The Polk County (Ore.) Sheriff's Office switched 10 patrol vehicles to propane autogas in March 2013. Photo: Blue Star Gas

The Polk County (Ore.) Sheriff's Office switched 10 patrol vehicles to propane autogas in March 2013. Photo: Blue Star Gas

Less than a year and a half after converting its 10 patrol vehicles from gasoline to propane autogas, a sheriff’s office in Oregon reports that it has saved $25,000 in fuel expenses.

In addition, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office was able to take advantage of a federal tax credit worth $8,000 as a result of the conversion, according to its supplier, Blue Star Gas.

“Our biggest expense besides personnel is fuel,” said Polk County Detective Sgt. Mark Garton, whose duties include managing the department’s fleet. “So, if we save $1.50 to $2 per gallon and we run 25,000 miles or more a year per car, that’s a lot of money.”

The Sheriff’s Office has a 1,000-gallon refueling center at its headquarters in Dallas, Ore., just west of the state capital of Salem.

In addition to the fueling infrastructure, Blue Star provides the agency with ongoing safety training and technical support.

Garton said he has heard no complaints about the vehicles’ performance on the alternative fuel.

“I can personally tell that you get a little more oomph out of the propane fuel,” he said.

While the savings of $25,000 is not enough to pay an officer’s salary, Garton said it has allowed the agency to move those funds elsewhere in its budget.

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