Gas-guzzling cars and 40-year-old diesel trucks will make way for energy efficient vehicles Schoharie County is getting with the help of an old grant that was nearly lost.
County Public Works Commissioner Daniel Crandell blew the dust off a $700,000 federal grant just in time to secure six hybrid passenger cars and three brand-new diesel trucks.
The federal government is providing $700,800 toward the purchase of the vehicles for $876,000, which will mark Schoharie County’s first foray into an effort to achieve greater fuel efficiency and clean air.
The money stems from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality improvement program, or CMAQ, run jointly by the Federal Highway and Federal Transit administrations.
The program provides money to state and local governments with the goal of reducing levels of carbon monoxide, ozone and particulate matters being spewed into the air by transportation equipment.
Though there will be environmental benefits, Crandell said the grant also will provide an economic boost through fuel savings.
“Out in the rural areas, clean air is not a big issue,” Crandell said.
The county already has begun receiving four of the vehicles — Chevy Volts, which make use of both gasoline and electricity.
“You can drive 120 miles without a recharge,” Crandell said.
According to Chevrolet.com, Volt owners are traveling about 900 miles between fill-ups and the car, once its battery is charged, can go gas-free for about 38 miles.
Crandell said the county will get six Volts. They’ll be used to replace an old Dodge Durango the DPW’s engineer uses. Another will be used for running parts, replacing an old pickup truck.
The remaining cars will likely be used by other departments, such as Social Services or others that need cars for outreach services.
The DPW will be getting three trucks with new, Tier IV diesel engines for use clearing the roads.
The all-wheel-drive Western Star dump trucks will be fitted with plows and set up to replace two 40-year-old dump trucks with more than 200,000 miles on them.
Crandell, who became DPW commissioner in May 2012, said the grant program was nearly expired when he learned the county secured it.
“I just kept making phone calls,” Crandell said.