad Cars Lack E-85 Station

August 05, 2010

GARY, IN - Half of the City of Gary, Ind., Police Department's fleet of new flex fuel squad cars are on the road, but ethanol fuel isn't available for refueling, and no one can say for sure when the city will have it, according to Post Tribune.

The city has not advertised for bids to buy a tank, pump, and bulk fuel, and can't until the state provides them with the contract form approved by all the governmental agencies involved.

Christopher Meyers, Gary's director of planning, said he couldn't guess when that process will begin, or when the use of the cleaner fuel will start. Until then, the new cars will use regular unleaded gasoline.

That could create problems for the city as the grant's overseer starts monitoring the various grant recipients, which are expected to use flex-fuel.

The $10 million federal grant obtained by the Indiana Department of Transportation to buy vehicles for cities across the state will be reviewed locally by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) to determine if Gary and other Northwest Indiana municipalities are abiding by the grant guidelines.

The city received a $3 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration last year for new cars, including SUVs and pickups. Meyer said nine months elapsed from the grant award until the cars were purchased.

A separate grant for $52,200 is for the E-85 fuel.

A spokesman for INDOT said the state is working to complete the contract forms needed for the city to advertise for fuel. NIRPC must also approve the specific bid package, reported the Post Tribune.

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