Lismore council may go for gas
By NERIDA BLOK
FRANK SWIENTEK is a convert and he's keen for others to follow.
For 10 years, the Lismore City councillor has driven his own Ford station wagon on LPG gas.
Now he wants all council staff cars converted as well.
At last month's council meeting, Cr Swientek sought to have the council phase in the purchase of LPG dual fuel for all of its staff vehicles.
Cr Swientek said he believed the conversion would reduce the council's fuel bill, while helping the environment at the same time.
"It works out to be a fairly large ongoing expenditure of council to keep feeding the vehicles," he said.
"If we can reduce that, we can save money with environmental benefits."
Cr Swientek said more savings would be made in the longer term if the price of fuel continued to rise and that the conversion could also help 'avoid the last council budget blow-out'.
Cr Ros Irwin supported the motion, and it was decided to have council staff prepare a feasibility report for the December meeting.
Council's fleet manager, Col Starr, said he was in the process of preparing the report.
"We have done these studies before, but you have to keep doing them because the goal posts keep moving with newer cars and expensive fuel," he said.
"The most economical at this stage is small European diesel engines, but we're yet to find exactly what the emission standards of those engines are."
Mr Starr said in 2004/05, the 40 council staff cars had run up an unleaded fuel bill of $129,939.61.