NEW BRAUNFELS, TX - Comal County commissioners voted May 6 to join the city of New Braunfels, New Braunfels Utilities, and Comal Independent School District in studying the possibility of powering their fleet using alternative fuels, according to The Herald-Zeitung.

For more than a year, the four entities have had discussions about the possibility of a entering into a joint venture to convert some of their vehicles to run on compressed natural gas or other, environmentally friendly fuel sources. Now, they all have banded together to hire a consulting firm to study the costs and benefits of a cleaner, greener fleet, reported the Herald.

Commissioners voted to pay $3,635 for their share of the study, which along with matching funds already pledged by the city, NBU and CISD, would fund a feasibility study by Public Solutions Group.

County Engineer Tom Hornseth told commissioners that the consultants would evaluate each fleet, locate possible grant funding and ultimately weigh the cost and benefits of switching to alternative fuels.

He cited the need for the area to improve its air quality before sanctions are levied against the county by the federal government for failing to meet Environmental Protection Agency standards.

The county currently has one garbage truck that runs on compressed natural gas, and New Braunfels Independent School District has a handful of buses that are powered by propane, as well as a propane fueling station.

Hornseth said the study is expected to take 30 to 60 days for the consultants to complete, reported the Herald.