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City of Marion Discusses Alternative Fuel Project

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MARION, Iowa - The City of Marion is looking for ways to ease the pain at the pump. On Tuesday, the city's Public Services Director, Ryan Miller, discussed a compressed natural gas demo project with the city council. The project, will initially just require one compressor and converting two public works vehicles.

"It's a very simple process to do, but we need to determine whether or not it's feasible for our fleet and go from there," Miller said. The demo project would cost about 15 to 18 thousand dollars, but Miller said it would pay itself off within the first year.

Vehicles running on compressed natural gas, release fewer emissions and can fuel up at about 80 cents to 2 dollars a gallon. "This seems like a very feasible technology. Not only from what it will provide from a savings perspective, but what it costs to convert vehicles over. It's very economically viable for us at this time," Miller said.

Marion's Public Services Department spent more than 200 thousand dollars on fuel last year. Miller said the department has been aggressively looking at alternative fuel options and compressed natural gas caught their attention. "We are looking at this as an up and coming technology," he said.

If successful, the city could expand the demo project into a full compressed natural gas fuel station. It would be the second in the state, and one of the few in the Midwest. "There are a lot of municipalities out west in California that have been doing this for some time. It's just bringing that technology here to the Midwest," Miller said.

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