The Chicago suburban Pace bus system has purchased new diesel-electric hybrid buses because they hope the buses will be more cost-effective over a 12-year life span according to Pace Chairman Rick Kwasneski.
The hybrid buses, which are made in Canada, cost $525,000 each as opposed to regular diesel powered buses which cost $288,000. According to manufacturer Orion the hybrid buses will save over their lifetime 30,000 gallons of fuel.
If the manufacturer’s fuel saving estimate is correct, over the lifetime of a hybrid bus the 30,000 gallon fuel saving will need to offset the $237,000 higher purchase price. Given these assumptions, in order for the hybrid to be “cost effective” diesel fuel costs must average more than $7.90 per gallon over the life of the bus. The diesel break-even price would be even higher if we added the expected six-year battery replacement cost (research shows the expectation optimistic) and a present money value consideration to the equation.
Simple calculations show other considerations than cost saving must have driven the decision to purchase the hybrid buses. “We’re always looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint” said Kwasneski.
Pace’s projected 2012 operating expenses are $321 million of which riders pay $66 million or 21%. Are riders willing to pay higher fees to reduce their carbon footprint? Has anyone asked them?
Are taxpayers willing to increase $255 million in public funding for PACE’s meager contribution to an agreed ineffectual remedy to avert possible global warming? Perhaps we should be straight forward and ask them.
Have a fulfilling and profitable day,
W C (Bill) Augustine, www.atlasrising.tateauthor.com