Toccoa Still Testing Natural Gas Vehicles

Toccoa city officials are looking at ways to continue expanding the city’s gas system and customer base.

At Tuesday’s joint meeting with Stephens County Commissioners, Toccoa officials discussed the topic.

Toccoa City Manager Mike Jackson said one thing he is still looking at is the viability of converting vehicles to compressed natural gas.

Jackson said the city is still testing the idea on five different city vehicles to get an idea of how much the savings is when fueling with compressed natural gas.

Those five vehicles include three pick-up trucks, a commercial garbage truck, and a brush truck, said Jackson.

“The two big trucks were converted last and there is less definitive data, but the anecdotal data on the fuel savings on those two vehicles is very, very attractive,” said Jackson.  “The hard data on the pick-up trucks is very attractive.  We are still in the process of getting that down to a cost per mile.”

Jackson said he is more interested in the amount it costs to run the vehicle on compressed natural gas per mile than the miles per gallon that the vehicle gets.

He said that if the test runs taking place right now go as well as they appear to be, he would be interested in converting more city vehicles to compressed natural gas.

Jackson then said it is something the county could also benefit from as well.

“I would like to talk to you all about how can you save some money,” said Jackson to the county.  “How can you lower your fuel costs?  I think you can and I think we can work together and get that done.”

Furthermore, Jackson said he would also consider taking the idea to other communities in Toccoa’s natural gas service area.

“I see vast potential to work with all of these counties, these school systems,” said Jackson about converting vehicles to compressed natural gas.  “We will sell them gas.  They will save money.”

According to Jackson, he would want to use that revenue to help the city pay off the existing gas system debt for the northern expansion and expand the gas system further.

Both Jackson and Toccoa Vice-Mayor Andy Pavliscsak saidexpanding the city’s gas system is important in order to attract new customers and maintain the revenue that the city receives from the gas system.