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Neighboring Niagara County has hired a consultant to look into how feasible it would be to convert the entire county fleet to operate on alternative fuels. The federal government is making billions of dollars available for grants to make alternative fuel investments.

Despite that incentive, Genesee County is not currently considering such an investment. 

“We purchase a lot of our vehicles off of state bid and get very competitive pricing for regular gas vehicles," County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens said. "Our cost-point to get into a vehicle is much less than it would be if we were to go out and buy an alternatively-fueled vehicle.”

Genesee County also lacks the infrastructure of alternative fueling stations unlike more urban areas like Niagara and Erie Counties.

“I don’t know if there’s anything the state or federal government could do other than incentivize the private development of stations," Hens said. "Until we get to a point where there’s more stations located throughout the area like we have now for gas stations, there’s not going to be a lot of incentive for folks privately and/or publicly through the county to purchase those vehicles.”

The Genesee County fleet includes highway road machinery vehicles like dump trucks and snow plows as well as a motor pool of sedans, small SUVs and pickup trucks that are used both in and out of the county and across western New York.

Niagara County is paying a company $7,500 to conduct the study which will look at what it would entail to convert the fleet to run on electric and compressed natural gas.

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