Ulster County (N.Y.) Executive Mike Hein vetoed a resolution to spend $25,000 to convert five transport vans from unleaded gasoline to propane autogas. The resolution had been passed by the county legislature.
“Resolution No. 314A would represent a step backwards,” Hein said in a release explaining his decision. “Trading one fossil fuel for another is not environmentally sensitive and investing in a vehicle technology that promotes fracking is unconscionable, especially since more sustainable, renewable options are readily available.”
Hein said the county is a leader in renewable resources and has plug-in electric vehicles, installed EV charging stations, and is using biodiesel for its bus fleet.
The county’s Department of the Environment agreed with Hein’s statement. “Current initiatives including the use of biodiesel in the UCAT bus fleet and plug-in hybrid vehicles will yield 26 times the greenhouse gas reduction as compared to the propane proposal,” said Ulster County Department of the Environment Coordinator Amanda LaValle. “In addition, there is negligible, if any, financial benefit to the county in implementing this proposal.”
The transport vans sought to be retrofitted are on average seven years old, have an odometer reading of 50,000 miles, and average 11 miles per gallon. If one van was retired and a new fuel efficient model was purchased as a replacement, it would reduce fuel consumption of the fleet by 12%, as opposed to the up to 10% reduction by converting to propane autogas, the release stated.
More than two-thirds of domestic propane production comes from natural gas production. This percentage is growing becuase of the boom in natural gas production due to hydraulic fracturing, which New York State recently banned.