Springfield tests propane police car

Springfield tests propane police car

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - The same propane you use to fire up your grill might also be used someday to fire up what's behind the grill at the Springfield Police Department.

Bluestar Gas Inc. brought a standard police car converted to run on propane to Springfield on Wednesday morning for a demonstration.

What's under the hood looks familiar, just a few more black boxes, some squiggly wires and an extra fuel tank.

Captain Rich Harrison took the car for a spin to decide if it can do everything the gas rigs do.

"Frankly, I don't see a difference between the two," he said from behind the wheel.
     
That opens the door for the sales guy from Bluestar Gas to talk about the unseen differences - and advantages.

"You get 40 percent less emissions coming out of the tailpipe," said Doug Groat with Bluestar Gas. "It's a lot cleaner burning fuel."

He said propane-powered engines can last twice as long, too - and that propane comes from the United States, not the Middle East.

But is it worth $5,000 to convert a car to propane?

One consideration: Regular gas runs $3.85 per gallon. Propane is selling for $2.99.  
        
Throw in tax credits, and a heavily used Springfield cop car might recoup all of the conversion costs in just one year.

Wednesday was just a test run, and police are still a long way away from any changes being made. If the city wants to convert to propane they'll have to figure out where the money will come from.